Thursday, January 19, 2023

Steven "Steve" Vercande, a longtime staff member in the Department of Prosthodontics, passed away unexpectedly after a brief illness on January 18, 2023. Information about arrangements are included below.

For over 20 years, Vercande provided excellent instruction, service, and dedication to the College of Dentistry and its students. Known for the exceptional quality of his work, and third-year dental students have long recognized his enormous contributions to their growth and development as dentists.

He grew up in the Iowa City area, and his parents, Robert and Mary Ann, both worked for the University of Iowa—his father for 32 years and his mother for 33 years. His mother worked as a nurse in The University of Iowa College of Dentistry Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and so Steve was well acquainted with the college before working here. In fact, for several years after he started working in the College of Dentistry, Steve was often referred to as “Mary Ann’s son.”

In 1998, Vercande graduated from the Kirkwood Community College Dental Technology program, and for four years after graduation, he worked for Peter Kambhu (’86 MS, ’89 DDS) in Coralville. He was hired by the College of Dentistry and the Department of Prosthodontics in 2002.

Since 2002, Vercande has made a difference in the lives of countless third-year dental students while they are going through their 20-week Superblock. His students and his peers have long recognized his gifts as a teacher. With patient explanations of difficult cases and with simple and interesting descriptions of lab procedures, he helps students navigate one of their most challenging rotations.

“Sometimes students need a little extra guidance when a patient’s anatomy doesn’t quite conform to what they’ve seen in preclinical work on dentoforms,” Vercande once said in a prior interview. “It’s nice to be able to show how students can make their lives easier and reduce their stress levels,” he added.

While Vercande has had this role for over 20 years, the demands have changed over the years. As new technologies have required an expanded focus in preclinical courses, students are exposed to less lab work during this time. As a result, students need more one-one-one instruction and step-by-step demonstrations of the often complicated lab processes in prosthodontics. Given his gifts and skillset, he’s been well suited to this shift, and students greatly value his contributions. Since 2011, he consistently received the annual 3rd Year Staff Appreciation Award from our dental students.

Speaking of these awards, he once said, “I really enjoy learning about students’ backgrounds and helping them figure out why something hasn’t been working and showing them how to do things differently. It’s wonderful to see how our students overcome stress and frustration so that they are able to confidently perform their work by the end of the Superblock.”

In addition to the 3rd Year Staff Appreciation Award that he has received since 2011, Vercande was also selected as a Collegiate Ambassador in 2011 and was made an honorary member of the College of Dentistry’s Omicron Kappa Upsilon chapter in 2014. In 2019, he also was recognized by University of Iowa Dental Alumni Association with an Honorary Recognition.

Speaking of Steve, Clark Stanford, dean of the University of Iowa College of Dentistry said, "Steve was a wonderful mentor, friend, and colleague to so many members of our College Community, especially multiple generations and current students in our D3 Prosthodontic Clerkship and related Prosthodontic aspects of our curriculum.  A true inspiration."

Steve Vercande leaves a deep and abiding legacy at the college and the entire dental profession in Iowa. He will be missed.

The visitation for Steve will be on Monday, January 23, from 4:00 p.m. –7:00 p.m. at the Lensing Funeral home.

The funeral for Steve will be on Tuesday, January 24, starting at 10:30 a.m., followed by lunch.  This will be at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church.

A scholarship in Steve's honor is being established to recognize a third-year student demonstrating creative and inspiring care of their patients.