Volunteer Spotlight: Dr. Lee Erickson
Halifax-based orthodontist and Assistant Professor in Dal’s Faculty of Dentistry Dr. Lee Erickson (DDS’77) has volunteered his time in many different ways.
How long have you been a Dal volunteer and in what capacity?
Well over 20 years in various capacities including capital campaigns and, most recently, as chair of the Dal Dental School Alumni Committee.
What (or who) inspired you to begin volunteering?
I had a great time studying at Dal, particularly at the Faculty of Dentistry from 1977-1981. It’s a small way to give back to the faculty that has given me so much.
What have you learned or gained through your volunteerism?
I have learned that the connection with Dal has to start as a student. It’s really difficult to establish concrete alumni relations after graduation if they haven’t been cultivated as a student. Most students have a connection to the faculty they studied in, not to Dal as a whole. That is particularly true in the professional schools.
Can you share your happiest moment (so far) as a Dal volunteer?
MC’ing the White Coat Ceremony at the Faculty of Dentistry where first-year dental students and dental hygiene students, in front of faculty and family, get their white lab coats, recite the oath and officially become part of the Faculty of Dentistry. It’s the first of many steps to making them committed alumni.
What is a piece of advice you’d give alumni interested in volunteering?
Start with small projects that are time limited. You don’t have to be the uber-volunteer. It’s extremely rewarding to see the impact you have.
Do you have any other personal or professional connections to Dal?
I was the first from my family to graduate from university. From the time I graduated, I have been a part-time lecturer and then assistant professor. You certainly don’t do this for the money! I love teaching and doing so is another way to give back to the faculty.
What’s your favourite memory from your time at Dal?
It was my first year dental school, during first week of classes, on a Friday afternoon at the Dent House. Over a few beers, the entire class committed to helping each other get through the program. We decided that individual success in Dental School involved the success of our classmates as well.
There are many places to volunteer. Why Dal?
I like to volunteer where I feel my efforts result in positive change. It’s also important to realize when your time is up. Organizations need someone with institutional memory but it’s new people and new ideas that keep an organization relevant.
Interested in volunteering? Find out what opportunities are available by clicking here.