Michael W. Finkelstein, 1951-2013: In Memoriam
Michael W. Finkelstein was born in Los Angeles, California. His family relocated to Carthage, Illinois when he was only 6 months old to be near his mother’s family. As an adolescent, he worked in the family business. Following completion of a BS degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois, and a DDS degree from the University of Iowa in 1976, Mike served our country as a captain in the U.S. Army Dental Corps. Mike returned to Iowa and while undergoing specialty training, he met Twila, the love of his life. They were married in 1980. Mike completed a certificate and MS degree in oral and maxillofacial pathology at the University of Iowa in 1982. Mike was a Fellow in the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, and a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology.
Mike was hired by the College of Dentistry where he taught histology, anatomy and oral pathology for 31 years. Additionally, he taught histology for the University of Iowa, College of Medicine, and the University of Minnesota, School of Dentistry. Mike was the consummate role model for the students, colleagues and patients who were touched by his gentle demeanor. He taught without bravado, never sought the limelight and gave credit to others for his accomplishments. Mike always put the needs of his students first and foremost. He was a kind, inspiring spirit for the now tens of thousands of people who were touched by him. Mike had a rare gift for reaching out to every person he met with an always upbeat manner. He had high standards that he carried gracefully. Over the decades, countless people have said they are better people for having known Mike.
In recognition of his teaching and educational research accomplishments, his students presented him with Distinguished Instructor of the Year Awards 34 times, and the College bestowed on Mike the first Centennial Endowed Professor of Teaching & Curriculum. In further recognition of his accomplishments, he received the University of Iowa President and Provost Award for Teaching Excellence, the James H. McLeran Faculty Award, and the President's Award by the Iowa Dental Association.
Michael was a member of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church where he shared his passion for education by serving on the Education Committee, teaching adult Sunday school and youth confirmation classes.
Mike was preceded in passing by his mother and father, Martha Jane and Samuel Marion Finkelstein. He is survived by his loving wife Twila, his daughter, Rachel, and granddaughter, Kylie Hoskins, who reside in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; stepdaughters, Angela Harthoorn Houston, her husband, Doug, and children, Sydney, Jackson, and Evan who reside in Johnston, Iowa; and Amy Harthoorn Bode and family: husband Brian and children Bailey and Kerrigan who reside in Keokuk, Iowa.
Michael’s family want to express a loving thank you to his wonderful working family at the University of Iowa, College of Dentistry for their support during his long tenure, and during his recent illness. A memorial celebration service is being planned for Saturday, January 18, 2014. Details can be found on the Gay&Ciha web site, http://www.gayandciha.com/ where you are encouraged to share your stories.
Dr. Finkelstein taught oral histology to freshman dental students and oral pathology to sophomore and junior students. He was involved with problem-based learning and treatment planning for the first- through the third-year students. He was also graduate program director for Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. His graduate student teaching responsibilities included surgical pathology. He was the collegiate health and safety officer and teaches infection control to students, faculty and staff.
Dr. Finkelstein was an active participant in the Surgical Oral Pathology Laboratory.
His research included measuring the effectiveness of new instructional technology to teach technical problem-solving skills, the development and evaluation of digital image bases, and variables that affect the development of problem-solving skills in problem based learning.
Dr. Finkelstein was a reviewer for Special Care in Dentistry as well as Journal of the American Dental Association. He served on the Test Construction Committee of the National Board of Dental Examiners. Dr. Finkelstein was a site visitor for the Council on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. He was a member of the American Dental Association, the American Dental Education Association, and a fellow of the American Academy of Oral Pathology.