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UIC College of Dentistry Dedicates Nickelsen Pediatric Dentistry Postgraduate Clinic

UIC College of Dentistry Dedicates Nickelsen Pediatric Dentistry Postgraduate Clinic

The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry dedicated its Dale C. Nickelsen and Caren C. Nickelsen Pediatric Dentistry Postgraduate Clinic on Feb. 13. More than 50 donors, faculty, staff, postgrads, and guests attended.

Dr. Dale C. Nickelsen, ’62, Pediatric Dentistry ’63, MS Pediatric Dentistry ’69, joined the College’s faculty in 1965. He is a former Supervisor of the Postgraduate Pedodontic Clinic and former Interim Assistant Dean for Clinical Affairs.

Mrs. Caren Nickelsen is involved in community volunteerism and has served as a leader in many organizations in Elgin, IL, including service as a founder and President of the Elgin Enrichment Series, which brings people in the arts to Elgin.

Their son Dr. Jon Nickelsen, ’03, is a member of the UIC Dental Alumni Association Board of Directors.

The Nickelsens made a leadership gift to fund the clinic, and Dr. Nickelsen also led a successful campaign to obtain donations for the clinic from other alumni and friends of the department.

The clinic has 20 state-of-the-science operatories, eight of which are private rooms, with two designated as General Anesthesia (GA) rooms, and a recovery room for GA cases.

All operatories feature digital technology and nitrous oxide, with each two operatories sharing digital radiography. A panoramic and ceph x-ray machine is located in a separate room. There also are video monitors, a postgraduate dental laboratory, and a new resident room featuring 22 workstations. 

Mark J. Valentino, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Advancement, was master of ceremonies for the event.

Dean Clark M. Stanford was the first speaker. He thanked the Nickelsens; the KaVo Kerr Group; the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation; Dr. Shar Fadavi, Professor Emerita and former Residency/Postgraduate Program Director, Pediatric Dentistry; Dr. Indru Punwani, former Department Head; Dr. Marcio da Fonseca, current Department Head; and alumni and friends who helped fund the Nickelsen Clinic and Pediatric Dentistry Resident Room and led the campaign effort.

Jon Parenteau, Vice President, Institutional Accounts, and Jason Budnik, Schools and Academics Manager, represented the KaVo Kerr Group. 

Several years ago, the KaVo Kerr Group joined with the Guy D. and Rebecca E. Brunetti Foundation, led by Dr. Robert Brunetti, to provide a transformational gift of $8.25 million worth of dental equipment and technology for clinical facilities throughout the College, including the Nickelsen Clinic. 

The Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation provided a grant to help create the
Anesthesia and recovery areas.

Dr. Fadavi made the leadership gift to create within the clinic a General Anesthesia suite. 

The effort to build the Nickelsen Clinic was begun by Dr. Punwani, and it was completed under the leadership of Dr. da Fonseca.

Dr. Stanford spoke about the importance of private giving, noting that “the State of Illinois provides no funding for initiatives such as this clinic. Instead, it is the generosity of alumni and friends such as Dale, Caren, and Jon Nickelsen, our other Pediatric Dentistry alumni, and our corporate and foundation partners who make transformational projects such as this possible.”

The next speaker was Dr. da Fonseca, who called the Nickelsen Clinic “the crown jewel of our department.”

He added, “This modern, contemporary, state-of-the-science clinic gives our residents access to the equipment they will use in practice—not only making them more efficient while they are here, but preparing them quite well for the transition into the outside world.”

The final speaker was Dr. Nickelsen, who talked about his 58 years of involvement with the College, and discussed various profiles of donors, noting one is “The Repayer.”

Dr. Nickelsen said, “We wish to repay for the education that was provided to me and for my faculty opportunity after returning from my service in the Navy. Caren and I have enjoyed material riches our parents had never imagined, we have been blessed by friendships within the dental community, and I continued my education through teaching in the department for more than 27 years.

“We are honored, today, to dedicate this clinic and also by the fact that so many have contributed along with us to make this possible. Caren and I thank each and every one of you,” Dr. Nickelsen said.

Following Dr. Nickelsen’s remarks was the ribbon cutting, a tour of the clinic, and a luncheon.

A wall outside the clinic features a plaque with names of all the donors to the Nickelsen Clinic.