CHICAGO, March 7, 2020 —The American Student Dental Association (ASDA) is pleased to announce Dr. Jeffrey M. Cole as the recipient of the 2020 Paragon Award. Dr. Cole was presented the prestigious award during ASDA’s Annual Session in St. Louis on March 7.
The 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 notable award given by ASDA.
Dr. Cole has served as a mentor for many dental students over the years. Recently, he spearheaded a joint meeting between ASDA and ADA leadership at the 2019 ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day. He consistently advocates on behalf of dental students, particularly around student debt and helping new dentists find a place in state and local dental societies.
“Countless dental students have benefitted from Dr. Cole’s guidance and friendship,” shared ASDA 2019-20 President Craig McKenzie, The University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine ‘21. “He ensures students are prepared and excited for lifelong involvement in organized dentistry. He fully embraces ASDA’s mission and we are thankful for his contributions.”
Dr. Cole is the immediate past president of the American Dental Association. He is past trustee of the ADA 4th District, former chair of the ADA Budget and Finance Committee, former member of the ADA Council on Dental Practice, former chair of the ADA Strategic Planning Committee and the ADA Business Model Project Oversight. He is also the past president of the Academy of General Dentistry, past president of the Delaware State Dental Society, and a member of the American College of Dentists, Delta Sigma Delta International Dental Fraternity, and the International College of Dentists.
Dr. Cole graduated from Georgetown University School of Dentistry in 1986 and completed a general practice residency at Christiana Care Health System. He earned a master’s degree in business administration from Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Management.
“This award has even more significance because I am not a dean, nor on faculty of a dental school, but in private practice,” Dr. Cole shared. “There is an important message here for dental students as they grow professionally. It is not necessarily a position they may hold, but instead their passion, their commitment and their desire to help others that is most important and that results in making the biggest difference in a person’s life. With the guidance of mentors along the way, they can achieve all they aspire to as professionals. They are in control of their own destiny."
Dr. Cole is the sixth recipient of ASDA’s Paragon Award. Past recipients include Dr. Linda Niessen (2017), Dr. Arthur A. Dugoni (2011), Dr. Roger Triftshauser (2012), Dr. William Calnon (2015) and Dr. Gregory Chadwick (2016). More information on the Paragon Award is available at ASDAnet.org/paragon.
The American Student Dental Association is the largest national organization that protects and advances the rights, interests and welfare of dental students and predentals. Representing 86 percent of all dental students, ASDA introduces students to lifelong involvement in organized dentistry and provides services, information, education, representation and advocacy. For more information, visit ASDAnet.org. Connect with ASDA on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.