UCSF School of Dentistry Dean John D.B. Featherstone, PhD, congratulates Don Truex, DDS ’65, at Alumni Weekend 2015.
As a competitive runner, cyclist, downhill skier, scuba diver, gentleman farmer, and philanthropist, Don Truex, DDS ’65, is probably busier in retirement than he was in his working years. He’s always short of time, he says, but applies the principles of running to manage his jam-packed calendar.
“In running, you have to set goals for yourself,” Truex explains. “You can carry that over into your life.” It’s the same time management technique he used when, working as an engineer for Standard Oil, he attended night classes to meet the prerequisites for his acceptance to UCSF School of Dentistry. While completing two semesters of zoology simultaneously—engineer by day, student by night—he put in many 15-hour days; but the effort paid off.
“My education gave me the background for a rewarding life,” Truex says. He operated his solo dental practice in Goleta, California, close to Santa Barbara, for 42 years. He developed warm and lasting relationships with the patients he cared for, many of whom were fellow engineers from the nearby Raytheon and GM Delco plants—while others were from multiple generations of families in the area. He also enjoyed keeping up with the latest dental technologies.
“I found it very satisfying to work with crowns and implants that could improve a patient’s appearance and help them become functional again,” Truex says. He retired eight years ago, at the age of 72, leaving more time for athletics and agriculture. When he originally purchased his home in Santa Barbara, he planted a grove of 95 avocado trees. Now, in a good year and with proper tending, it will yield as much as 7,000 pounds of fruit.
A longtime UCSF supporter, Truex has given back to the university in many ways. Remembering the scholarship that helped him complete his chemical and metallurgical engineering degrees at the University of Michigan, he recently established a charitable gift annuity using appreciated securities to support the Class of 1965 Endowed Scholarship in Dentistry. The scholarship will support a third- or fourth-year dental student in good standing with financial need or a first- or second-year student under special circumstances.
“We are truly grateful for Don’s generosity,” says UCSF School of Dentistry Dean John D.B. Featherstone, PhD. “Each year this gift will support a bright, deserving, and aspiring young student who might not otherwise be able to pursue a career in dentistry.”
Looking back, Truex says he chose UCSF because it was more affordable than the other three schools where he was accepted; but it also turned out to be the best. He fondly recalls such things as receiving his scuba diving certificate in a course taught by a UCSF anesthesiologist in the Millberry Union swimming pool and attending the 2015 Alumni Weekend, where he celebrated two milestones: his 50th UCSF class reunion and his 80th birthday.
“I’ve always believed strongly in education,” Truex says, “and I’m proud to help the next generation.”
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