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10/30/2006
Hudson Valley Community College Foundation Raises $200,000+ to Benefit Dental Hygiene Program Endowment Photos Available

CONTACT: Janine Kava (518) 629-8071 or kavajan@hvcc.edu
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Monday, Oct. 30, 2006

Photos Available Photo Gallery Available

The Hudson Valley Community College Foundation has attracted nearly $210,000 in commitments to date in support of an endowment created to ensure that the college has the resources it needs to sustain its high-cost, high-demand Dental Hygiene program.

The only program of its kind within a 100-mile radius and one of only nine programs in the state, the Dental Hygiene program is the college's most expensive to offer: the college spends $44,082 to educate one Dental Hygiene student during the course of the two-year program, while receiving only $15,890 in tuition and government revenue.

And each year, the college receives approximately 300 applications for the associate's degree program, but it can serve only 90 students – 45 first-year and 45 second-year – at any given time. There also is a shortage of qualified hygienists: according to the state Labor Department, there are approximately 350 openings for hygienists annually in the state.

The endowment will be used to meet a variety of needs, including equipment and curriculum development. If it continues to grow, it may ultimately allow the college to fund the hiring of additional faculty, which would allow for the expansion of the program. To date, funds have been raised for the endowment through honorary committee memberships, pledges and sponsorships of the college's first-ever Celebration of Excellence gala, which was held on Friday, Oct. 20, at the field house at the McDonough Sports Complex on the Hudson Valley campus. More than 250 people attended the event.

"This is a meaningful show of support from a crucial segment of the local health care industry. The college plays an integral part in the success of local dental practices by providing a significant portion of their workforce," said Foundation President Sarah M. Boggess, who also serves as the college's vice president for institutional advancement.

"We are thankful that they appreciate the role the college plays in helping them ensure that they meet the needs of their patients throughout the Capital Region," Boggess added.

Nearly 50 dentists and dental practices from throughout the Capital Region have made commitments to the endowment, sponsored the event or joined the honorary committee, which was chaired by Dr. Robert H. Hill II, a practicing dentist who serves as chairman of the college's Board of Trustees. Sponsorships for the gala ranged from $1,000 to $25,000, and commitments greater than $5,000 are payable over a five-year period.

The Third District Dental Society, Fourth District Dental Society and the New York State Dental Association and its charitable foundation each have pledged $25,000 toward the endowment, with the Fourth District's gift made in honor of Dr. Robert C. and Lillian "Sisty" Wescott.

The college will recognize the three, $25,000 gifts by naming operatories in the college's 36-station Dental Hygiene Clinic after the donors. The clinic serves more than 1,800 children and adults, many of whom are uninsured or elderly, annually.

Other significant commitments from organizations or individuals include: $10,000 each from Dr. Robert K. DeLuke, in memory of Dr. Dominick J. DeLuke; and Dr. Christopher Walsh. DeLuke practices in Schenectady and Walsh practices in Albany.

Hudson Valley's Dental Hygiene program has trained the vast majority of dental hygienists in the region since it began in 1960. In the past decade alone, the program has produced 384 graduates – but that's not enough to meet the demand.

There are approximately 350 openings each year for hygienists in the state. The need in the Capital Region is even greater, with dental hygienist listed as the seventh fastest growing career, growing at nearly a 40 percent rate over the next decade, according to the state Labor Department. In addition to meeting the need for hygienists, the college also offers a Dental Assisting certificate program to train new dental assistants and an Alternative Dental Assisting program, which allows employed dental assistants to meet the state requirement for licensure. Both programs are offered online.

"We are extremely fortunate to have tremendous support from the college, our Advisory Board members and from members of the dental community, many of whom work with our students as adjunct faculty," Dental Hygiene Department Chairwoman Judith Romano said. "It is through this generous support that we will be able to continue to grow and provide the dental community with highly skilled and knowledgeable dental hygienists and assistants."

The Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable corporation formed in 1983 to philanthropically support the college's mission. Gifts to the Foundation from alumni, corporations and friends are used to enhance programs, facilities and scholarship opportunities at the college.

Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 60 degree and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and workforce and academic preparation programs offered through the Educational Opportunity Center. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 12,000 students, and it is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining. Hudson Valley has more than 60,000 alumni.