Dear NSU Community,
It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Dr. Seymour Oliet, founding Dean, Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine. Dr. Oliet began his involvement with Nova Southeastern University in 1994, when he was cajoled out of retirement by Dr. Arnold Melnick to chair a committee to discuss the feasibility of starting a new dental school at Nova Southeastern University.
Dr. Oliet immediately went to work setting up committees, identifying benchmarks, and learning much about the dental capacity and oral health needs in South Florida. Dr. Oliet so impressed everyone with his spirit, dedication, unbridled energy, and knowledge that in March 1996 when the Nova Southeastern University Board of Trustees voted to approve a College of Dental Medicine, Dr. Oliet was appointed as Dean.
Opening the first new dental school in the US in 25 years offered many special challenges. While many told him a new dental school was not possible, he pursued his vision relentlessly. He had friends and colleagues throughout the world and he called on them regularly to assist him in this achieving this goal. Dr. Oliet’s vision was to make the Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine the best it could be and provide the students with a collegial environment in which to learn to become a dentist. Along the way, Dr. Oliet made everyone his friend and was able to hire a community of scholars to serve as faculty and a caring staff from all over the world. He always had a smile on his face, a twinkle in his eye, and a great desire to make Nova Southeastern University the best dental school possible.
In the past few days, many faculty shared remembrances with me about Dr. Oliet-from his unconventional recruitment strategies for faculty such as “you need to be a better son so you should move to Florida to be closer to your Mother”, to “what do you mean, you are retiring? You still have much work to do for the dental profession.” All agreed that Dr. Oliet was a man to whom it was difficult to say no and you were always happy to help him!
While we remember Dr. Oliet for his contributions to Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine, Dr. Oliet was a leader in the field of endodontics prior to joining Nova Southeastern University. He served on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, where he published articles, mentored many endodontic residents, and cared for many patients in his three very successful endodontic practices in the Philadelphia area.
Once you spent time with Dr. Oliet, you had a lifelong friend who could never do enough for you. You became part of his extended family and more than anything, Dr. Oliet loved his family.
Dr. Oliet is survived by his wife of over 60 years, Mrs. Sherry Oliet, two children, a son and a daughter, 7 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. His funeral and burial will take place in New Jersey. You can send condolences to Mrs. Sherry Oliet c/o Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine Department of Endodontics 3200 S University Dr Ft. Lauderdale Fl 33328. I know she will appreciate hearing from you.
Mrs. Oliet has approved the establishment of a scholarship fund to honor Dr. Oliet. Donations can be made to the Dr. Seymour Oliet Scholarship Fund at the Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine.
Please keep the Oliet family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
Linda C. Niessen, DMD, MPH
Dean & Professor
Nova Southeastern University
College of Dental Medicine
3200 S University Dr.
Davie, Fl 33328