Four dentistry professors leave a legacy in retirement

Professors Tom Stevenson, Trudy Aucoin, Jack Margolis and Bernard Linke will all retire in the summer of 2023.

7 June 2023

This summer, the University of Alberta School of Dentistry will bid a fond farewell to four of its long-standing faculty members. Tom Stevenson, Trudy Aucoin, Bernard Linke and Jack Margolus are all retiring, leaving behind a legacy of collaboration and teamwork with the school.

Prior to their departure, they will get to experience one more U of A convocation, which will include the first cohort of students to graduate from the revised dental school curriculum, which was implemented in 2019.

We recently caught up to the four soon-to-be retirees, who reflected on their time with the school and shared their thoughts.  

Tom Stevenson

Following several years of private practice in Edmonton as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Edmonton-born Tom Stevenson (DDS ‘73) returned to his alma mater on a part-time basis in 1981 to give back to his school and pass his knowledge on to dental students. In 2007 he became a clinical lecturer, and went on to become the division head of oral and maxillofacial surgery in 2009. In 2011 he was appointed to the position of associate chair, student affairs.

Stevenson received the Student Excellence in Teaching Award in 2009, 2010 and 2013, which is no surprise given that he has said spending time in clinics and classrooms with students, staff and colleagues has been his favourite part of working in the school.

He was involved in the development of patient case-based scenarios for the new curriculum, which he described as informative, formative and fun.  

Stevenson has said that he wants his students to be better dentists than him. To support this goal, Stevenson and wife Patricia, a 1971 graduate of the dental hygiene program, established a substantial endowment to support undergraduate students in the School of Dentistry & Dental Hygiene.  

His fondest memories: “Being able to participate in the development of the next generation of dental health-care professionals and working with so many incredible students, support staff and academic staff. It has been a privilege.”

His words of wisdom: “Always do your best and the best way to stay out of trouble is to not get into it; know your limitations.”

His plans for retirement: “Spending time with my family and at my wildlife sanctuary. I am also planning to participate in a research project to develop interactive teaching modules that expand on our patient case-based program.”

Trudy Aucoin

Trudy Aucoin, an associate clinical professor, will begin her retirement in early July, after being with the school since September of 2009. Aucoin plans to continue to be involved with student learning through the satellite rotations, Access for All dentistry trips and the Yukon elective. She will continue working in private practice and continue to support initiatives that improve access to dental care.

Her fondest memories: Interactions with students, patients and the entire comprehensive-care team. “I’m very proud of the implementation of our new curriculum, and when our team won the Teaching Unit Award in 2017.”

Her words of wisdom: “There are so many things that are out of your control. What you can control is how you respond. Lead with kindness and gratitude.”

Her plans for retirement: “I’m looking forward to having more flexibility and time to enjoy life with my husband, puppy and our amazing grandson!”

Bernard Linke

Bernard Linke joined the school as the discipline lead of restorative dentistry in 2010 after teaching on a part-time basis and running his own busy prosthodontics practice. He will retire in mid-August this year.

Linke will always remember the support staff, students and colleagues he worked with, and feels privileged to have led the restorative-dentistry team. “Being part of a process where students go from minimal psychomotor skills, to well developed simulation skills, and then clinical skills is always exciting to be a part of,he says. 

His words of wisdom: “Stay humble, treat everyone with respect and do your best in your area of responsibility. Endeavour to make a positive difference in those around you, whether it is your colleagues, students or patients.”

His plans for retirement: “Looking forward to the journey and options that retirement provides.”

Jack Margolus

Margolus decided to join the school full time in 2012 after initially starting out in a part-time position. He will retire in mid-July of this year after being the comprehensive-care lead for the last few years.  

Margolus will always fondly remember being visited in his office by a group of students asking his permission to nominate him for the Gibb Teaching Award. “I did get the award, but the fact that students wanted me to have it was the real reward,” he says.

His words of wisdom: “I have no need to pass on words of wisdom. I had the privilege of working with many wise faculty and staff and brilliant students and feel blessed and grateful."

His plans for retirement: “I hope to be able to stay active with pickup hockey, waterskiing and some travelling. As I age I’m sure I won’t have any trouble relaxing with more sedentary pursuits. I think my wife has plans for me to become a house husband and we’ll see if I have any talent in that direction.”

Although each has a different plan for their retirement, they all agree a more flexible schedule will be the highlight. They will all be missed by students, staff and faculty alike, and we wish them all the best in their next adventures.