Distinguished Alumnus in Dentistry Award

DeNucciDonald J. DeNucci, D.D.S., M.S., Dent ’70
Charlotte, N.C.

Donald DeNucci’s life of service has taken him all over the United States and Europe to care for military personnel, their families, and veterans. After graduating from the School of Dentistry in 1970, DeNucci joined the U.S. Army Dental Corps and served for 28 years.

He and his wife, Paula, Dent Hy ’69, completed tours in Germany; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Richardson, Alaska, and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, where as a guest researcher he helped develop new strategies to manage acute and chronic pain conditions. DeNucci achieved the rank of colonel and was chief of the dental clinic at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., when he retired in 1998.

He then spent two years studying acupuncture, “viewing this as an adjunct to my current pain management armamentarium,” he explains. He joined the VA Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and was the first dentist credentialed to provide acupuncture to veterans. Later, the NIH asked him to launch a program that engaged dental professionals in clinical research and he established a similar research network in the VA system. In 2015, he and his wife relocated to Charlotte, N.C., where he is now adjunct research professor of oral medicine for Atrium Health.

“My focus in life has always been on service,” DeNucci explains. “Achieving this requires faith in a supreme being and the goodness of humanity, coupled with the courage to lead and strive for excellence. Marquette prepared me well for this.”

Name someone you’d like to have dinner with.
Albert Einstein, to discuss his perceptions of the universe, religion, and the future of mankind.

What is one of your favorite Marquette memories?
Having lunch at Father Mac’s cafeteria with dental school colleagues.


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