Photo by John Ulan
Marcia Boyd’s (’69 DDS) dental career began in the Eastern Arctic with a dog sled using portable equipment to treat the Inuit people in their communities.
From the Arctic she moved to Vancouver and continued in public health doing treatment and preventive work in the elementary schools. This led her on a journey of organized dentistry to become an internationally reputed dental educator. She is former Dean of the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Dentistry and was the first Canadian woman president of the American College of Dentists.
Now working for a national corporation after “retiring” from the University, Boyd will be presented with the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award on September 24 by the University of Alberta for being a trailblazer in the field of dentistry.
“I feel very honoured to be nominated by my colleagues. It doesn’t get any better than being recognized by your peers and joining the ranks of other distinguished alumni,” says Boyd. “In the early days I was one of very few women that participated in organized dentistry. I felt like I was representing my gender. I enjoyed a variety in my career which not many dentists experience. Opportunities came my way and I took them. I was very fortunate.”
As for Boyd’s transition into teaching and administration, it came quite naturally. Her husband Dr. Ian Bennett was the Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry at Dalhousie and her mother and sister were both teachers as well.
“Everybody needs to try to make a difference. Giving back makes your professional life rich,” says Boyd, adding she stopped practicing just a few years ago. “I had a remarkable single mom who always believed in me, a sister that was inspiring and my husband took great joy in my accomplishments. I was very blessed to have a strong family.”
In 2015, Boyd received Canada’s highest honour - she was inducted into the Order of Canada. Boyd’s contributions and dedication to the profession of dentistry have led her to receive honourary membership in both the Canadian and American Dental Associations, and she received the inaugural award for leadership from the Gies Foundation of the American Dental Education Association.
Her awards do not end here.
She has received the Callahan Memorial Medial from the Ohio Dental Association and the Canadian Dental Association’s highest award, the Medal of Honour. She’s an honourary member of the College of Dental Surgeons of BC, the BC Dental Association and the Royal College of Dentists of Canada, and has received no less than four honorary doctorates.
“It was the variety that afforded me the opportunities that were so special,” says Boyd. “Dentistry provided me with the foundational studies to launch such a meaningful career. I am grateful for the quality of the education I received from my professors at the university. I could not have wished for better!”