It is indeed an honor to have been asked to present the Distinguished Member Award of the AAGFO. This year's recipient, Dr Richard Hoard, graduated from dental school in 1972 at Loyola of Chicago. In 1973, he received a master's in Public Health from UC Davis. This experience obviously had a significant impact on Rick, teaching him that caries cannot be prevented or treated by the efficacious application of statistical surveys. Much to our good fortune, he opted instead to pursue a career in dental education, which emphasized the application of skills rather than surveys. Rick's teaching career in Operative Dentistry at UCLA was highlighted by his being chosen by his students as their Outstanding Clinical Professor for nine consecutive years.

Rick's predecessor as chairman of Operative Dentistry at UCLA, Dr Bob Wolcott, encouraged him to become active in both the AAGFO and the AOD, which he did with a passion and a dedication that remains vibrant even after his retirement from teaching in 2005. In addition to having served as president of our Academy, he was also selected for the Outstanding Clinician award.

Rick and I shared the experience of first hearing Dr Tucker speak in Chicago in 1979. That lecture sparked something in both of us. Shortly thereafter, Rick went to UBC to take Dick's week-long inlay course. Under his relentless insistence, I followed suit, and I know that both of our lives have been inalterably influenced for the better by that decision.

Dr Tucker shared with me just this morning that, at the first meeting of the handful of Tucker Study Clubs at Silverado, it was Rick who made the motion to incorporate the various groups into the Tucker Academy and, to be certain that the momentum was not lost, he nearly single-handedly took on the arrangements for the second meeting at Napa Valley. And, as they say, “The rest is history.”

Rick's dedication to the pursuit of excellence in Operative Dentistry fuels his undying loyalty and support for this Academy. He truly is a distinguished member.

I cannot let him get by without sharing a story. Besides dentistry, Rick has other passions, among them is driving sports cars. In 1992, he and his wife, Kathy, traveled across the country to help us celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Hollenback-Medina Study Club. Driving a rental car from the airport to the resort, Rick crested a hilltop directly into the radar trap of the local constabulary. I think the speed recorded still stands as a record in Hot Springs, Virginia. For this particular offense, a court appearance was mandatory. When the judge announced the fine and slammed down the gavel, Kathy, who had been quietly and patiently waiting in her seat, suddenly exploded. “That's ridiculous!!! I’m not paying that much!!!” I think it must have been the pathetic, helpless look on Rick's face that finally convinced her to relent. Had she not relented, Rick might still be living under an unpleasant form of managed care in Hot Springs, Virginia.

Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to present the Distinguished Member Award of the AGFO to a true servant of the Academy and a dear friend, Dr Rick Hoard.