“The most important piece of advice I can give you today is make sure everyone calls you doctor! You’ve earned the right; you’ve put in the hard work; you can legally prescribe medicine; and you are now graduates of the best dental school in the history of the world,” said Varun Soni, PhD, JD, dean of the USC Office of Religious Life, joking that, despite his holding a doctorate degree, his family insists he’s not a “real doctor.”

Soni delivered the address at Ostrow’s 117th commencement ceremony — an out-of-the-box choice for a dental school, acknowledged Avishai Sadan, DMD, Ostrow’s dean.

“It’s his message of mutual respect and inclusivity that inspired me to invite him to deliver the keynote today,” Sadan said. “We are a diverse school representing a wide variety of religions, cultures and ethnicities. The halls of the dental school reflect our global population and the idealism that we can work together and succeed.”

In total, Ostrow conferred 177 doctor of dental surgery degrees, 33 bachelor’s of dental hygiene degrees, 52 advanced certificates, 19 master’s degrees and two doctor of philosophy degrees.

— John Hobbs