Gold StarThe MDA regularly honors members of the dental profession who have given back to their communities and their profession in ways that are exemplary. Each year the MDA recognizes members for their commitment to the field of dentistry and to the association, based on nominations made by the district dental societies. View this handout for further information, eligibility and entry guideline requirements.

Award Nomination Form

Candidate Nomination Form

Board of Dentistry Nomination Form

2024 MDA Honorees

Sue Miller – Guest of Honor
Robert K. Sprinter, D.D.S. – New Dentist Leadership Award
Nancy Norling, D.D.S. – Humanitarian Service Award
Tim Holland, D.D.S. – Outstanding Service Award
Michael T. Flynn, D.D.S. – President’s Award (2023)

Past Recipients

Sue Miller

2024 MDA Guest of Honor

The Minnesota Dental Association is pleased to honor Northwest Dentistry (NWD) Managing Editor Sue Miller as the 2024 Guest of Honor.

This is only the third time since the Guest of Honor Award was first implemented (in 1933) that a non-dentist has been selected for this honor. In 1943, “Servicemen” were chosen, and in 1995, former MDA Executive Director Mr. Robert Harder was honored. Sue Miller is certainly in excellent company.

Sue attended the University of Minnesota School of Education and graduated in 1970-something, having studied Secondary Education, Language Arts, English, Speech, and Theatre. But it was her father, Frederick Miller, Jr., who taught her how to create excellent journal after excellent journal. Frederick Miller was in charge of editorial production of NWD for more than 35 years, training Sue to do an editor’s work for three+ of those years. When Frederick retired, it was Dr. Mellor Holland who insisted that Sue be hired for the position, which in turn became the role of NWD Managing Editor.

In just a few short years, Sue will have been at the helm of NWD for four decades, meeting with the Editorial Advisory Board (EAB), formerly called the Publication Committee, every other month to create another issue of the journal. Sue and the EAB choose each article carefully, selecting each issue’s cover with an equal amount of attention. And that is how an award-winning journal is created.

Here are a few things some of the people who know and work with Sue Miller have said about her:

“She has made Northwest Dentistry so much more than a dental journal. In every way it captures Sue’s expert guidance and feeling. She’s so about making it and everyone around her better.” — Dr. David Lipschultz

“In my role as Executive Editor of NWD for several years and having worked in close contact with Sue for some years prior to that in addition, it is my observation that Sue is the real reason for the success of our publication. Her writing skills are excellent. Her creativity and vision guide the content and tone of the journal. But none of this happens alone. Sue has recruited and developed a talented, dedicated, and diverse group of people to assist her in bringing her vision to reality…the printed publication.” — Dr. John Lueth (current NWD Executive Editor)

“I have submitted many articles for review, all of which I considered polished and complete. Every single time I have seen Sue work her magic to enhance what I submitted with thoughtful layout and artwork, pestering me for pictures, and editor’s introductions which transform the submission from good to outstanding. This has increased the impact of the articles with our readers, which is what we are trying to accomplish.” — Dr. Brent Florine

“Sue has taken Northwest Dentistry from a boring, humdrum academic journal consisting of mostly reprints from Dental Abstracts to a vibrant, award-winning magazine that lives up to its mission statement’s objectives to ‘Educate, Inform, and Entertain’ the members of the Minnesota Dental Association.” — Dr. Bill Stein (NWD Editor Emeritus)

Added Dr. Lueth, “I couldn’t agree more.”

We feel the same.

Please join us in congratulating NWD Managing Editor Sue Miller on being selected as the 2024 MDA Guest of Honor.

Robert K. Springer, D.D.S.

2024 New Dentist Leadership Award

Dr. Robert K. Springer graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 2019, and even as a dental student, he was active in the Tripartite.

As an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, beginning in 2011, the infatigable Robert Springer served as a department assistant for chemistry, as a resident assistant, and as a student researcher for organic chemistry. Prior to that, he was a swim coach for the Saint Michael’s, Minnesota STMA Sea Devils Swim Club, where he taught children between the ages of 5-12 years old how to swim competitively, tracking each child’s progress and reporting it to their guardians.
During his senior year of dental school, from May 2018 until April 2019, Dr. Springer served as MN ASDA’s trustee to the MDA Board of Trustees. Representing over 400 dental students, he advocated for issues affecting the dental profession in Minnesota and advised the Board in strategic planning to bolster engagement and membership.

Dr. Springer has served on the MDA’s New Dentist Committee since 2021. From 2016 until 2017, while he was still in dental school, he served as a member of the MDA’s Board of Dentistry Committee while simultaneously serving as a research fellow at the U of MN School of Dentistry.

Prior to being accepted into dental school, Dr. Springer worked as a dental lab technician for nearly two years at NDX Twin Cities Laboratories. There, he worked alongside the person who is now the Minnesota Donated Dental Services Coordinator, Kathryn McGee. “Working with Robert was always an enjoyable experience. His attention to detail and willingness to learn new things was always admirable,” remarked Ms. McGee.

Currently, Dr. Springer is employed part-time as a general dentist at both Community Dental Care in Rochester and at Isles Dental in Minneapolis. Additionally, he has served on the Minneapolis District Dental Society Executive Council and is their current vice president.

The Minnesota Dental Association is pleased to honor Dr. Robert K. Springer with the 2024 New Dentist Leadership Award.

Nancy Norling, D.D.S.

2024 Humanitarian Service Award

Dr. Nancy Norling is committed to the belief that enhancing smiles helps save lives.

Graduating from the University of Minnesota Dental Hygiene Program in 1977, Dr. Norling worked in that profession for seven years before deciding to return to school and become a dentist. She earned her DDS degree from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 1989, continuing her education there in the Level II Post Graduate Esthetic Continuum, and at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies Esthetic Program. She earns ongoing dental education credits from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the American Society for Dental Aesthetics, the Minnesota Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and the Seattle Study Club, among other dental groups.

Dr. Norling has truly put all of her training to good use. She has served as a committee member for the annual St. Jude’s Children’s Research Fall Festival event and as a Friend of St. Jude’s Sponsor. In addition, she and her dental assistant have volunteered at the Minnesota Mission of Mercy (MnMOM) events since MnMOM had its first event in Mankato, Minnesota in 2012. Dr. Norling and her dental team have volunteered their time and expertise treating children during the Give Kids a Smile event held at the Sharing and Caring Hands building as well as at her own dental clinic.

Dr. Norling’s philanthropy does not stop there. She traveled to Guatemala where she worked with the Common Hope project, providing dental care for the Indigenous families and children there. She also organized a dental and vision team that traveled to Antigua and San Rafael, offering much needed dental care and housing projects to the needy in those areas.

Dr. Norling is the past recipient of awards through the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), including their Humanitarian Award and their Partners in Peace Award. In addition, Dr. Norling has shown a commitment to AACD’s Give Back a Smile (GBAS) program for survivors of domestic violence and is the recipient of their Great Bright award for raising and donating the most money for GBAS in the Whitening Challenge.

Dr. Norling has a true passion for her profession and a heart for aiding the underserved. The Minnesota Dental Association is pleased to honor Dr. Nancy Norling with its 2024 Humanitarian Service Award.

Tim Holland, D.D.S.

2024 Outstanding Service Award

Graduating from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1988, Dr. Tim Holland headed to the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, receiving his DDS degree four years later. He served in a general practice residency program at the Minneapolis VA Hospital before starting his practice in Owatonna in 1996 and has been a leader in organized dentistry for twenty-plus years.

Dr. Holland has twice served as president of the Southeastern District Dental Society. In addition, he served three years as a Southeastern District trustee to the MDA Board of Trustees before serving on their Executive Committee, becoming their 2022-2023 president. He has served on the MDA Legislative Affairs Committee, the Dental Education Committee, and the Dental Marketplace Committee, and was a member of the former Dental Practice and Operations Committee. He has been a delegate to the MDA House of Delegates and to the ADA House of Delegates, the latter since 2020. He received his Mastership in the Academy of General Dentistry, an honor which has been given to fewer than 2% of the dentists in the United States.

Dr. Holland has always been one to “step up to the plate,” sometimes when asked, but often on his own initiative. He helped set up a volunteer dental clinic in Owatonna that serves the underserved population in that community. He has volunteered his time and expertise at several charitable events and organizations including Minnesota Mission of Mercy; Donated Dental Services; Let’s Smile, Inc., an organization in Owatonna whose mission is to “provide, promote, educate, and empower families through the power of preventive dental care;” and to the Owatonna free dental clinic. He also founded, and continues to lead, the Spear Study Club for other dentists in his community.

Dr. Holland has been involved in his community, as well, serving as a high school lacrosse referee, and as treasurer of the Children’s Remedial Fund, a program “intended to provide financial support to eligible families who have children with medical, dental, vision, hearing, school supplies and winter clothing needs.”
Dr. Holland is dedicated to helping the underserved receive the care they so desperately need. Described by his peers as a dependable, humble, and generous person, Dr. Holland is a true servant leader.

The Minnesota Dental Association congratulates Dr. Tim Holland on his selection as the 2024 Outstanding Service Award recipient.

Michael T. Flynn, D.D.S.

2023 President’s Award

Each year the current MDA President has the distinct honor of choosing the one member whom he or she believes stands out amongst all others. Always a challenging decision to make, the president nevertheless carefully considers the various services each member has provided to the association and to the profession and chooses accordingly. Dr. Tim Holland has announced his decision to honor Dr. Michael T. Flynn with his President’s Award.

Dr. Holland has this to say about his decision:

“This year I chose to honor Dr. Mike Flynn with the President’s Award. The reasons for this are numerous. First, Dr. Flynn is the most tireless advocate for dentistry I know. For years he has served on the MDA’s Legislative Committee. He has served as chair for both this committee and for MINDENPAC. During the regular sessions at the Minnesota State Capitol, you will frequently see Dr. Flynn there advocating for our profession, for the MDA’s positions, and for the oral health of Minnesota residents. Dr. Flynn was also our MDA president during a somewhat challenging time in the organization and was instrumental in bringing our current executive director to the MN Dental Association.

As long as I have served on our Southeastern District Dental Society Executive Committee (about 20 years), I can’t remember a meeting that didn’t have Dr. Flynn present. He was president of our district twice and always brings a unique energy and wisdom to those meetings. He has been my motivation and created in me a passion for organized dentistry. I wouldn’t be standing before you as immediate past president without Dr. Flynn. When I was asked to consider serving the role of president of the MDA he was the second person I consulted for advice and guidance (with my wife Diane of course being #1).

Dr. Flynn epitomizes the words leader and advocate. He continues to serve the MDA and dentistry with a full heart and unwavering energy and I am proud to call him my friend.”

Dr. Flynn received his bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s University in Winona and earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 1978. Since that time, he has been actively involved in the ADA, the MDA, and the Southeastern District Dental Society (SEDDS), serving within all levels of the Tripartite. On the MDA level, in addition to having served as the MDA Board of Trustees president from 2012-2013, he is a past MDA delegate to the ADA’s annual meeting. Dr. Flynn was a member of several former MDA committees, including the MDA Rural Health Care Committee; Elderly and Special Needs Health Care Committee; Oral Health Practitioner Committee; and Dental Therapist Committee. In addition, he was the Board of Trustees liaison to the Children’s Health Care and the Community Service Committees. He currently is a member of the MDA Legislative Affairs Committee (having served as chair) and has been the chair of MINDENPAC since 2022.

The MDA congratulates Dr. Michael T. Flynn on his selection as the 2023 President’s Award recipient.