From touch football to McCook Hospital, periodontist remembers first UConn Health class
Paul Goldschmidt ’72 DMD has fond memories of the very first class of UConn Health 50 years ago.
“It felt like a small family because there were only 12 dental students and about 30 medical students in the graduating class,” he says. “The faculty members just couldn’t have been more helpful because there were so few of us. The medical and dental students took their first two years of classes together.”
Back then, UConn Health’s John Dempsey Hospital was still under construction and some of the dental and medical students even worked as laborers on the building during summer breaks. Goldschmidt and his classmates traveled to the former McCook Hospital in Hartford’s North End for classes and clinicals. They’d take other classes in temporary, prefabricated “Butler” buildings on the grounds near the Farmington construction site.
“In between lectures, people would go out and play touch football,” he says.
Now, after building their own families and launching successful careers as dentists, doctors, and surgeons, Goldschmidt and the rest of his pioneering classmates will hold their 50th reunion on Oct. 1.
To celebrate, Goldschmidt and his wife, Janice, are donating $100,000 to UConn Health to keep the school strong. Goldschmidt is challenging his classmates and professors to donate to match his gift.
“I feel a connection and I’d like the health center to continue to do well. It’s been a leader in many different areas and many different fields,” Goldschmidt explains. “I think it’s time that the faculty and students who graduated back in ’72 just take a moment and say ‘OK, it’s been a great 50 years and here’s a contribution’ as a way of giving back.”
Goldschmidt is retired now after a long career as a periodontist based in Farmington, Connecticut. His sons have followed his footsteps to UConn Health as well. Jeffrey ’99 DMD became a periodontist and took over Goldschmidt’s practice. Matthew ’96 DMD, ’99 MD earned both his dental and medical degrees from UConn Health and is a surgeon in Cleveland.
Goldschmidt and his wife, Janice, a nurse, have retired to Boynton Beach, Florida, where they enjoy golfing, biking, fishing, visits from their grandchildren – and memories of those first years at UConn Health.
“I’m hoping that some of my classmates and maybe some of the faculty members might consider making a sizable gift to the health center. I don’t care where it is, whether it’s the dental school, medical school, or the health center in general. For me, it’s a way of saying thank you.”
Dr. Bruce T. Liang, interim UConn Health CEO and dean of the School of Medicine, says he is thankful for Goldschmidt’s matching gift marking UConn Health’s historic milestone.
“We are so grateful for Dr. Paul Goldschmidt’s generous gift in support of our long legacy of training Connecticut’s future health care workforce,” Liang says. “Thanks in advance to any pioneering Class of 1972 classmates who are up to the matching-gift challenge. We look forward to celebrating with you all this fall at the 50th reunion.”