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Friday, March 25, 2016

U.S. AIR FORCE VETERAN, ALUMNUS TO SPEAK AT PITT-BRADFORD COMMENCEMENT

Maj. James M. Piper II
BRADFORD, Pa. -- U.S. Air Force veteran and dentist Maj. James M. Piper II will be the keynote speaker at the 2016 Commencement ceremony May 1 at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

“We’re thrilled that Pitt-Bradford alumnus Dr. Jim Piper will return to his alma mater to inspire our graduates to follow their dreams and achieve success in their chosen fields,” said Dr. Livingston Alexander, president of Pitt-Bradford. “We’re very proud of Dr. Piper’s outstanding record of achievement and equally proud of his dedicated service to the wounded veterans from the Iraq war who sacrificed so much for our country.”

Before leaving the Air Force last year, Piper was the assistant director of maxillofacial prosthetics at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, where he rebuilt eyes, ears and noses for wounded warriors, military retirees and dependents with conditions such as oral cancer.

To restore patients’ ability to eat, speak and drink normally, specialists like Piper take impressions of a patient, then hand shape prosthetics. “You have to think outside the box,” Piper said in a recruitment video while showing off his artistic abilities to fashion realistic irises and teeth. “You can’t just go by a textbook.”

A 2001 graduate of Pitt-Bradford and the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, Piper joined the U.S. Air Force Dental Corps in 2004. Assigned to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, he completed a residency in prosthodontics, a branch of dentistry dedicated to restoring and replacing teeth.

As a prosthodontic resident, Piper earned first place in the inaugural American Prosthodontic Society research competition.

After graduating from his residency in 2007 and passing requirements for board certification in prosthodontics, he joined the dental teaching staff at Offutt Air Base in Omaha, Neb., where he mentored recent dental graduates and trained them to perform advanced dental techniques. In 2009, he was named the Air Force’s Dental Educator of the Year.

In 2011, he returned to San Antonio on a fellowship to study maxillofacial prosthetics. He remained on the staff of the Air Force’s only prosthodontic residency program, where he published multiple scholarly articles on dental and facial reconstruction before resigning his commission last year to join Piedmont Dental Associates in Ferguson, N.C.

While at Pitt-Bradford, Piper played shortstop on the first baseball team coached by head baseball coach and athletic director Bret Butler. “He’s a dental surgeon and then some,” Butler said. “I’m just a very proud former coach to watch him play here and then excel as a dentist and give back to our soldiers.”

Piper and his wife, Shannon, have four children.

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