Not even a bolt of lightning could stop David G. Dickerhoff, DDS ’82, MAGD, from talking about the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD).
A few days earlier, lightning had struck his practice in Fayetteville, N.C., knocking out about 35 personal computers, 20 or so land lines, all the radiology equipment, and the security system. Although technicians and workers were still milling about his offices, Dickerhoff was willing to chat via cellphone about why giving back to his alma mater is important to him.
“I grew up in Cumberland and still root for the Orioles, the Terrapins, and the Ravens,” he said. “I still consider myself a Maryland boy even though I have lived in North Carolina since 1991. And I am very appreciative of the things the dental school has done for me.”
Throughout the years, he and his wife Janice Dickerhoff, who have sons ages 18 and 21, have remained committed to the notion of giving back. In 2019, the couple made a major multiyear pledge to UMSOD’s Annual Fund and are supporters of the Dean’s Innovation Fund and the Dean’s Scholarship for Leadership & Excellence.
“I have always felt that Maryland gave me an incredible start to my dental education,” David Dickerhoff said. “Because of that, I have tried to give back. As an elder and clerk of session in my church, Christ’s example of being a servant has always inspired me to service.”
Since 1996, the Dickerhoffs have operated a private practice comprising five general dentists, two specialists, and a support staff of 30. Janice, a former U.S. Army patient administration specialist, oversees all of the practice’s higher-level functions, such as employee benefits, payroll, and taxes.
As an undergraduate at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College), David Dickerhoff joined the U.S. Army ROTC. After graduation, he applied to UMSOD but was turned down. He then served with the Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., from 1978-82.
“In that four-year stint of service, they sent me to Jump School, and I was a platoon leader, executive officer, and company commander in a medical clearing station where I earned my Master Parachutist’s Wings and Expert Field Medical Badge,” Dickerhoff said. “The biggest thing is that those four years allowed me to grow up a little bit.”
He applied again to UMSOD and was accepted. “I really appreciate Maryland accepting me into the class. It taught me so much; I have always been proud to be an alumnus.”
Dickerhoff fondly recalls competing on a parking lot roof with the Baseliners, an intramural basketball team, and learning from transformational professors such as Timothy F. Meiller, DDS, PhD, professor in UMSOD’s Department of Oncology and Diagnostic Sciences, and Richard Wynn, PhD, professor in UMSOD’s Department of Neural and Pain Sciences. But “it should surprise no one that my favorite faculty member was Dr. Hal Crossley,” he said.
After dental school, Dickerhoff continued his military career, serving in Wildflecken, Germany, and Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, as well as completing two advanced general dentistry residencies at Fort Sill, Okla., and Fort Bragg. Dickerhoff also donates time to community organizations such as North Carolina Missions of Mercy and Rebuilding America’s Warriors. He served for a decade as chair of the United Way of Cumberland County’s dental division, and, since 2017, has been the North Carolina state chair of Dental Lifeline Network, a national nonprofit that provides access to dental care for the medically compromised and elderly.