Dental Clinic Named In Honor of Robert Hill II

The crowd was all smiles at the dedication of Hudson Valley’s newly refurbished dental hygiene clinic in honor of longtime trustee Dr. Robert Hill II.

Hill was recognized by administrators, faculty, staff, students, colleagues and supporters last Friday at a 1 p.m. luncheon in the BTC. After the luncheon, participants went to the recently refurbished dental clinic with upgraded equipment and technology in Fitzgibbons Hall for the dedication.

“I now truly know the meaning of the word ‘farklempt’ at last,” joked Hill in his thank-you speech, referencing a popular SNL skit from the early ’90s. He said that it was “the most humbling and extraordinary experience of my life to be honored by the institution that has had my attention and energy for more than half of my life.”

For 32 years, Hill has been a member of Hudson Valley’s Dental Hygiene Advisory Board. He served on the college’s board of trustees from 1983 to 1987 and from 1995 until this year. He was the board’s vice chairman from 1997 to 2003 and chairman from 2003 to 2011.

Under Hill, the college experienced solid, steady leadership, said Hudson Valley President Drew Matonak, who called the former chairman “a tremendous asset to Hudson Valley Community College over a number of years.”

Hill said that in the 1980s, his colleagues had encouraged him to safeguard Hudson Valley’s dental hygiene clinic against closure, due to its vulnerability as a high-expenditure item.

The Dental Hygiene program is one of the most expensive programs at Hudson Valley. The total appropriations for the program in the 2014-2015 budget were $902,736 for 55 projected students, or about $16,400 per student.

“I saw the opportunity to serve an institution whose services were not only crucial to my own profession, but where its strength and success were critical to the Capital Region as a whole–a positive synergy to go between the Capital Region and the dental community,” said Hill.

“The college has helped form me a legacy that I pray will be continued by the next generation of healthcare providers. Thank you from my heart for all of you here today,” he concluded.

In his speech, Hill recounted his lobbying efforts to recreate the dental assisting program with the help of the New York State Dental Association and New York State Dental Association Foundation.

In 2006, as chairperson of Hudson Valley’s inaugural Dental Gala, Hill led the effort to raise more than $275,000 for the college’s Dental Hygiene department.

The dental hygiene clinic was last renovated in 2001. Judith DiLorenzo, department chair of the dental hygiene program, recalled travelling to Dr. Hill’s office around that time with colleagues, asking him to show them SoftDent software and digital radiography. She said to the audience, “He took the time out of his day, and that’s generosity.”

After the speeches, participants followed the ambassadors of the ceremony, six dental hygiene students, to the unveiling of the Dr. Robert H. Hill II Dental Hygiene Clinic in Fitzgibbons Health Technologies Center.

Guests crowded through every corner of the dental hygiene clinic once the facility opened its doors.

“Dr. Hill is just great. I mean, look at the equipment all around you,” said dental hygiene professor Marianne Baller. “It’s state of the art.”

“There’s nothing like it in the area. People come from an hour away just to attend,” said dental hygiene major Mindy Morse.

Fall hours for the Dr. Robert H. Hill II Dental Hygiene Clinic, located in Fitzgibbons Health Technologies Center, Room 127, are Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon. The clinic is open to the public and is free of charge for all students, staff and faculty.

 

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