It’s not every day that a guy plays college football, earns a degree in zoology, then goes on to become an accomplished triple board-certified cosmetic and maxillofacial surgeon. But that’s been the life path of School of Dental Medicine Alumnus of the Year Dr. Dayne Jensen. Born and raised in Utah, Jensen attended Weber State University in Ogden, where he simultaneously pursued that zoology degree while playing outside linebacker on the Wildcats football team.
After graduating Weber State as a scholar athlete, Jensen enrolled at UNLV’s School of Dental Medicine to begin working toward his graduate degree. Not long after he arrived on campus, the honors began rolling in: Jensen won the Student Excellence Award, the Top Clinical Production Award, and the prestigious William S. Kramer Award, which recognizes junior dental students who demonstrate scholarship, character, and the potential promise for advancement of dentistry and service.
More honors would come at the end of his UNLV journey, as Jensen was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Award while graduating summa cum laude. But prior to that, he served as the university’s student-body president, was vice president of the Oral Surgery Literature Review Club, and held multiple leadership roles for the campus chapter of the American Dental Education Association, including serving as president from 2007 to 2009.
Upon earning his doctorate, Jensen headed to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, which is home to one of the world’s leading residencies in facial surgery. During his five-year residency, Jensen received his medical degree and was awarded the Resident Physician Award by the University of Nebraska Health System. In his final year he became the chief resident of the oral and maxillofacial surgery division. Following his residency, he continued his training as a fellow in full-body cosmetic surgery in Oklahoma City, eventually opening his own practice. Now back in his home state of Utah, Dayne operates Jensen Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery.
Throughout his career journeys, Jensen has remained connected to UNLV, including serving a two-year term on the School of Dental Medicine’s Alumni Board from 2014 to 2016. He also has been committed to philanthropic work, including currently serving as the surgical director for Ghana Make a Difference, an organization with which Jensen’s wife, Brooke, and their children Molly, Mack, and Mykel are actively involved.
Who is the one person who had the most profound effect on you during your time at UNLV?
Oh, there was more than just one. In fact, I distinctly remember being completely overwhelmed during my first week in class. I was certain after that first week that I’d never make it to the finish line. That’s when I went and spoke with my advisor, Dr. Marshall Brownstein, who sat me down and reassured me that if I dedicated myself to the process, the university wouldn’t leave me behind and that there were others like him who would make sure that I made it through. And he was right. I dedicated myself to working hard, and several faculty members walked side by side with me the entire way. Without their dedication and support, I never would’ve accomplished my goals and definitely wouldn’t be where I am today.