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Dental Graduates of 1971
30th Year Reunion of the 1971 Dental Graduates
Graduates of whichever faculty keep in touch through numerous avenues and undoubtedly the most common is surely a reunion to celebrate a specific time span since qualification. This writer was unaware that the Trustees of the Thomson Charitable Trust supported reunion dinners each year for dental and medical graduates who had ‘clocked-up’ one score years and ten since obtaining their degree. The invitation for ’71 graduates to the Staff House, Birmingham University Campus on 12th October 2001 gave lie to the maxim that there is never such a thing as a free dinner. Of the 56 graduates, 37 were able to attend which is a pretty effective strike rate considering that global repositioning ruled out a couple of the year, although Andy Bright came from Australia fair whilst another long distance traveller was Allan Farman (Prof. of Radiology) from Louisville, USA. Career changes accounted for several other DNAs.
Although the year had had reunions in the past this was without doubt the first time that the majority of us had got together since graduation. If one ignored the thinning hair, jowls and extending waistlines everyone looked much the same. The topic of conversation had changed from the common room days when parties, bridge and the opposite sex dominated to the problems of recalcitrant children, businesses and other causes of grey hair. Family details were exchanged and Julie Hartley won the prize for increasing the gene pool by raising six children. It was interesting to note that only three graduates had offspring who were following in their parents’ footsteps career wise. This statistic may possibly be of significance. Although most of us were still in general practice, several had set their stalls up in academe, the general feeling of the former to be one of anticipating early retirement. Mike Dickie and Lorna Hunt had already achieved that status.
The occasion was a great success ably assisted by good food and wine with the DH being represented by Professor Marquis, Phil Lumley, Don Spence and Olive England. The after dinner speeches were well received although a couple of humorous anecdotes seemed to have been in circulation since the Big Bang!
The evening continued at one of Brum’s glitzy high-rise hotels for those that were making a weekend of it and for others that went along for the craic, a very late night drive home. The chat reflected many happy times spent as carefree undergraduates and everybody had at least one story from thirty years ago that seemed to have become part of the folklore of the Dental School.
The day after, a nostalgic visit was made to the DH that seemed hardly to have changed in a generation. The paternoster still didn’t work and the course running that day for hygienists seemed populated by young schoolgirls for some reason.
C’est la vie.
Report by Paul Jolley