Dentist-alum honored at Medical College of Virginia

Dr. J. Robert Eshleman, EMU 56', poses with Dr. Debra Horst, EMU 07'. Dr. Horst was honored by the Omricon Kappa Upsilon (OKU), a society that was "established to promote and recognize shcolarship and character among students of dentistry," upon her graduation from Virginia Commonwealth University (MCV).

Dr. Debra (Boese) Horst, a 2007 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), received the highest honor a dental student can achieve at the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) of Virginia Commonwealth University upon graduating in May 2011.

Dr. Horst was elected to Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU), a society that was “established to promote and recognize scholarship and character among students of dentistry,” according to its website.

“Debbie was a stellar undergraduate student at EMU,” said Dr. Roman J. Miller, EMU professor of biology.  “She was focused and committed in her academic studies as an undergraduate. As a dental student, she distinguished herself among her peers.”

Dr. J. Robert Eshleman, EMU class of 1956, has been on the dental school faculty at MCV for more than five decades and served as a mentor to Horst. Eshleman received the same honor when he graduated from MCV in 1960.

“A maximum of 12 percent of the senior class can be selected for this honor,” said  Eshleman. “Debbie finished fourth in her dental class [out] of 90.” In transitioning to paperless clinical records at MCV, Horst gained the reputation of being a trouble-shooter with the new computer-based records, added Eshleman.

“The induction into this society meant a great deal to me because I felt like I worked very hard, but also because of another person in the society,” Horst said.  “Dr. Eshleman was a great mentor. We were always amazed at how our paths had paralleled even though we had gone through the same process [at EMU] at different times.”

Honorees are selected from the top 25 percent of the class and must be endorsed by three-quarters of the voting faculty members, who themselves are OKU members, explained Eshleman.

Horst is now associated with the dental practice of Dr. Douglas Wright in Harrisonburg.

This article was first published July 12, 2011.