OU College of Dentistry Honors Alumni Members at 2019 Alumni Weekend

Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2019

2019 Young Dental Hygiene Alumnus of the Year
Emily Saldana, R.D.H.  

Emily Saldana is a first-generation college graduate, attending Redlands Community College, and later graduating with her dental hygiene degree from the OU College of Dentistry in 2016.

Since 2018, Saldana has been working with two different practices, one of which is Dental32 in Oklahoma City, where she practices under Steve Truong, D.D.S., and Daryn Lu, D.D.S. The second practice is at Heritage Dental, in Norman, where she works under Elie About-Nassar, Each year the OU College of Dentistry honors five deserving alumni with an award to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and advancement to the dental profession.D.D.S.

Saldana is known to volunteer on a consistent basis with several different organizations such as Oklahoma Mission of Mercy, Free Dental Day at My Dentist in Weatherford, the Good Shepard House in El Reno, Pets and People, The Helping Hand in El Reno, Angel Tree and the Oklahoma Blood Insitute.


2019 Dental Hygiene Alumnus of the Year
Shelly Von Short, R.D.H.

Shelly Von Short has worked in the field of dentistry for more than 35 years. She is a highly regarded practice management consultant, aan accomplished speaker and writer, and has presented all over the United States and Europe. 

Ms. Short earned her bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene from the OU College of Dentistry in 1985. While in hygiene school, she was the class president and was earned the Outstanding Senior award. Upon graduation, she practiced dental hygiene for six years in Zurich, Switzerland.

While in Switzerland, she had a wonderful clinical opportunity to work as a  periodontal therapist. Additionally, she served as the president of the American Dental Hygienist’s Organization of Switzerland.

She moved back to the United States and in 1994, she joined the faculty at the College of Dentistry as an adjunct clinical instructor in the Department of Dental Hygiene.

In 1996, she earned her Master’s in Nutritional Sciences, with an emphasis is health promotion, from the OU College of Allied Health. In 1997, she began her career in consulting with the Jameson Management Consulting Company, as a senior business and clinical consultant.

In 2007, she earned an alternative correspondence doctorate of philosophy in holistic nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health in Birmingham, Alabama.

In 2009, after working more than a decade in practice management, she founded her own consulting company Zum Wohl [pronounced: zoom vol], which combines her expertise in business management, practice analysis and clinical efficiency with her passion for health education and wellness.

Ms. Short has been a loyal supporter of the OU College of Dentistry and the J. Dean Robertson Society. The College of Dentistry was thrilled to have her back as an adjunct faculty member, teaching within the Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency program; and now as a clinical assistant professor teaching practice management courses.

2019 Young Dental Alumnus of the Year
Daryn L. Lu, D.D.S.

Dr. Daryn Lu began his dental career after earning his doctorate of dental surgery from the OU College of Dentistry in 2015.

Following graduation, Dr. Lu spent two and a half years with a DSO in Shawnee before joining a downtown Oklahoma City private practice as an associate, where he continues to practice today.

In 2017, Dr. Lu received his fellowship from the American College of Dentists and in 2018 he was selected to join the Crown Council Young Dentists Program. In addition, he was nominated for the American Dental Association’s 10 Under 10 award in 2017 and 2018.

Dr. Lu has a passion for serving and giving back, as he volunteers his time locally with Good Shepheard Ministries and the Oklahoma Asia Health Coalition, along with overseas through the Christian Dental Society.

He currently serves on the OU College of Dentistry J. Dean Robertson Board of Trustees and the Oklahoma Dental Foundation board of trustees. He also serves the Oklahoma County Dental Society as the program chairman and the Oklahoma Dental Association as the 2020 Annual Meeting Chair. He is the current Vice President of the Oklahoma Academy of General Dentistry chapter and travels to dental schools to speak on behalf of the American Dental Association Success Speaker corps.

Dr. Lu is also actively involved with Leadership Oklahoma City through their LOYAL program and he helped start the Oklahoma City chapter of the National Association of Asian American Professionals.

2019 Dental Alumnus of the Year
Juan R. Lopez, D.D.S.

A native of Oklahoma City, Dr. Juan Lopez graduated from St. Mary’s High School and later attended the University of Central Oklahoma, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry. He went on to earn his doctor of dental surgery degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry in 1991.

In 1992, he established a private practice in Lawton, Oklahoma, where he has practiced as a general dentist for the past 27 years.

Dr. Lopez is a fellow of the American College of Dentists and the Pierre Fauchard Academy. He is active in many professional dental organizations, including the American Dental Association, the Oklahoma Dental Association, and the Comanche County Dental Society.

He is a past president of both the Oklahoma Dental Association and the Comanche County Dental Society. In addition, he served as an American Dental Association Delegate in 2018.

In 2013, Dr. Lopez was presented with the Oklahoma Dental Association’s Distinguished Presidents Leadership Award for outstanding service and leadership to the association.

He was chair of the 2018 Oklahoma Mission of Mercy, a two-day free dental clinic serving the needy and underprivileged throughout the state of Oklahoma. And, in 2013, he was the co-chair of the Oklahoma Mission of Mercy held in Lawton.

Dr. Lopez is also a loyal supporter of the OU College of Dentistry. He is a member of the J. Dean Robertson Society Board of Trustees, and serves as chairman of the JDR Diversity Scholarship Selection Committee. He also serves as a member of the college’s Admissions Committee.

Active in his community, he is the recipient of the Wayne Gilley Ambassador Award for Community Services presented by the Lawton-Ft. Sill Chamber of Commerce.

2019 Dr. Stephen K. Young Distinguished Service Award
Dunn H. Cumby, D.D.S.

Dr. Cumby graduated from Mt. St. Mary’s High School in 1969. Upon graduation, he had offers to go to both West Point and Georgetown, but he also had a summer scholarship to attend the University of Oklahoma. After that summer, he decided to remain at OU, which turned out to be, as he says, one of the best decisions he ever made.

Dr. Cumby completed his undergraduate degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1972 and began his dental education at the OU College of Dentistry as a member of the very first dental class in 1976.

In 1977, he completed a Master’s Degree in Public Health at OU; and in 1998, he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Kansas Newman College in Wichita.

It was also in 1998 that Dr. Cumby was ordained a Permanent Catholic Deacon for the Oklahoma City Archdioceses. Furthermore, he completed a Masters of Theology from Xavier University of Louisiana in 2007.

Dr. Cumby founded and maintained a private practice of general dentistry in Oklahoma City from 1977 to 2018 and has been a part-time faculty member at the OU College of Dentistry since 1977. 

At the College, he served as Chair of the Department of Community Dentistry from 2006 – 2018. As a clinical professor, his primary teaching responsibilities were in the areas of ethics and practice management. 

During his tenure as chair, the Department of Community Dentistry was selected to pilot a new workforce model, the Community Dental Health Coordinator for the American Dental Association. The ADA awarded a training contract to the College  for $1.4 million for a 5-year period to pilot the rural component of their Community Dental Health Coordinator initiative. Dr. Cumby served as the program coordinator.

Always heavily invested in his community, Dr. Cumby was:

  • Chairman of the Board of City County Health Department of Oklahoma City;
  • Board Member of Saint Meinrad School of Theology in St. Meinrad, Indiana;
  • and is currently the president of the Oklahoma Dental Foundation.

Dr. Cumby belongs to a number of professional organizations including the Oklahoma Dental Association and the National Dental Association.

He has received numerous awards including:

  • Outstanding Man of the Year in North East Oklahoma City for Outstanding Service to the Black Community;
  • the Urban League’s Outstanding African American Man of Medicine Award;
  • Outstanding Classroom Instructor Award from the College’s graduating senior classes of 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2014;  
  • and the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission 22nd Annual Human Rights Award.

Earlier in 2019, when Dr. Cumby visited with Dean Raymond Cohlmia about his plans to retire, he was asked to continue teaching ethics and to help implement a Master’s of Public Health program into the curriculum at the College. Fortunately for the College, Dr. Cumby agreed.