Maine media report on UNE College of Dental Medicine's first graduating class

Oral Health Center

May 22, 2017

On May 20, 2017, the UNE College of Dental Medicine marked a milestone achievement as it held commencement ceremonies for its inaugural graduating class. Sixty-two students were awarded the Doctor of Dental Medicine degree at UNE’s 182nd Commencement Ceremony, held at 10 a.m. at Portland’s Cross Insurance Arena.

Founded in 2013, the College of Dental Medicine is the first dental college in Northern New England. Of the 64 students in the college’s initial class, 24 are from Maine, representing more than 20 different towns. The rest hail from 16 different states throughout the U.S. as well as Canada.

The extensive practical experience built into UNE’s dental program has provided these aspiring dentists with hands-on training from the start. Students work on simulated patients in their first two years, including direct patient care over the course of their second and third years. Under the supervision of UNE’s licensed faculty dentists, students treat patients in the Oral Health Center, which hosts an estimated 25,000 patient visits annually. “We treat students as colleagues from the moment they arrive on campus and educate them in a humanistic, collegial manner throughout their journey,” said Jay Beauchemin, D.D.S., assistant clinical professor and group practice leader at the College of Dental Medicine. “They are given state-of-the-art technology, real-world situations and exposure to masterful faculty that allows them to progress at an impressive pace.”

In the summer of 2016, this year’s graduating class began their clinical rotations in communities throughout Northern New England. Working in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and beyond, they administered oral health care at a total of 27 sites, 16 of which are in Maine. Students on rotation provided 10,196 comprehensive dental visits to both children and adults, totaling 18,596 procedures at external sites, many of which are Federally Qualified Health Centers in rural areas.

Jon Ryder, dean of the College of Dental Medicine, stated “It is deeply gratifying to witness this graduating class entering the professional world – they have demonstrated remarkable dedication and hard work. I am honored to welcome them as colleagues in oral health care and I look forward to seeing the impact they will have on the many patients and communities they will serve.”

UNE President Danielle Ripich reflected, “This historic occasion marks a tremendous milestone for the University, for dentistry in Maine and Northern New England, and most importantly, for these fine graduates and their families. I am profoundly proud of each and every one of our students.  I wish them the best as they embark on their careers, and I trust they will approach their work with the values of integrity, professionalism and service that have been instilled in them during their time here at UNE.”

Watch a video commemorating the first graduating class.

Read more from Down East MagazineMainebizthe Portland Press Herald, the ForecasterMPBN, WCSH, WMTW, and Becker's Dental Review.


To learn more about the College of Dental Medicine, visit

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