A Conversation with Burnett Society Member Dr. Dwayne Zobell

Dwayne Zobell and Donna Taute-Zobell
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Burnett Society member Dwayne Zobell, D.D.S., was born in Montana and graduated from the University of Nebraska Medical Center after attending predental school at Brigham Young University and spending time as a missionary in Argentina.

As a student at UNMC, Dwayne cared for Cuban refugees brought to Lincoln. His experience sparked a lifelong passion for providing free dental care to impoverished communities around the world, which resulted in 28 trips to countries including Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, China and the Philippines.

After graduating from UNMC with his doctoral degree, Dwayne practiced dentistry in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and married classmate Donna Taute-Zobell, D.D.S., in 2003. Together, accompanied by their combined family of five children, Dwayne and Donna have continued to travel the world on medical missions.

The Zobells are supporting the UNMC College of Dentistry and Lied Transplant Center through their estate plans.

The following Q&A was conducted with Dwayne.

What was the first job you ever had?
The first one I can remember is picking green beans in our family garden in Lewistown, Montana. My mother gave me a brown paper grocery bag and paid me a nickel.

What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Life is like a workshop of hard knocks; you mold according to what you are made of. Keep lots of grit, and you will mold true to form.

Who is someone from history you would want to invite to a dinner party if you could, and why?
Johann Sebastian Bach, perhaps the greatest of all composers.

What is the first question you would ask that guest from history?
How difficult was it to be creative and still fulfill your weekly assignment to compose something new and innovative, especially when you lost your eyesight?

What is the one song you would be sure to play to set the mood at the dinner party?
I think he would enjoy “Fanfare for the Common Man” by Aaron Copland.

What is the question that you like to be asked the most?
Who has influenced your life for the good, and what have you done to help others lately?

Why do you plan to leave a gift to the University of Nebraska in your estate?
I owe so much to the University of Nebraska, not only for my professional education that has given me and my family the means to volunteer and bless countless lives in many countries, but also for literally saving my life when I was a patient at UNMC for coronary bypass surgery after an unexpected stroke, for referring me to a heart transplant center when I had a most difficult diagnosis, and now for providing the post-transplant care to allow for continued life.

About the Burnett Society
The Burnett Society recognizes those who support the university through a planned gift, usually from their will or trust. The group takes its name from Edgar A. Burnett, a chancellor at the university of Nebraska during the Great Depression, who recognized the university would not succeed on state funding alone. Burnett called on 30 business and civic leaders, and together they created the University of Nebraska Foundation to raise private funds for the university. The foundation received its first bequest in 1937 from a former faculty member; the second came in 1938 from an alumnus and 40-year employee of the library. More information.

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