Graduate Profile: Dr. Dale Nester
Dale A. Nester knew he wanted to be a dentist and thought attending the University of Michigan would be the best way to ensure his acceptance into dentistry school.
An unplanned visit to Alma College during a summer program changed his mind.
“I was blown away by our reception and the tour of the college,” the 1975 graduate says. “The friendliness and the genuine interest in our group was unmistakable. I was the first in my family to attend college, so I had no one to show me the ropes. I trusted my instincts, and I could not have made a better choice for my undergraduate pre-professional training.”
Dr. Dale Nester in a 2005 trip to Honduras.
After graduating from Alma, Nester finished his dentistry degree at the University of Detroit-Mercy in 1979, and started his general dentistry practice in Ithaca from scratch.
The biology major has been practicing for 28 years and was a member of the Michigan Dental Association Board of Trustees from 2001-2007. In addition, he has overseen the start-up of a dental clinic in the mountain town of La Esperanza, Honduras, since 2002 with the help of many other volunteers.
“I was well prepared for my education at the University of Detroit-Mercy dental school as well as my professional career in dentistry by attending Alma College,” he says. “Alma prepares you well for your major interest but also prepares you for life in your community. You will develop leadership skills that will benefit many others, as well as you and your family.”
Nester was continually impressed by the opportunity to know not just his individual faculty advisor but all the members of the biology department on a professional and personal level.
“They were able to see in me more than I could see in myself,” he says. “As a result, I achieved things that I would not have tried if left on my own.”
“I had a good friend from high school who went to U of M and was awestruck when he attended my bachelor party and four of my biology professors attended the party,” he says. “Imagine the confidence I gained when many from the department came to see me as their dentist!”
While at Alma, Nester met and married is wife of 32 years, Marion Broadwell Nester. In addition, he was a member of Theta Chi Fraternity, Beta Beta Beta (the biology honor society) and played intramural sports. He and his wife have three children, the oldest graduating from Alma in 2004.