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Paragon Award

A paragon is someone of exceptional merit who exhibits unparalleled excellence. ASDA’s Paragon Award recognizes an individual who has significantly contributed to the advancement of the rights, interests and welfare of dental students throughout his or her career. It is the highest and most prestigious award given by the American Student Dental Association.

The Paragon Award is given per Board of Trustee discretion, and only a trustee can nominate an individual. For more information, contact Stephanie Follett, ASDA Advocacy and Policy Manager, at stephanie@asdanet.org.

Dr. William Calnon (2015)

Dr. William Calnon accepting the 2015 Paragon Award“Dr. Calnon has been an excellent mentor for dental students both in New York and across the country throughout his career in organized dentistry,” said Greg Shank, Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine ’16, 2014-15 ASDA District 2 Trustee. “He has made advancing the rights and interests of dental students a priority, and he serves as a paragon for the members of the American Student Dental Association. He is very deserving of our recognition.”

Dr. Calnon’s commitment to the advancement of organized dentistry is demonstrated in his participation on numerous dental committees and boards. He is an example of what student leaders in dentistry should aspire to. His dedication to the advancement of dental students and the dental profession has truly inspired students.

Calnon’s extensive involvement includes serving as past president of the New York State Dental Association, the Seventh District Dental Society and Monroe County Dental Society. He served four years on the American Dental Association Board of Trustees before becoming the 2011-2012 ADA President. He is a fellow of the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists and the Pierre Fauchard Academy.

As ADA President, Calnon advocated for enhancing student involvement within the ADA and at ADA events he actively seeks out students to involve them in networking. Despite his demanding schedule, he makes time to mentor and assist students, including through the Emerald Project, a program that enhances the experience and aids in the transition of graduating dentists from ASDA into the ADA.

Calnon graduated magna cum laude from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse University and received his dental degree from the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine. He is a general dentist near Rochester, N.Y. and serves as the current president of the Eastman Dental Center Foundation.

“Over the last few years, I have witnessed a tremendous increase in involvement of more and more dental students in the issues facing the profession. I think the interest is due in part to the increased focus placed on students by organized dentistry as well as the unbelievable role played by ASDA,” said Calnon. “I am receiving this wonderful award, but you have been giving me my rewards for years. I take great pleasure in watching student leaders impact audiences, whether it be at the ADA House of Delegates, a reference committee or a state legislature.”

Dr. Roger Triftshauser (2012) 

Dr. Triftshauser accepting the 2012 Paragon Award “[Dr. Triftshauser] has spent his life forging his own path through hard work, professionalism and dedication to his family, his community and the profession of dentistry,” said Rick Andolina, University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine ’13. “We are very lucky to have [him] not only as a mentor, but also as a great friend who through his life’s journey has shown us the importance of giving back. I cannot think of anyone that is more deserving of ASDA’s highest honor.”

Triftshauser received his degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1961 from the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine. He then served in the U.S. Navy Dental Corps and eventually reached the rank of two-star rear admiral, the highest rank in the Navy Dental Corps. Upon release from active duty in 1967, he received a Master of Orthodontics degree from Loma Linda School of Dentistry. Triftshauser’s total service with the U.S. Naval Reserve Dental Corps spanned 33 years. He was selected for Flag rank in 1990, was promoted to the permanent grade of Rear Admiral on March 1, 1994, and retired from the Naval Reserve on Oct. 1, 1995.

Triftshauser is a member of the American Dental Association, in which he served as a delegate and as a board member to the New York State Dental Association. He is the immediate past chair of the American Dental Political Action Committee. He is a past president of the New York State Dental Association’s Eighth District Dental Society, past president of the American College of Dentists, a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics and a Fellow of the International College of Dentists. He has also held leadership positions in The New York State Association of Counties, The Rotary Club of America and the Batavia City School Board of Education.

When asked about his career, Triftshauser said, “As long as you have something left to offer, you can always do more. I have never really considered myself an extremely successful or motivational person, but I am happy if I have had a positive impact on others. I have had mentors in the past, I have mentors now, and I see the students in ASDA as being excellent mentors in the future.”

Dr. Arthur A. Dugoni (2011) 

Dr. Dugoni accepting the 2011 Paragon AwardAs a guest speaker at many ASDA national meetings and continuous supporter of programs that build future leaders within organized dentistry, many students have experienced first-hand Dr. Dugoni’s passion.

“One of his famous quotes is ‘at Pacific we build people, and along the way they become doctors,’” said Naomi Sever, San Antonio ’11, 2010-11 vice president. “He’s a model of excellence and wonderful mentor … the type of person we aspire to become.”

The Paragon Award is not his first professional citation. Dugoni was elected to the prestigious FDI World Dental Federation List of Honour in 1998, which is limited to 30 individuals worldwide, and has been named Dental Alumnus of the Year by four universities: Gonzaga University, University of Washington, University of San Francisco and University of the Pacific. In 2004, he became the first and only person in the United States or Canada to have a dental school named in his honor while holding the position of dean.

Dugoni has held leadership positions in the American Dental Association, the American Dental Education Association, the American Association of Dental Schools, the World Dental Federation, the American Board of Orthodontics and the California Dental Association.

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