Dr. Naomi Ellison to Deliver 2023 Commencement Address on June 4

Dr. Naomi Ellison
Accomplished practitioner and dedicated Bruin philanthropist Naomi Ellison, D.D.S., ’81, will speak at School’s 56th commencement ceremony on Sunday, June 4
May 5, 2023

Business leader, dentist, and UCLA alumna Naomi Ellison, D.D.S., ’81, will deliver the UCLA School of Dentistry’s 2023 commencement address on Sunday, June 4, at 10 a.m. in Royce Hall.

Dr. Ellison has remained engaged with the university over her 40-plus years as an alumna, while also operating a successful private dentistry practice in Santa Monica, Calif. She served as chair of the School’s Board of Counselors from 1996 to 2022 and remains an active member. In this leadership role, she has helped raise more than $55 million to support UCLA Dentistry’s excellence in education, research, community service, and patient care. Dr. Ellison continues to chair the Board of Counselors Leadership Institute Committee, which provides outstanding mentorship experiences to select D.D.S. students.

“This will be a day of celebrating accomplishments: Past, present, and future,” said Dr. Ellison. “The UCLA School of Dentistry educates some of the world’s foremost oral health professionals. I hope my personal story – and the stories of others I share – can help inspire its class of 2023 to do incredible work with purpose.”

The 2022-23 academic year at UCLA has been especially notable for Dr. Ellison and her husband Jim. Last October, Dr. Reuben Kim was installed as the inaugural Naomi and Jim Ellison Endowed Chair in Restorative Dentistry, thanks to a $1 million gift the couple made in 2019.

Elsewhere on campus, Dr. Ellison served as a cabinet member for the Centennial Campaign for UCLA and as a past president of UCLA Women and Philanthropy. She has also held multiple dental industry leadership positions, including with the American and California Dental Associations. Early in her career, she was elected to national and international honorary dental societies including Pierre Fauchard, the American College of Dentists, and the International College of Dentists.

“As our 2023 graduates embark on their journeys as practicing dentists, there is no greater role model for them to learn from than Dr. Naomi Ellison,” said School of Dentistry Dean Dr. Paul Krebsbach. “She has deftly combined patient care in her personal practice with an unwavering commitment to the greater good. Dr. Ellison is a shining beacon of our UCLA Dentistry community.”

During the School of Dentistry’s 56th commencement exercises, degrees will be conferred to nearly 120 Doctor of Dental Surgery students and nine Master of Science in Oral Biology candidates. Additionally, certificates will be presented to nearly 50 postgraduates completing residency programs.