Celebrating GETTING TO YES on the Bitonte College of Dentistry

As student recruitment is underway for NEOMED’s newest College, the University community gathered to thank those who helped make it possible with the GETTING TO YES event on Monday, Feb. 5. The event celebrated the many accomplishments that have made the Bitonte College of Dentistry a reality, while also saying thanks to three legislators who played a crucial role –  State Sen. Vernon Sykes, State Sen. Jerry Cirino and State Rep. Gail Pavliga.

The three mingled with students, faculty and staff before the event kicked off with Frank Beck, D.D.S., dean of the Bitonte College of Dentistry, who offered updates regarding student recruitment and plans for construction for the administrative offices and lab spaces that will soon be filled with the next generation of dentists. He also offered a heartfelt “thank you” to the Bitonte family, who committed to a $10 million donation through their family foundation to support the new College.

President Langell took to the podium to thank Sen. Sykes, Sen. Cirino and Rep. Pavliga, referring to them as “champions” for their part in securing the public funding that will go toward the College. Sen. Sykes offered some eyebrow-raising data to bring the point home of the importance of educating new dentists – that Ohio currently ranks 41st in the nation (of 51, including the District of Columbia), and 50th in preventive dental care for children. Sen. Cirino also elaborated on the need for more dental education, as the Bitonte College of Dentistry will be just the third dental school in Ohio, despite it being the seventh most populous state with 11.8 million residents. He also recognized John Stilliana, NEOMED’s vice president of government and external affairs, for his persistence on this important issue, joking that he may have had a sleeping bag outside of Sen. Cirino’s office.

Rep. Pavliga noted the $5 million in state funding for the College will go a long way toward helping Ohio citizens of all ages.

After the three were recognized, Dr. Beck returned to the podium to declare that the unusually sunny and warm early February day would serve as a good omen for the future of the Bitonte College of Dentistry.


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