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Rebecca A. Barton Named 2013 Outstanding Alumni Award Winner by the College of Dentistry at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Memphis, Tenn. (March 7, 2013) - With a successful 45-year marriage and a thriving family, Rebecca A. Barton, DDS, has much to celebrate. On Friday, March 8, many of Dr. Barton's family members and fellow alumni from the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry will gather to recognize her distinguished dental career. Dr. Barton was recently named the 2013 Outstanding Alumni Award Winner by the UT College of Dentistry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). Her award will be presented on Friday, March 8, during the College of Dentistry Alumni Awards luncheon, which begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Hilton Memphis, 939 Ridge Lake Blvd.
The 1970s pop hit "Love Will Keep Us Together" could be Dr. Barton's personal theme song, but love almost kept her from pursuing a career outside of her chosen, first-best destiny as a wife and mother. As a young woman, she thought about attending pharmacy school but the five-year degree program was daunting "because I was in love" she says with a chuckle. Becky followed her heart, marrying John Vernon Barton after she graduated in three and half years with a bachelor's degree in health and physical education from Slippery Rock State University. Her husband went on to pilot training with the Air Force and, while he was in Southeast Asia, Becky pursued a master's degree in educational psychology from Edinboro State University. Along the way, she raised two children and taught high school psychology, sociology, economics, and geography. Then, she made the decision to become a dentist.
"John's father was a dentist, so he thought he would become a dentist following his Air Force career," says Dr. Barton. "But I began to consider it because I always had an interest in science and I liked working with my hands."
At age 35, much to her parent's dismay, she submitted her application to the UT College of Dentistry after taking a year of prerequisites. In 1984, the same year she graduated with her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree, Dr. Barton opened her private practice in Germantown, Tenn. She retired in 2011, but continues to keep a busy schedule filled with volunteering, church activities and traveling.
"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," says Dr. Barton. "A roundabout journey, for sure, but I wouldn't change it if I had to do it all over again."
The College of Dentistry award winner states with certainty, "My proudest accomplishment is my family." With nearly five decades of marital life to their credit, she and her husband have two children, John V. Barton II, a law graduate from Washington and Lee University, who is the vice president of an Atlanta real estate investment firm, and Susan H. Barton, a gastroenterologist, who is a UT College of Medicine graduate. They also have two grandchildren.
"A good day is hearing from my grandchildren," she says. "A bad day is not getting anything accomplished." Dr. Barton lives her life inspired by the words of Mother Teresa: "The fruit of silence is prayer. The fruit of prayer is faith. The fruit of faith is love. The fruit of love is service. The fruit of service is peace.
"One thing that life has taught me is that everyone is carrying a burden of some kind," Dr. Barton says. "Always treat everyone with kindness and compassion."
As the flagship statewide academic health system, the mission of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) 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: Allied Health Sciences, Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. UTHSC also educates and trains cohorts of medicine, pharmacy and/or allied health students -- in addition to medical residents and fellows -- at its major sites in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville. Founded in 1911, during its more than 100 years, UT Health Science Center has educated and trained more than 53,000 health care professionals in academic settings and health care facilities across the state. For more information, visit www.uthsc.edu.
This study quantifies the economic impact of the UTHSC on the economy of the state of Tennessee for FY2010.
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