Advanced Education, Advanced Education Residents, Events, Faculty and Staff, Students

Adams School of Dentistry graduates celebrate 2024 Commencement

Class of 2024 DDS graduates move their tassels as they graduate from UNC Adams School of Dentistry.

On May 9 at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s Carmichael Arena, more than 150 students from DDS, dental hygiene and advanced dental education all walked across the stage, marking a milestone achievement in their oral health careers, as they became the Adams School of Dentistry Class of 2024.

A special moment for class of 2024 graduates.

Graduates’ families, friends and children cheered them on, and classes supported their own, whether they were speaking, being hooded by a family member or just reminding one another that it was a “good day to be a Tar Heel.”

Speakers at the event included Janet Guthmiller, DDS, PhD, dean, Adams School of Dentistry; John McNeill, DDS, incoming President of the UNC Dental Alumni Association and proud parent of a graduate; Jonathan Zsambeky, DDS, incoming Chair of the Board of the Dental Foundation of North Carolina; Dental Hygiene Class of 2024 President, Lauren Ryall; Jackson Seagroves, DDS, representative for advanced dental education; and Jasmine Nevil, DDS, Class of 2024 President. Cesar Sabates, DDS, former president of the American Dental Association, delivered the keynote address.

Cesar Sabates, DDS, delivered the keynote address.

Sabates welcomed the graduates to the “greatest profession in the universe” and shared the joy he feels as a practicing dentist.

“I feel privileged to be able to meet the needs of my patients. I take great pride in being able to comfort a patient that is in pain or put at ease that fearful child. It is an incredible feeling to be able to restore a patient’s dentition so that they can smile with confidence and eat without experiencing discomfort,” he said.

He urged graduates to find their community and rely upon those people when they needed them. Sabates said community was dentistry’s “special gift,” and can help oral health professionals leave a legacy as leaders and care providers.

Dental hygiene class of 2024 marches out of the arena at the 2024 ASOD commencement ceremony.

“Knowledge, skillset, and acumen are the necessary ingredients for success in dentistry and leadership. But allowing your network to support you in your shortcomings — as you support others in your areas of strength — that is what will fortify you. What I eventually learned is that in dentistry, no one is ever alone,” Sabates said.

Ending the evening on a high note, the Clef Hangers, Carolina’s oldest a cappella group, performed James Taylor’s “Carolina In My Mind,” and “Hark the Sound,” with everyone joining in for the final song.

The Clef Hangers perform “Carolina In My Mind” at the 2024 ASOD commencement ceremony.