Explorer. UMKC School of Dentistry Alumni News. Volumne 77, Number 1. Summer 2020.
online edition
Dean Pyle pictured in Zoom meeting.

A Message from the Dean


This issue of the Explorer is uniquely different, just as our world has become.

We are hopeful as we emerge from our stay-at-home orders and campus closure. We certainly missed many opportunities that springtime brings – the Midwest Dental Conference, a Roaring ‘20s-themed Pouring from the Heart, the annual Golf Tournament, Royals Opening Day. Other events had enough lead time to plan virtual celebrations: graduation’s quick shift to an online format, and a concurrent Zoom “meeting” to honor our graduates from afar.

Our university is currently re-envisioning itself for the future. This will likely bring widespread change in how we work toward our mission. The focus is timely while we recover from the challenges the spring season brought to each of us. I know that we will emerge stronger with renewed focus on important strategies that will sustain us. This issue concludes with a special ask of support of those most impacted by the public health crisis. We truly are in this together.

For the last 11 years, it has been my honor to serve you in leading our school. One year ago, I announced that I would be stepping down as dean Sept. 1, 2020. What a year it has been. We have been challenged like no other time, but rose to meet those challenges with dedication, care and resiliency. Whether it is the work of faculty and staff, efforts of our students, or commitment of alumni and friends, our school is strong because of YOU! The days of pure joy sustained me, while the challenges made me stronger.

I leave you with a Claude Bissell quote that means a great deal to me: “Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible.”

These are times requiring courage and kindness. I wish you great successes to come.

With gratitude,
Marsha Pyle, DDS, MEd
Dean, UMKC School of Dentistry  

Commencement 2020

Pomp and circumstance goes virtual
Student shown with family members celebrating pre-commencement. Two students pop Champaign bottles to celebrate commencement.
See how our graduates celebrated

Graduates by the Numbers

2020 DENTAL GRADUATES

24 in GROUP PRIVATE PRACTICE, 27 in CORPORATE DENTAL OFFICES, 15 in RESIDENCIES (AEGD, GPR), 11 IN PUBLIC HEALTH, 9 in SPECIALTIES (OMS, ORTHO, PEDP, PERIO), 5 in SOLO PRIVATE PRACTICES, 3 in MILITARY and 2 in OTHER. 96 out of 104 students responding.

2020 DENTAL HYGIENE GRADUATES

5 in GROUP PRIVATE PRACTICE, 5 in PRIVATE PRACTICE - TEMPING, 5 in SOLO PRIVATE PRACTICE, 1 in SPECIALTY PRACTICE PEDO, 1 in SPECIALTY PRACTICE PERIO and 1 in a CORPORATE DENTAL OFFICE. 18 out of 28 students responding.

In Face of Pandemic, School Retools to Continue Its Mission


Coronavirus ended business as usual at the School of Dentistry. Over just a few days, work shifted to homes, classes moved online and clinics closed. But working, learning and staying connected found new ways to move forward.

Read more about the school's response to COVID

Digital Dentistry: Preparing Practitioners for the Future


The School of Dentistry has a long history of innovation that prepares students for a modern workplace. Today, that includes digital technology.
Read more about the school's digital innovations
A dental student and two young children smiling at outreach event
School News
There's been a lot of activity at the school, from volunteer efforts with TeamSmile, to a research discovery of a new HIV strain, to celebrating transitioning students, to faculty honors and publications. Read More.
Pictured: Dr. Bernard Petkovich, Dr. David Suchman, Danielle Grotheer
Alumni Board Leadership  
This spring, the school welcomed new leaders on its three alumni boards: the Roy J. Rinehart Memorial Foundation, the Dental Alumni Association and the Dental Hygiene Alumni Association. Read More.
Willam Giannobile poses outside a stone building on the campus of Harvard University
Alumni News
School of Dentistry graduates share updates on their new positions and promotions, honors, publications, retirements and family events. See what alumni have been up to and reconnect with classmates. Read More. 
Faculty and students at the TeamSmile event
Lend Your Support
The three groups at the School of Dentistry are matching donations made to the Student Staff Emergency Fund, designed to help with those impacted by the public health crisis meet essential expenses. Read More.
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Check out upcoming events
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