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Marquette University Alumni Association

School of Dentistry Award Recipients

Outstanding Dental Service Award

Paul E. LovdahlPAUL E. LOVDAHL, D.D.S., DENT '70
Bellingham, Wash.

Paul is retired from private practice and now derives great satisfaction from working in missions and low-income clinics to provide dental services to people who are otherwise unable to access them.

“To me, success has less to do with what others might think and more to do with the satisfaction of making a valuable contribution to the community,” he says.

Paul also teaches endodontic surgery in Argentina, something he has done for nine years, and, recently, in an attempt to help increase services, became an employee of a community clinic at which he has been a volunteer for 21 years. Further, he has worked at another low-income community clinic for seven years and been involved with a mission project to indigenous tribes in central Mexico for 13 years.

Paul’s passion for work on behalf of the underserved was ingrained in him from the beginning of his time at Marquette. That become incredibly clear to him in the early 1990s, when he was appointed to the Washington State Dental Disciplinary Board, a regulatory arm of the state department of health. One day, he was chatting with two other board members about how they had been nominated by their local dental societies.

“It turned out that the other two had also benefited from Catholic education, which instilled in us strong ethical foundations and willingness for service. I owe these qualities to Marquette,” he says.

Fun Facts

Hometown: Stanley, Wis.

Your favorite book or favorite quote: “Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death. My favorite quotation is also from Postman. It deals with ubiquitous technology: ‘What is the problem for which this technology is the solution?’ ”

Name someone (past or present) with whom you'd like to have dinner: “My dad.”

Marquette faculty or staff member who had an impact on you, and how: “Dr. Foley, Dental School faculty.”

What is one of your favorite Marquette memories? “It is hard to choose a favorite, but there is one most vivid. I was walking across campus as a freshman in 1963 when it was announced over the loudspeakers that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.”

When you were in grade school, what did you want to be when you grew up, and why? “I come from a blue-collar family. My world was small.”

Who has been the most influential person in your life, and why? “My uncle, John Leonard Lovdahl, expanded the world for me as I grew older, including me in his active and varied world. He also taught me compassion.”