Dr. Weingarten’s eighth decade kicked off with a family trip, a standing ovation, and the highest honor from the governor of Indiana.
In anticipation of his 70th birthday, Dr. Weingarten (DDS’79), associate dean, Office of Clinic Affairs, and his wife Carin (DH’79), celebrated with their three daughters, their spouses, and five grandchildren with a family trip to Kauai, Hawaii.
Then in early January, Dr. Weingarten was honored with a standing ovation as the outgoing chairperson of the Commission on Dental Competency Assessment (CDCA) after his state of the state address for about 1,100 colleagues. Under his leadership over the past decade, the CDCA merged with other licensure testing organizations – the Western Regional Examining Board and the Council of Interstate Testing Agencies – to simplify the licensure process for schools, candidates, and dental boards by offering a universally accepted ADEX licensure standard throughout North America.
The next week, on January 12, 2023, on his 70th birthday, Dr. Weingarten arrived at the dental school to a decorated lecture hall and office, banners, balloons, and a large, signed card. “Roxana Fuentes, Leah Minnis, Kathy Pedigo, Terry Wilson, and the entire dental assisting staff really went all out. They truly made me feel special that day,” Dr. Weingarten said.
The day after his birthday, back in South Bend, where he and Carin live and practice, Dr. Weingarten’s dental office gathered for its annual holiday dinner, which they customarily do in January. About 80 people – including IUSD alumni Alon Shemesh (DDS’96), Stephen Hendricks (DDS’16) and Andrew Watkins (DDS’15), staff, and guests – celebrated as Dr. Bill Gitlin (DDS’78), Dr. Weingarten’s dental school friend and business partner for more than 40 years, presented him with the Sagamore of the Wabash, the governor of Indiana’s highest honor for service. The award is a personal tribute presented to people who have rendered distinguished service to the state or the governor.
It took about six months for Dr. Gitlin to arrange for this award from Governor Holcomb for his friend and partner. He approached the wife of a former governor from South Bend, who reached out to Governor Holcomb and shared about the decades of community service Dr. Weingarten has rendered as a clinician, educator, state dental board member, national dental examiner board member, and community volunteer. Indeed, Dr. Weingarten’s service record includes consulting with local law enforcement on forensic dental identification cases and working for the Department of Correction as a consultant dentist. He lectures about dental ethics throughout the state, and has lectured in many dental schools for the ADA’s Success program. While combining his love for dentistry and his faith, Dr. Weingarten volunteered for one month as a dental care provider in a small town in Israel, for which he received the Alpha Omega International Service Award. He has also served on the board of a local hospital and has performed community outreach for developmentally delayed children and adults.
“Harvey is the consummate professional and he has been successful at every endeavor along the way,” Dr. Gitlin said. “He cares passionately about the dental profession and his community and has worked his entire career to make both of them better for all of us.”
“First, I can’t believe I’m 70,” Dr. Weingarten said. “My family, colleagues, co-workers, all made me feel special. I was in disbelief when Bill presented the award to me. I never aspired to this award. I am very touched.”
Dr. Weingarten said his service ethos originates from being a first-generation American. “I came from an immigrant family that escaped the pogroms in Poland and Russia, and some who did not escape the Holocaust,” he said. “My father spoke six languages, none of them English. We were very insular – my parents’ only friends in South Bend were their relatives. Getting out into the community was my way of broadening my world. My Dad got sick when I was 10 and died when I was in my late teens, so I grew up knowing if I wanted something, I had to get out and do it.
“I’ve been a part of many different organizations over the years – civic, religious, professional. I’ve done it because I could. It has been nice to have a long history of my work culminate in this recognition. I am very moved.”