Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award
Innovative leader in the practice and technology of orthodontic dentistry
Internationally renowned inventor and practitioner in orthodontic treatment, Dr. Dwight Damon is the 2009 recipient of the Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award, the highest honor Washington State University confers upon its alumni.
“Dwight Damon exemplifies the spirit of innovation and discovery that we always hope to develop in our students,” said WSU President Elson S. Floyd. “He is a leader in his field, a great friend of our University, and a most worthy recipient of this important award.”
Dr. Damon is especially recognized in the field of orthodontic dentistry for his development of the “Damon Bracket,” a passive self-ligating dental brace system that allows low-friction, low-force treatment in aligning teeth more comfortably and in less time than by previous procedures. His innovative device “has literally transformed” the way orthodontists practice and the results they can achieve, said Dr. Thomas R. Pitts, associate clinical professor at the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry. “By utilizing his new technology, orthodontists all over the world are now able to deliver magnificently better aesthetic results without compromising soft and hard tissue.”
A 1962 graduate of WSU, Dr. Damon has maintained an active orthodontics practice in his native Spokane for more than 30 years. He attended the University on an athletic scholarship and served as a three-year starter on the Cougar varsity basketball team and played varsity baseball, before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in zoology. He earned numerous honors while attending WSU, including election to the Crimson Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa. He subsequently graduated from the University of Washington Dental School, where he also received his orthodontic training.
A frequent lecturer at courses and forums on orthodontic dentistry treatments and techniques, both in the United States and abroad, Dr. Damon has received numerous professional honors, including election as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
“I come from a humble background,” he said. The athletic scholarship that allowed him to attend WSU also required him to work on campus. His job sweeping floors in Bohler Gymnasium often meant his studies were delayed until late in the evenings, but the foundation and experience he received were invaluable, he said. “I am so grateful for my start at WSU.”
Through his public address “Creating Innovation through the Pursuit of Excellence,” for delivery at the RDAA presentation, Dr. Damon hopes to inspire WSU students and community members to achieve their greatest goals and dreams.