Find Inspiration at Last Lecture

Monday, March 5, 2018

For the seventh year in a row, UCSF students have chosen the faculty member they most want to hear deliver an inspiring lecture.

The 2018 Last Lecture favorite this year is Dr. David Graham, professor of dentistry and 1971 UCSF alumnus.

Born in Berkeley in 1944, Graham was raised in Palo Alto where his father was a geology professor at Stanford University.

According to his UCSF Alumni Association biography, Graham was first exposed to the career of dentistry at age five, when a friend of his parents — a dental assistant — took him to work with her.

He received his B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Redlands in 1967 before entering UCSF School of Dentistry. He was president of Delta Sigma Delta dental fraternity and served as treasurer for the Associated Dental Students. During his senior year, he met his wife Pat, a physical therapy student at UCSF.

After graduation, Graham immediately reported for active duty in the U.S. Navy at Mare Island (Vallejo), where he served as a dental officer for 18 months. He was then transferred to the USS Hancock, an aircraft carrier deployed to the Pacific during the Viet Nam War.

During a one-month period in 1973, Graham was discharged from the Navy, married Pat, began practicing as an associate in Danville and Dublin, California, bought a condominium, and began teaching at the UCSF School of Dentistry. He attributes his UCSF employment to the fact that he shared a Navy background with many of the faculty.

Graham’s love of dentistry extends beyond teaching and practicing to doing his own gold work in his at-home lab. What he is most known for, however, is his dedication to his students.

And this year, students show him the love back as their pick for the Last Lecture. The Last Lecture features a UCSF faculty member nominated and selected by each year students to answer one question: "If you had but one lecture to give, what would you say?"

The interprofessional, the student-initiated event will bring out stories intertwining various dimensions of Graham’s professional, personal, spiritual, and cultural experiences that have brought him to UCSF today.

Such a lecture series is prominent on many college campuses, made especially famous by Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon professor whose lecture ironically was his last lecture, having just been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.

In spring 2012, the inaugural UCSF Last Lecture received a warm and welcoming response.

Make sure to save the date — the 2018 Last Lecture takes place on Wednesday, April 11, 5:30 p.m., Cole Hall, Parnassus.

Watch past last lectures at