Since Dr. Elmer S. Best founded the Pierre Fauchard Academy in 1936, a series of outstanding dental leaders accepted the positions of PFA Officers to lead the fledgling international dental honor society into world prominence. Five decades later, Dr. Nicholas D. Saccone of Scranton, Pennsylvania, rose to the leadership position to become PFA's 55th President. While the position of PFA President itself is a globally recognized honor, Dr. Saccone brought a wealth of leadership history to the position, further endowing the PFA presidency with acclaim and honor.
Dr. Saccone earned his high school degree at St. John the Evangelist High School in Scranton and then continued with his pre-dental studies at the University of Scranton (1941). He achieved his dental degree at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine in 1944. The old dental school, established by the renowned Dr. Thomas Evans, was filled with plaques and awards given to Dr. Evans and the other great leaders of the dental profession, which had its effect on the young developing dental student. Walks along the University of Pennsylvania campus filled with tributes and statues of its founder, Benjamin Franklin, was a constant reminder of the legacy of the profession Dr. Saccone was to about to enter.
Dr. Saccone's own fame spread quickly. As a Captain in the U.S. Army Dental Corps who served with the 187th Medical Dispensary, Aviation, in the European Air Depot in post-WWII Erding, Germany, Dr. Saccone attended the 1946 War Crime Trials in Nuremberg. He actually saw the Nazi leaders on the docket answering for their actions. He earned the WWII Victory medal, the Army of Occupation medal, and the Meritorious Service Unit plaque. His military uniform was later donated to the dental museum located at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, Nevada, where it may be seen today, along with other memorabilia of the War Crime Trials.
After he served his tour of duty, Dr. Saccone returned to Scranton, where he opened the private dental practice that he operated for some 52 years. However, those years were not quiet; he became President of the Scranton District Dental Society in 1961 and President of the Third District Dental Society (comprising 9 counties) in 1967. He served as Delegate to the Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) from 1962-1976, served on many PDA committees, and was named the PDA Trustee for the Third District from 1976-1982. He was PDA Vice President from 1981-1982 and PDA President from 1983-1984. Dr. Saccone received PDA's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award (PDA Annual Award) in 1991. As an ADA Member, Dr. Saccone served as Delegate in 1969, 1971, 1977, 1979, 1981-1985, and in 1989. He was on the ADA Council on Dental Practice from 1983-1987 and on the Credentials Committee from 1981-1985, where he served as Chairman during his last 2 years of service.
After serving as a Board Member for the Pennsylvania Academy of General Dentistry from 1973-1976, Dr. Saccone was its President (presiding over two state dental organizations) from 1978-1979 and later was named Financial Committee Chairman from 1987-1990. He was the Pennsylvania Delegate to AGD from 1974-1980 and Marshall for the 1989 New York Convocation. In 1985-1986 he was a member of the Board of Directors for the Pennsylvania Medical Care Foundation, a unit of the Pennsylvania Medical Society.
In 1972, Dr. Saccone became Chairman of the Board of the Pennsylvania Dental Service (now Delta of Pennsylvania). He had served on its Board of Directors for 8 years and was its Vice President from 1968-1969. He served as dental consultant from 1966-1972 for the Lackawanna County Project Head Start. From 1972-1976, he was on the Board of Directors for the
Greater Delaware Valley Regional Medical Program, and from 1974-1976, he was also on the Board of Directors for the Health and Hospital Council of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Dr. Saccone's life of professional service was not limited to dentistry. He served on the Board of Directors for the United Way of Lackawanna County from 1962-1968 and again from 1971-1977. He was the 1962 President of the Purple Club (the University of Scranton Scholarship Fund), served on the Board of Directors for the Catholic Youth Center from 1974-2000, was on the Board of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce from 1982-1985, served on the Scranton Post Office Advisory Council from 1993-2005, and served on the Scranton Area Foundation Advisory Council from 2002 to the present. In 1967 he married Miss Jeanne Ryan, and they have traveled through 43 years of dedicated service together in wedded bliss.
Dr. Saccone served on the University of Scranton's Board of Governors of the Alumni Society from 1951-1975, then on their Board of Trustees from 1975-1981. He was named Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1979-1981 and served on the University of Scranton Council from 1990-1998 and later on their Board of Regents from 1999 until today. In his honor, the University of Scranton created the Nicholas D. Saccone Presidential Scholarship. Then in 1991, the University presented him its highest award, an Honorary Doctor degree, during that spring's graduation ceremony. That same year, the University of Scranton Alumni Association presented him with their Alumni Achievement Award. In 2007, Dr. Saccone was presented with the prestigious Frank J. O'Hara Award for University Service.
Meanwhile, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, Dr. Saccone served on the Alumni Board of Directors from 1986-1992 and later became President of their Alumni Association from 1992-1993. He has continued to serve on the Board of Directors for the University of Pennsylvania Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania from 1986 to the present; he also served as Vice President from 1994-1995. Dr. Saccone's professional memberships include the ADA, PDA, AGD, ICD, ACD, the Philadelphia County Dental Society, and PFA. Dr. Saccone was inducted into ICD in 1972 and served as Third District Regent from 1994-1999.
Dr. Saccone was Pennsylvania State PFA Chair from 1988-1990, then International Trustee on the PFA Board from 1990-1994. He was honored with the PFA Pennsylvania State Award of Excellence in 1994 and served as PFA President in 1995-1996. He was elected to the PFA Foundation Board in 1994, where he continues to serve, and has filled many significant roles. In 2009, his service was recognized by the PFA International Board with their Presidential Award of Excellence.
Dr. Saccone was not just a dentist. He served his community in many ways as a member of the Elks Lodge, the Knights of Columbus Council, Commander (and Adjutant) of his American Legion Post No. 187, and President of the Country Club of Scranton (1980-1981). He served on the Country Club's Board of Directors from 1967-1985 and was Chairman of their Ray Davis Tournament for some 30 years. In addition, he is a member of the University of Scranton's Cross Keys Fraternity, the Alpha Epsilon Delta International Pre-Med Honor Society.
During Dr. Saccone's active years, he was recognized by the Scranton District Dental Society with a Testimonial Dinner in 1991, by the Purple Club with their 1993 Outstanding Service Award, by the French Dental Association with their 1996 Gold Medal from Le Conseil National de l'Ordre des Chirurgien Dentistes, presented in Paris, and by the Scranton Catholic Youth Center with their 2000 Wall of Fame Award.
With all that he has accomplished, and despite his brilliance and energy, Dr. Saccone is a mild, humble man. His greatest accolades come from the many persons he has served with--the late PFA Secretary General Richard Kozal, PFA Executive Director Judith Kozal, past PFA Editor Jim Brophy, and so many others. Dr. Saccone has quietly and effectively served us all in many different ways, as he still does today. Some health problems have slowed him down a bit, but give him a computer and he is still going strong, continuing to put his fingerprint on all the groups that he has served so well.
Dr. James M. Brophy III
Contributing Editor/Historian of the Pierre Fauchard Academy