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by Dr. Michelle Sunico

One of the pillars of the UP College of Dentistry is Dr. Natividad C. Gervasio. This formidable-looking yet gentle lady with Castilian features and deeply-ingrained Caviteña pride has led the College into several triumphs.

Today’s students may know her as their awe-inspiring teacher in Oral Pathology who can enumerate the symptoms of all oral lesions and neoplasms with such expertise, or remove impacted or fractured teeth in the blink of an eye.

The Harvard University and Worcester City Hospital-trained (Massachusetts, U.S.A.) Professor served two terms (1991-1997) as the first lady Dean of the College of Dentistry. Her greatest achievements during her six-year term as Dean:

•Made possible the construction of the new College of Dentistry building at Pedro Gil St. by soliciting donations amounting to around Php56M.

•Formalized the linkage Nippon Dental University in Japan in 1995. Under this, 3 faculty members were able to undergo graduate studies in Japan.

After serving as Dean, she was appointed as Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs during Chancellor Alfredo Ramirez’s term (1999 – 2002). She also served as the Head of the Department of Dentistry of the Philippine General Hospital. She is currently the Chairperson of the Technical Committee for Dental Education (TGDE) of the Committee on Higher Education (CHED). Two years ago, she was conferred an honorary degree (PhD) by the Nippon Dental University. Best known for her professionalism, no-nonsense administrative style and sound judgement, she is the epitome of a hardworking, disciplined leader who led by example. Punctuality is one of her trademarks (aside from her Oral Pathology exams) and she has been known to lock those habitual latecomers out of the lecture room.

However strict or how high her position is though, people always find her approachable, exchanging jokes, stories or advice with almost anybody, no matter how humble their position is. After all her success, she has managed to keep her feet on the ground. We thank her for the many years she had selflessly shared with the College and for the inspiration she gave us; not to mention, the stories, advice and the occasional cup of brewed coffee and slice of that delicious taisan bread; most of all, for being one of the reasons why we are proud to say that we are from the UP College of Dentistry.