- School of Dentistry Distinguished Alumni Award (2006)
Norman Becker, DDS’46, was a retired practioner and dental editor in Marblehead, MA. When Dr. Becker took over the editorship of the Boston-based publication of the Massachusetts Dental Society a generation ago, it was a tiny pamphlet. During his 24-year tenure as editor, he turned it into a sophisticated journal that won many national awards and today flourishes under the editorship of his son, Dr. David Becker. Becker was a prolific writer, and the author of the history of the American Association of Dental Editors.
When he returned to IU five years ago to accept Dentistry’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, he was still exhibiting a 25-year-old’s enthusiasm for learning about dentistry and life (not to mention patient care: he was in year 60 of his private practice in 2006).Dr. Becker acquired special expertise in the interrelationship of the dentition and musical instrument mouthpieces by studying jazz musician patients as they played their instruments in his office, including friends such as Louis Armstrong. Norman was at home in the world of jazz, and in 2006, he was one of only two non-musicians to be invited
into the International Press Club Jazz Hall of Fame in recognition of his oral health work with jazz artists.
He was prouder of his association with IU than almost anyone, and loved to remind us that when he was a student on the Bloomington campus he lived in the “House of Hoagy,” the fraternity house where Hoagy Carmichael once resided, and tickled the ivories for his frat brothers.