Dr. Carole Hanes

Right Place, Right Time

Retiring administrator reflects on achievement-packed career

Dr. Carole Hanes distinctly remembers a colleague pulling her aside when she was named Associate Dean for Admissions, Students and Alumni at the Dental College of Georgia in 2000.

“Dr. Wally Edwards, who was retiring from the position, told me I was inheriting the best job in the dental school,” says Hanes. “And he was right.”

Leave it to Hanes to step so masterfully into his shoes that her role kept growing to reflect her immense talent and skills. “My job has just sort of morphed,” she says with the warm smile and unflagging modesty that have characterized every day of her service since she joined the DCG faculty in 1986. As she reflected on her career in anticipation of her retirement this summer, it was hard to know where to begin to synopsize her DCG tenure. Her title alone — associate dean for  students, admission and alumni — speaks volumes, yet doesn’t really hint at the scope of her responsibilities. From interviewing potential students to ushering enrollees through their dental education to maintaining strong connections with them as they embark on their careers, her influence on the lives of hundreds of current and former DCG students is simply incalculable.

Says Dean Carol A. Lefebvre, “Carole is known for her personal touch. She calls each one of our nearly 100 incoming dental students each year to let them know they’ve been accepted to dental school. She is also the last voice they hear at the DCG when she calls their names at the hooding and commencement ceremonies. In between, she is alongside them every step of the way serving as an educator, clinician, advisor, confidant, mentor, surrogate parent and cheerleader.”

And although Hanes was happy to spare a few moments recently reminiscing about her career, her focus was, as always, on the many responsibilities consuming the last few weeks of her tenure. For instance, the Health Resources and Services Administration grant she oversees, which exposes students to underserved sites of the state and incentivizes their service to those areas upon graduation, will expire in August, so she and her colleagues were diligently pursuing a renewal.

Says Lefebvre, “As an advocate for the underserved in Georgia, Carole has worked tirelessly to secure over $4.8 million in HRSA and Robert Wood Johnson grants to support our extramural program. The program has grown from the initial six sites to over 25 where our senior dental students rotate for eight weeks, providing much-needed dental care to the underserved.”

Preparation for several major events were also on the front burner, including a 50th-anniversary DCG celebration and an upcoming accreditation visit. And of course, her normal responsibilities — overseeing student and alumni functions, providing pediatric dentistry, completing countless administrative duties, etc. — continued unabated.

The transition from this routine, which often requires 12-hour work days, to retirement will no doubt be daunting. Says her husband, Dr. Philip Hanes, “I think she’ll enjoy the change of pace, but it’ll be a challenge to figure out how to fill those hours.”

But he adds that the R&R is long overdue, and richly deserved.

He and his wife had recently completed residences at the University of Rochester — he in periodontics and she in pediatric dentistry — when they joined the University of Mississippi dental faculty in the early ’80s. But it wasn’t long before the DCG worked its magic on them, as it had so many other Rochester alumni. They headed to Augusta in 1986 and never looked back.

As they raised their daughter, Sarah, they both began moving from faculty to administrative positions. Philip Hanes served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Advanced Education before retiring two years ago, and his wife moved into student affairs — a perfect fit considering her nurturing personality.

“I’m like a poster child for faculty development,” says Hanes, who worked as a dental hygienist before earning her dental degree at the University of Louisville. “I came to the DCG as an assistant professor and had the most amazing mentors who helped advance my career. I was surrounded by people who very much wanted me to succeed. I always tell people who come for an interview that I couldn’t have asked for a better place to blossom and grow.”

But even as her administrative duties multiplied, Hanes never walked away from her first love: treating pediatric patients. “I’ve always enjoyed children,” she says. “I found myself gravitating toward them. Kids won’t let you take yourself too seriously.”

She also found that retaining her clinical practice once a week made her a better mentor to her students. “Treating patients helps me connect with students on a very different level than I could as solely an administrator,” Hanes says. “I know exactly what they’re going through. It’s such a thrill to see them move from their first encounter with a pedo patient — they’re as scared as the child!— then watching them blossom and actually enjoy their patients.”

“Carole is passionate about her pediatric patients,” Lefebvre says, “and she is equally passionate about the underserved and our students.”

Indeed, as much as Hanes relishes her patients, as well as her colleagues — she waxes poetic, and in great detail, about each administrative assistant who has served her — her highest priority is the students. “Students are first and foremost,” she says. “Nothing gives me more pleasure than catching up with them after graduation and hearing them tell me how happy and content they are with the choices they’ve made.”

A particular point of pride, she says, is ushering students through particularly stressful parts of their education. “It means so much to me to help them through the tough times,” she says. “Dental school is hard, and I want our students to know they always have our support. I can also offer them perspective. It sounds cliched, but I really try to emphasize not sweating the small stuff. I’ve been around long enough to know that things that look like major issues or catastrophes in the moment can generally be resolved and that everything will turn out fine.”

Students have often commented about what a calming effect this mindset has on them. Says her husband, “She enjoys people so much and is really good at making them feel good about themselves.”

Hanes isn’t sure exactly how her retirement will unfold, but then again, she was never sure how her career would unfold either — and, per her life philosophy, everything turned out just fine. “I never had a grand plan,” she acknowledges. “My mother, an educator, was fiercely, fiercely independent, so she was a big influence on me, but I was never on a clear path. One of the main reasons I went to dental school was because I got tired of waiting on dentists to check on my patients when I was a hygienist. I thought, ‘I can do that myself.’ Then, once my career was underway, I found myself in spots where I could take advantage of opportunities. A lot of it was being at the right place at the right time.”

‘The right place’ included the pleasure of sharing a workplace with her husband, but ironically, their paths didn’t often cross on the job.

“We really never saw each other much at work,” Hanes says, noting that each was busy with a bustling workload. “It just worked out that way. So one thing I’m really looking forward to is spending more time with my family.”

She anticipates lots of travel and outdoor activities, but she’s open to surprises as well. Says Hanes, “It will be fun to find things to do just because I want to do them.”

Hanes Scholarship

To honor Dr. Carole Hanes for over three decades of educating and supporting our Dental College of Georgia students, her friends and colleagues are establishing an endowed scholarship in her name.

During her years as a faculty member and as associate dean, Hanes has touched the lives of more than half of all the students who have attended the school. Her patience, understanding and unbounded care and concern for the education and welfare of these students is universally recognized.

If you would like to support the Hanes Scholarship with a donation, you can contribute online, or by check made payable to the Georgia Health Sciences Foundation, Inc., Augusta University, 1120 15th Street, FI-1000, Augusta, GA 30912. You also can make a gift online at augusta.edu/giving/hanes.

For additional information, contact Directors of Development Rhonda Banks or Dale Crail at 706-833-8038 or 706-840-0868.

50th Anniversary Gala

As The Dental College of Georgia gears up for its 50th Anniversary Gala next year, who better to chair the initiative than one of its longest-serving administrators?

Dr. Carole Hanes is busy overseeing the details, one of the last and happiest tasks of her tenure as associate dean.

The celebration, open to students, faculty, staff and alumni, will be held Friday, April 26, 2019, with details to come. Highlights will include greetings from the first graduating class (1973), recognition of past Jag 20 recipients, medallion presentations to past Distinguished Alumni and recognition of DCG Emeritus faculty.

The gala will be the crown jewel of the celebration, but activities will take place throughout the year, beginning with the White Coat Ceremony this August. Next will be a celebration gala Alumni Weekend in April, culminating with the Hooding Ceremony of the 50th DCG class in May.

We are soliciting photos, anecdotes and memorabilia from the last 50 years. You can bring mementos by the communications coordinator’s office (GC 5204), email your stories and photos to Debbie Lewis at deblewis1@augusta.edu or message us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AUGDCG/

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