Dr. Daniel Quon, a member of the School of Dentistry's first graduating class in 1979, was named 2011 Alumnus of the Year last spring at the annual Dental Alumni and Friends dinner.
Quon says he became a dentist because as a child he had a toothache that inspired him to devote his life to determining what caused such pain. At least, that's the way his mother tells it. Quon himself doesn't recall the toothache. For him, it boils down to a lifelong fascination with the science of health care.
Quon graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1974 before graduating from the School of Dentistry in 1979.
"Being in the first class, we had no older students to guide us," he said. "All of my classmates were preparing to start their own practices, but I was still trying to decide what I wanted to do."
A friend suggested he apply for a residency, and that led him to the University of Alabama and Birmingham where he completed a general practice residency in 1981, followed by an oral and maxillofacial surgery residency in 1984. He was chief resident for each.
"Because I was a part of the first class to graduate from the School of Dentistry, I felt I had a moral obligation to return to Mississippi," Quon said.
A native of Hernando, Quon currently lives in Madison and leads his practice in Jackson that he began in 1984. He also joined the Medical Center as clinical professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery and serves on the staff of St. Dominic/Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he was ENT/oral and maxillofacial surgery section chief from 1994-95.
Quon has served as president of District IV of the Mississippi Dental Association and is a member of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and the Pierre Fauchard Academy.
He also is a member of the UMMC Guardian Society and helped raise funds for the dental simulation lab.
Said Quon: "With us being in the first class to start and finish, I thought it would be fitting to try to help honor Dr. Wally Mann, the first dean of the School of Dentistry," for whom the lab is dedicated.
Quon credits the education he received from the School of Dentistry for much of his success. Talking with dentists from established schools around the country during his residency training is when he recognized the value of his education.
"Being in a specialization program with other students gave me an idea of how broad my education was. I realized I really was afforded a quality education for a first-time school," he said. "The students here receive a well-rounded education."
Quon is married to Wanda Jong Quon, and they have a 27-year-old son, Jason Daniel. When he's not working, Quon says he enjoys traveling with his family and eating out.