Message from Dr. Paula Harre, CODAA President

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I hope this message finds you all doing well amidst the uncertainty we have all faced in recent weeks and months.  As a result of this global pandemic, the dental profession has been impacted in ways many of us would never have predicted.  Together we face many challenges that we will overcome. UNMC College of Dentistry alums have incredible resiliency, strength and compassion.  Especially during this uncertain time, our unwavering dedication to making a difference in our patients’ lives and our communities makes us extraordinary oral health care providers.

Prior to the onset of the pandemic, our Alumni Association had spent a significant amount of time charting a new course ahead.  After thoughtful research, careful consideration, and an eye to an exciting future, our College of Dentistry Alumni Association (CODAA) Board of Directors voted earlier this year to adopt a new model for alumni engagement in partnership with the College of Dentistry and the UNMC Alumni Association.  This new model mirrors UNMC’s other college alumni groups, while enabling the College of Dentistry Alumni Board to maintain its traditions and autonomy.

To provide a national context to this endeavor, you should know that the work of volunteer alumni associations continues to evolve to best support the institutions we love. While our main goals remain in place, such as facilitating class reunions, disseminating informative communications, and providing philanthropic support to the College and its students, our board is committed to broaden and deepen our scope as needed.  That said, going forward we hope to focus on further advancing excellence in the College of Dentistry through partnering with you – our alumni, and building the next generation of alumni leaders.

Our primary goal is to continue to build on our strong tradition and re-focus our work on strategic alumni engagement and to extend our close collaboration with the College to engage you with your alma mater.  There will be two key changes:

  • The College of Dentistry and the CODAA will partner with the UNMC Alumni Relations Office to provide programmatic support for strategic planning, to help execute our goals, and for key administrative support.

  • In partnership with the University of Nebraska Foundation, we will implement national best practices in annual giving and create the College of Dentistry Innovation Fund. This new fund will take the place of the CODAA’s two existing funds for new gifts and will be used towards purposes of most need to the College and its students, including support for the people and programs of the alumni association, student and alumni engagement and programming, and the general advancement of the College. In addition, the Innovation Fund will support emerging needs and priorities and right now those needs are changing rapidly.

Thank you for all you have done and will continue to do to give back to UNMC and build excellence in our College and for students.  Now, more than ever, the College of Dentistry will need our ongoing support.  We are proud to serve the College of Dentistry and our fellow alumni, and we look forward to continuing to share updates with you in the months ahead.  

Stay healthy and well, and thanks for all you do.

Yours very truly,

Paula Harre, DDS ‘82


Additional Information

How does the College of Dentistry Alumni Association work with the UNMC Alumni Association?
Similar to the other UNMC college alumni groups, the College of Dentistry Alumni Association has a voting representative on the UNMC Alumni Association Board of Directors.  This board works together on opportunities for collaboration and idea sharing across colleges.

How can I volunteer to get involved with the College of Dentistry Alumni Board?
The Alumni Board is always needing dedicated volunteers spanning all graduation years who want to serve our organization.  This is meaningful work and your ideas and feedback are greatly appreciated.  To get involved, please contact Catherine Mello in the UNMC Alumni Relations Office, at catherine.mello@unmc.edu or call 402-559-4354. 

How can I support the College of Dentistry going forward? 
Over the next few months, you will receive more information on the new College of Dentistry Innovation Fund. This new fund will take the place of the College of Dentistry Alumni Fund, the College of Dentistry Alumni Association Fund, and the Dental College Development Fund and will support the people and programs of the college.  (Please note: Your past gifts supporting the College of Dentistry Alumni Fund, the College of Dentistry Alumni Association Fund, or the Dental College Development Fund  have been and will continue to be utilized as intended to support the college.)

What will the College of Dentistry Innovation Fund support?
The College of Dentistry Alumni Association (CODAA) is partnering with the college to create the College of Dentistry Innovation Fund. The Innovation Fund will support the people and programs of your alumni association, student and alumni engagement and programs, like the annual white coat ceremony, post commencement luncheon, or sending students to national conferences to enhance their educational experiences. In addition, it will provide the flexibility to advance the college and its emerging priorities. Today’s students and residents will be as grateful for your gift as you were for the gifts that enhanced your education. Your gift will make a difference in the lives of future dental professionals.

Does the College of Dentistry Alumni Association offer memberships?
The COD Alumni Association welcomes all College of Dentistry graduates with automatic lifetime membership!   While paid lifetime membership was something we did many years ago, we have phased out any new paid lifetime memberships to the CODAA.   Please note that if you have a paid membership to the Nebraska Alumni Association affiliated with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (the NAA), this membership is NOT affiliated with the UNMC College of Dentistry Alumni Association.

Who do I contact at the University to update my contact information or communication preferences?
Please contact the Alumni Relations Office at 402-559-4385 or email alumni@unmc.edu and we will update your information and communication preferences.  You can also send in a “class note” with a professional or personal update, and the alumni staff will share those in a future publication.