Dr. No-Hee Park, the longest-serving dean at the UCLA School of Dentistry, was recently honored by 300 UCLA leaders, faculty, friends and family members during a UCLA Centennial Campaign celebration at UCLA’s Carnesale Commons.
At the end of June, Park will step down from the deanship after 18 years at the helm and will return to teaching and research in the fields of cancer and aging. He began his service with UCLA in 1984, starting out at an associate professor and was quickly promoted to full professor a year later. Prior to his dean appointment in 1998, he served as the associate director of UCLA Dental Research Institute, the associate dean for research and the director of the UCLA Dental Research Institute.
In his opening remarks at the May 5 event, Chancellor Gene Block noted that Dr. Park took the dental school to new heights during his tenure. The school went from surviving to thriving and is now considered among the top dental schools in the country, the chancellor said.
Under Park’s leadership, the chancellor said, the faculty has pioneered breakthrough advancements in oral and systemic health, students are on their way to becoming the next generation of dental leaders, alumni have been widely recognized as experts in their fields and the level of community service provided by faculty, students and staff has been astounding.
The audience also heard from Dr. Naomi Ellison, an alumna and chair of the School of Dentistry’s board of counselors and a cabinet member of the Centennial Campaign for UCLA. Dr. Ellison reflected on the dean’s ability to fundraise and the legacy he leaves behind — a $32 million endowment. The $4.2 billion UCLA Centennial Campaign is scheduled to conclude in December 2019 during UCLA’s 100th anniversary year.
Ellison also announced the establishment of the Dr. No-Hee Park Awards for Excellence to honor his commitment to student scholarship. The awards will be granted to the top third-year dental students exhibiting excellence in the art and science of dentistry, research, and leadership. Ellison reported that the campaign committee successfully met and even surpassed its $1 million goal.
A musical performance by the Dentatonix, an a cappella group made up of UCLA dental students was followed by a special tribute video to Dean Park.
Dean Park will be succeeded by Paul Krebsbach, one of the nation’s leading researchers in tissue engineering and stem cell biology. Krebsbach is the Roy H. Roberts Professor of Dentistry and a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan. He will become the eighth dean in the 50-year history of UCLA Dentistry.