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March 14, 2013
CONTACT: K. E. Schwab

SRU graduate earn UT College of Dentistry alumni award

MEMPHIS, Tenn. –Rebecca Barton, a retired dentist and a 1967 Slippery Rock University health and physical education graduate, has been named the 2013 Outstanding Alumni Award winner by the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry in recognition of her distinguished dental career.

The award was presented at the College of Dentistry Alumni Awards luncheon earlier this month.

Barton, a latecomer to the profession, earned her dentistry degree at UT in1984. She had applied to the school at age 35, and then elected to practice in Germantown, Tenn., following graduation. She retired in 2011, but continues her work as a volunteer as well as in church activities and travel.

Barton said as a young woman, she thought about attending pharmacy school, but the five-year degree program was daunting “because I was in love.” She followed her heart, marrying John Vernon Barton, an Edinboro University graduate. While he trained as a U.S. Air Force pilot, she pursued a master's degree in educational psychology at Edinboro State and raised their two children. She taught high school psychology, sociology, economics and geography, and then made the decision to become a dentist.

"How funny it is to think that I was the same young woman who didn't want to spend five years in school to begin with. In the end, I was in the academic world for a very long time in pursuit of my final goal," Barton said. "A roundabout journey, for sure, but I wouldn't change it if I had to do it all over again. My proudest accomplishment is my family."

As the flagship statewide academic health system, the mission of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center is to bring the benefits of the health sciences to the achievement and maintenance of human health, with a focus on the citizens of Tennessee and the region, by pursuing an integrated program of education, research, clinical care, and public service. Offering a broad range of postgraduate and selected baccalaureate training opportunities, the main UTHSC campus is located in Memphis and includes six colleges

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.