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Riding the wave through fresh and fabulous times

Schulich Dentistry in the 1980s

It’s the 1980s and Schulich Dentistry is making its mark. Read about the people, achievements and special moments that made this decade one for the books.

Highlights and Achievements

Staying fresh

Alumni Profiles

Dr. Steven Bajura, DDS'85

Dr. Steven Bajura, DDS'85Growing up, Dr. Steven Bajura, DDS’85, had always dreamed of being a dentist. And in 1981, he came to a turning point in his life – accept a job offer, pursue his PhD, or apply to dentistry? With the encouragement of his wife, he took the chance and applied to Western’s then Faculty of Dentistry.

And with that, he became a member of the Class of 1985. He was joined by 55 other students, including nine women.


It didn’t take long for the class to become cohesive – at the University’s Winter Carnival, they made a memorable snow sculpture, the “General Molars 57 Chevy Incisor.”

His class was taught by outstanding faculty. “They were all engaging and totally committed to providing us the best education any dental school in North America could deliver.” Unquestionably, Dr. Ronald E. Jordan was a standout. He was a prolific and sought after speaker, who still took the time to teach and mentor students.

It was the 1980s and people were listening to John Mellencamp and Soft Cell on the radio, watching Magnum PI and Cheers on television, becoming more familiar with the acronyms HIV/AIDS, and with heads of state including Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Brian Mulroney.

Dr. Bajura looks at his profession as a privilege and a responsibility, advice he passes on to current and future dental students. “We have been blessed with a wondrous and limitless profession – serve it well, enjoy it and most of all take care of the people you love.”

Dr. Karin Van Ryswyk, DDS'86

Dr. Karin Van Ryswyk, DDS'86Dr. Karin Van Ryswyk is a true trailblazer in the London, Ontario dental community. She served as the first female president of the London and District Dental Society in 2001, after sitting for several years on the executive committee – an impressive professional feat that is rooted in her education at Schulich Dentistry.

As a member of the Dentistry Class of 1986, she looks back at her experience at the School with a great sense of accomplishment.


“I could use every emotion when describing my time in dental school,” she said. “It was hard work – busy and stressful. But I enjoyed the challenges, and the people I was surrounded by made the experiences fulfilling and rewarding.”

Dr. Van Ryswyk went on to open her own practice, a career choice that proved those challenging times were worthwile. “It’s rewarding to see your patients’ families grow, to treat their children and then also their grandchildren.”

She has also stayed connected to Schulich Dentistry in several capacities. She was part of the Mustang Symposium Committee in its early years, and has served as an Adjunct Clinical Professor since 2010. And as part of the Dental Renewal Committee, she is helping build a 10-year plan to position the School of Dentistry as one of the premiere dental schools in North America.

“How we practice today and what we will be doing in 10 years from now will look vastly different,” she explained. “I am excited about the future of our dental school.”  

As for her previous student days, Dr. Van Ryswyk remembers eighties pop culture fondly – big hair, the number one hit song from Dionne Warwick and Friends, “That’s What Friends Are For,” and release of the movie “Top Gun”.