Distinguished Alumni Award - 2017

Dr. Adina Ness

Each year, we recognize a truly outstanding Wisconsin Technical College graduates. It is very satisfying to read the nominations describing the great work and lives of our successful graduates. From the nominations, we select one extraordinary person based on five criteria.

Those criteria are:

  • The role that a technical college education played in the nominee's career and personal life;
  • the nominee's accomplishments in his/her professional field;
  • the nominee's community involvement;
  • his or her support for the technical college system; and, finally,
  • the nominee's commitment to continuing education and life-long learning.

This Year's Winner - Dr. Adina Ness, Madison College

This year’s Distinguished Alumni Award winner is Dr. Adina Ness nominated by Madison College.

Dr. Adina Ness was born and raised in Romania. Her father was the head of an orphanage when she was a child and Adina spent many hours at the orphanage helping to care for the children. Through this experience, she developed her enormous heart and a desire to help the poorest people the world.

She recognized the tremendous need that existed in the world for medical and dental care and this influenced her decision to become a dentist. She completed her dental education in Romania and worked in her country as a dentist for two years, completing an Oral Surgery Fellowship. Coming to the U.S. with a young family, Dr. Ness found that as a foreign trained dentist she would need additional training to practice dentistry, an expensive undertaking which she could not afford. At that point, Dr. Ness discovered the value of the Wisconsin Technical College System, and decided to put the practice of dentistry on hold and pursue a degree in the Dental Hygiene Program at Madison Area Technical College, which she obtained with high honors. While working full time as a dental hygienist, Dr. Ness pursued her passion for teaching by obtaining a Master’s Degree in Career and Technical Education at the University of Wisconsin, which allowed her to also teach at the Technical College level. When the opportunity presented, she attended the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. She is now fully qualified and licensed as a dentist in Wisconsin.

Dr. Ness’ career path has taken her in many directions, but always with an emphasis on working for the greater good. She has worked as a dental hygienist, as an instructor at two of the WTCS schools, Madison College and Blackhawk Technical College, as a safety net clinic dentist, and in a private dental office. Currently, she works during the day as one of the supervising dentists in the Madison College Dental Hygiene Clinic and works evenings in an Oregon dental office. She also works for the Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin as the Oral Health Workforce Educator for the Wisconsin Southern Region, overseeing 16 counties. She co-teaches dental hygiene continuing education courses at Madison College in local anesthesia and nitrous oxide sedation.

Dr. Ness serves on the Board of Directors of the Fowler Dental Clinic, a volunteer supported free dental clinic in Monroe, WI. She also serves on the Wisconsin Oral Health Coalition and the Oral Health Coalition of Madison and Dane County. The Oral Health Coalition of Madison and Dane County is a volunteer committee with the focus on improving the oral health of Madison and Dane County by providing education and resources to schools, community members and lawmakers. She is part of a subcommittee that helps train hospital Emergency Department physicians to administer local anesthetic to patients who present with non-traumatic dental pain and need pain relief. Dr. Ness is a member of the Dental Advisory Board for Dental Assistant Program at Blackhawk Technical College.

Former Award Winners

Distinguished Alumni Award
Year Member College
1998 Mark Senti Chippewa Valley
1999 Earl Mihlbauer Gateway
2000 Marilyn Grainger Waukesha County
2001 Vernon Jung, Jr. Moraine Park
2002 Todd LoCascio Northeast WI
2003 Don Jobe Western
2004 Robin Roberts Madison College
2005 Allan Kehl Gateway
2006 Donna Voigt Waukesha County
2007 Brent Kindred Northeast WI
2007 Mary Krueger Northcentral
2008 David Funkhouser Waukesha County
2009 Mark Schmitz Madison College
2010 Barbara Brown Moraine Park
2011 Guy Bradshaw Gateway
2012 Scott Glinski Mid-State
2013 Jeff Urlaub Chippewa Valley
2014 Scott Groholski Mid-State
2015 Lee Lo Northcentral
2016 Jeff & Brian Wieser Western
2017 Dr. Adina Ness Madison College