Outstanding alumni honored
Texas A&M University School of Dentistry and its alumni association presented outstanding and distinguished alumni awards during a reception Aug. 25 at the Southwest Dental Conference in Dallas.
This was the first year the reception had been held since the pandemic, so several honorees were recognized. They included Dr. Jacqueline Plemons, 2020-2021 Distinguished Alumnus; Dr. Sarah (Percy) Tovar, 2020-2021 Outstanding Young Alumnus; Dr. Wayne Woods, 2023 Distinguished Alumnus; and Dr. Gabrielle C. Dizon, 2023 Outstanding Young Alumnus.
Dr. Julie Stelly, alumni association president, and Dr. Chad Capps, immediate past president, presented the awards and shared highlights of each recipient’s career.
Dr. Jacqueline Plemons, 2020-2021 Distinguished Alumnus
Plemons received her dental degree from Baylor College of Dentistry in 1986, and her certificate in periodontics in 1988. She has a master’s degree in oral biology from Baylor University and completed a one-year fellowship in oral medicine during her residency in periodontics. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology and has a private practice in the Park Cities area serving patients with periodontal and oral medicine needs. Plemons is a part-time clinical professor in the Department of Periodontics at Texas A&M School of Dentistry and is the director of the dental school’s stomatology program.
She is active in organized dentistry on a local, state and national level and has served as president of the Texas Dental Association, as well as chair of the American Dental Association’s Council on Dental Education and Licensure. She has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and lectures across the United States in the fields of periodontics and oral medicine.
“I’m honored to receive this award,” Plemons said, “and I’m mindful of the many opportunities our dental school has opened for me and my family. Service is in the heart of most of us, and nowhere is it more evident than in members of our alumni association.
“I’m grateful for the guidance and mentorship our alumni have provided me over the years, and I look forward to many more in service to our patients and our profession.”
Dr. Sarah (Percy) Tovar, 2020-2021 Outstanding Young Alumnus
Tovar took an interest in dentistry after a bicycle accident landed her in the oral surgeon’s chair as a fifth grader. In high school, her science fair and summer research projects were about teeth. After graduating from Texas A&M University, she earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Baylor College of Dentistry in 2012 and completed an AEGD residency at UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry in 2013.
Tovar’s commitment to organized dentistry was recognized in 2019 when she was named Texas New Dentist of the Year by the Texas Academy of General Dentistry and again in 2020, when she was awarded the Rising Star of the Lone Star by the Texas Dental Association. Her lifelong dream of practice ownership came to fruition when she opened her dental office in 2021 alongside her husband, James, class of 2013. She is a fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry and the International College of Dentists.
“Winning the Outstanding Young Alumnus award is extra special because it takes me back to where it all began,” Tovar said. “I wouldn’t be the clinician, leader and practice owner that I am today without the strong foundation I established at the Texas A&M School of Dentistry.
“I am especially grateful for the remarkable people the dental school placed in my life,” she continued. “Their influence on my life and my career has been invaluable – and none more so than my wonderful husband (class of 2013). What an honor to be recognized in this way by my alma mater!”
Dr. Tovar recently welcomed a baby boy to her family and was unable to attend the awards ceremony.
Dr. Wayne Woods, 2023 Distinguished Alumnus
Woods followed his childhood dream of becoming a dentist and attended Baylor College of Dentistry where he received his dental degree in 1988. He remained at Baylor College of Dentistry for 12 years as a clinical instructor in the Department of Restorative Sciences and was later promoted to associate professor. During his tenure at Baylor, he was honored to receive the Teacher of the Year award.
While teaching at Baylor, he also maintained a private practice. In 2003, Woods returned to the college to specialize in orthodontics. He received a certificate in orthodontics and a Master of Science degree in 2005. He practiced orthodontics in the Park Cities area for more than 11 years and in 2017, he opened his own orthodontic practice in North Dallas.
Woods also serves in numerous positions of leadership with the Dallas County Dental Society and on the board of the Dallas County Dental Society Foundation. He has received many awards, including New Dentist of the Year, the Presidential Award and Dentist of the Year.
While away from the office, he and his wife, Michelle, enjoy keeping up with their three children: Julia, Hudson and Hampton.
“After learning that I was chosen to receive this award, I looked back over the list of names of those who had been chosen before me, and I am humbled and honored to be included among them,” Woods said. “I take great pride in our profession and the wonderful school that got me to this place.
“I think what has made my career even more rewarding is the time that I taught at the dental school,” he said. “Receiving this award encourages me to continue giving back to those who are just beginning their careers in this amazing profession of dentistry. This is truly an unexpected honor, but one I will cherish for a lifetime.”
Dr. Gabrielle C. Dizon, 2023 Outstanding Young Alumnus
Dizon grew up in the East Dallas area and graduated from Ursuline Academy of Dallas before earning her undergraduate degree in exercise science from Texas A&M University in College Station. She continued her education at Texas A&M University College of Dentistry, where she earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery in 2017. She is a member of the Central Dallas Chapter of the Spear Education Study Club.
Dizon is passionate about advocating for the dental community through her involvement in organized dentistry. She has served on the board of directors for the Dallas County Dental Society and currently holds various leadership roles within the organization. She also serves on councils with the Texas Dental Association and American Dental Association.
Dizon earned fellowships with the American College of Dentists and Pierre Fauchard Academy, dental honor societies that recognize leadership and service in the dental field. She has also been recognized in D Magazine as a Best Dentist in the “Best of Big D.”
Dr. Dizon married her high school sweetheart, Greg, and is looking forward to raising a family in the Dallas area.
“I’m so honored … it has been a joy to be able to give back to the community and school that has provided me with so much opportunity as a student and recent graduate,” she said. “I feel very fortunate to be part of a supportive and tight-knit alumni organization.”