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Commencement 2020

Congratulations Class of 2020

With the impact of the coronavirus pandemic prohibiting on-campus gatherings, in lieu of a traditional, in-person ceremony, we saluted the Class of 2020 with a virtual celebration on Monday, May 18.

Penn Dental Medicine’s Virtual Celebration

(View Ceremony here »)

Ceremony Program

(Download Program PDF »)


Dr. Uri Hangorsky, Associate Dean of Student Affairs


Dr. Mark Wolff, Morton Amsterdam Dean, Penn Dental Medicine

Commencement Speaker

Commencement Speaker: Dr. Steven Perlman, Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine

Dr. Steven Perlman is a Clinical Professor of Pediatric Dentistry at the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine. For the past 40 years, he has devoted much of his private practice as well as his teaching, to the treatment of children and adults with physical and intellectual disabilities.

A past president of the Academy of Dentistry for Persons with Disabilities, the Massachusetts Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry, Dr. Perlman is also a Fellow of the Academy of Dentistry for Persons with Disabilities and the American College of Dentists and a Diplomate of the American Board of Special Care Dentistry.

Dr. Perlman is cofounder and past president of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD), and in 2005 and 2006, he served as an advisor to the President’s Committee for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities.

In 1993, Dr. Perlman founded Special Olympics Special Smiles, an oral health initiative for the athletes of Special Olympics International. It now has over 200 events each year taking place in every state in the United States and in over 100 countries. He currently serves as their Senior Global Clinical Advisor.

In 2008, in Shanghai, China, Special Olympics honored Dr. Perlman with a special Lifetime Global Leadership Award in promoting human dignity. Among the other individuals honored were Nelson Mandela, Deng Pu Fang, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vanessa Williams, Yao Ming and Nadia Comaneci.

Dr. Perlman was the first dentist in Massachusetts to receive the Exceptional Physician Award. He is a Distinguished Alumnus of the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine and the first graduate in the history of the Dental School to also be recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of Boston University. Among his many other awards:

  • American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Ann Page Griffin Humanitarian Award, 2019
  • Harold Berk Award from the Academy of Dentistry for Persons with Disabilities and the Manny Album Award from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Both awards are the highest honors of the organizations recognizing lifetime achievement in the care of people with disabilities.
  • Honorary Lifetime Member of Arabic Society of Disability and Oral Health, 2018
  • Golisano Global Leadership Pioneer Award, 2017
  • International Association for Disability and Oral Health Honorary Lifetime Membership, 2014
  • Allen Crocker, M.D. Health and Services Award from the state of Massachusetts, 2013
  • North Shore Medical Center Holyoke Award for dedication to improving the lives of children and adults with intellectual disabilities, 2013
  • Robert E. Cooke Achievement Award Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership and Service, 2013
  • Massachusetts Special Olympics Eunice Kennedy Shriver “Let Me Be Brave” Award, 2010
  • Chicago Dental Society George Cushing Award for promoting awareness of the importance of oral health, 2009
  • Academy of General Dentistry Humanitarian Award, 2009
  • T. Still University of Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health, Doctorate of Humane Letters honorary degree, 2009
  • Exceptional Parent Maxwell J. Schileifer Distinguished Service Award for dedication to improving the lives of individuals with special needs and disabilities, 2005
  • Alpha Omega Trudi Birger Community Service Award for extraordinary contribution to children with special needs all over the world, 2005
  • American Dental Association Access Recognition Award, 2002
  • American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Foundation Dentist of the Year, 2002

Presently, Dr. Perlman is also an Adjunct Professor of Pediatric Dentistry at the A. T. Still University of Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health, the Lutheran Medical Centers, the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, as well as the Jamaica School of Technology. He has published over 300 articles, co-edited the textbook “Treating the Dental Patient with a Developmental Disorder” and was a contributor to the Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health in 2001.


Captain Sean Meehan (D’92), Dean, Naval Postgraduate Dental School

Remarks & Class Video

Dr. Steven Ryoo, President, Class of 2020

Virtual Presentation of Diplomas

Dr. Uri Hangorsky & Dean Mark Wolff

MSOB & DScD Graduates Recognition

Dr. Bekir Karabucak, Director, Division of Advanced Dental Education

Penn Dental Medicine Professional Pledge

Dr. Steven Ryoo & Class of 2020

Class of 2020 — Be sure to share photos in your commencement regalia  — tag @penndentalmed and use the hashtag #PDMClassof2020

Virtual Commissioning Ceremony for Military Graduates

(View Ceremony here »)