EIOH Alum Dr. Bruce Haskell Wins Alumni Association Award

Dec. 2, 2015

Dr. Bruce Haskell (Ortho '75) was recently honored with the Louisville Orthodontic Alumni Association Award.  His acceptance speech:

I am tremendously honored to be here and receive this award from the Orthodontic Alumni Association. I wish to especially thank the members of its Board and all those who selected me for this particular honor.

It never occurred to me that I would be received this way by the Alumni.  I am lucky to have had the great privilege of working with incredibly talented residents and faculty over the years. I always felt it was my very good fortune to not only teach, but to learn from you all over my 37 years in the department.  While I may have contributed something to orthodontic education during this time, I know that I have personally gained much more in the way of developing my own ability, skills, and interests. I know it is true that "he who teaches, truly learns!" 

To paraphrase my own mentor from Rochester, Dr. J. Daniel Subtelny,  "I could never teach anyone anything…All I could really do was to try to get them to think!" This is the very nature of orthodontic graduate education and why our department has always favored a non "cook-book" approach to teaching. (I usually knew when to stop spouting off  on such stuff as dental evolution and anthropology when I got those glassy stares from the back of the seminar room!)

Teaching in the Department has always been something of an adventure for me.  I recall the "organized" trips by the late Dr. Selden in his Winnebago to the Michigan Moyers Symposiums in the 1970's. I remember the originality and depth of past residents who  designed new appliances  because they thought they could develop something that worked better and faster because your department encouraged original thinking.  I even recall crazy things like the time the undergrads blew up the now-banned, lab hydrogen flame, nearly burning down the department!  

Dr. HaskellOne thing, however, we all appreciate is the real heart of your department…..the supporting staff. Over the years, those ladies have always been there to assist at chair side and with advice on dealing with the clinical and  personal crises new professionals often fall into.  God-Bless all of you dedicated staff and secretaries!

In all careers, there are rocky moments. I would not be here getting this award today without the continued encouragement and moral support of family and many of my colleagues. I especially wish to thank all of the full time and part-time faculty both within and outside of the department that put up with my sometimes odd  "New Jersey" sense of humor over the years. These people supported, helped and collaborated with me in teaching and in practice by putting up with my often making a general nuisance of myself.

I really couldn't accept this award without giving you my "one and a half cents" worth concerning  work and happiness to you alumni.  

Sure…Everybody wants to be a financial success. It is an essential part of life, and it often makes the difference between a less stressful or a more stressful lifestyle. But when it comes down to making overly excessive earnings versus being happy in your practice, be careful not to let finances overrule the enjoyment of what you do. How can you equate fees with the joy of a patient being brought to tears with the thrill of being transformed by a beautiful smile?  Don't let the sheer joy and satisfaction of  what you do ever be allowed to escape you. If you are treating patients with only two or three chairs, you’ll likely make more money filling six, or even nine, but it is not always going to make you happy.  Doing the very best you can for patients is usually what brings satisfaction to your heart. According to Angelou, “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love".

Having time to talk, joke and communicate with your patients is not only important but relaxing.  Take the time to be with family, church (or synagogue) and friends. Find a practice method and pace that is satisfying.

To quote Mark Twain,  “The law of work seems unfair, but nothing can change it; the more enjoyment you get out of your work, the more (money) you will make.”

I specially wish to thank my wife, Joy, from Pittsburgh, who encouraged me come to Louisville to teach at U of L. She gave up being near family and old friends to come west to Kentucky and make a life for ourselves and our children here.

To conclude… you need no pundit to spell it out…."Happiness may not be bought, but it can be earned!"    Thank you all again for this kindness and appreciation. This award was a wonderful gesture I'll always remember! 

Bruce Haskell