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The College of Diplomates is an organization of over 1,900 active and retired members. Membership is open to orthodontists who are Diplomates of the American Board of Orthodontics. Its purpose is to encourage orthodontists to search for continuing professional excellence, encourage their orthodontic colleagues to pursue certification and to educate the public and dental community on the merits of board certification.

It all began in 1979, when Dr. Raymond Thurow was president of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). That year, the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO), the only orthodontic specialty board approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) and sponsored by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), was celebrating the Golden Anniversary of the ABO.

The College of Diplomatesí founding committee consisted of:
  • Raymond Thurow, Chair
  • Hubert Bell
  • B.F. Dewel
  • Joseph DiStasio
  • John Rathbone
  • William F. Stutts
  • William Thompson
The idea of establishing an ongoing organization of Diplomates evolved through discussions in the committee and between colleagues. It was the general consensus to present the idea to the Diplomates attending the Golden Anniversary meeting. It was appropriate that the first meeting of the new organization should be held in July 1979 in Estes Park, Colorado, as the ABO was founded in 1929 in the same city. However, at that time, the Stanley Hotel, where ABO was founded, was being redecorated and so the Broker Inn in Boulder, Colorado, housed the first meeting of The College of Diplomates.

The 145 Diplomates attending the Golden Anniversary meeting found it to be a scientific success, presenting in-depth updates in several fields in an atmosphere free of distractions of commercial exhibits and other interest groups. The only departure from the purely scientific program was a short business session, presenting the concept of forming a permanent organization. The idea was overwhelmingly approved, and the groundwork was laid to hold an organizational meeting the following July with similar scientific programming, adoption of bylaws, and election of officers.

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