Every Day Is a Gift

Photo of Linda C. Niessen, D.M.D., M.P.H. Linda C. Niessen, D.M.D., M.P.H., was recruited to Nova Southeastern University (NSU) as dean of the College of Dental Medicine in October 2013. At the time, she was working as the chief clinical officer for a dental manufacturing company in York, Pennsylvania.

Prior to that position, she had served as professor at Baylor College of Dentistry (now the Texas A&M University College of Dentistry) and as a hospital dentist.

Upon her arrival at NSU, Linda immediately began to get involved in the dental student life on campus by attending student government meetings and listening to their needs and concerns. She wanted to help the students she served achieve the goals that brought them to NSU.

When she was growing up in Pennsylvania, Linda’s father worked for the Social Security Administration in Philadelphia at the time when Medicare and Medicaid were new programs. Neighbors, friends, and family members would come over in the evenings to ask her father for retirement advice on when to take social security and how Medicare worked. Watching her father provide that assistance inspired Linda to find her own way to help others.

Linda recently established the Niessen-Lonergan Family Endowed Scholarship Fund for students with academic merit and financial need in the College of Dental Medicine. With this legacy gift, Linda and her husband John J. Lonergan, M.D., became members of NSU's 1964 Society. Named for the university’s founding year, the 1964 Society connects legacy gift donors and their families with the university to establish a meaningful and lasting relationship.

“When you are the dean of a college, you’re in the career development business. Developing leaders for the future. It’s our job to leave not only professional tools for our students but financial ones as well,” Linda said. “Every day I’m helping students realize their potential. And that makes each day a gift.”

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