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Student's Bobblehead Idea Winds Up in 2012 Time Capsule

Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 3:53pm

Dean John Valenza, DDS and dental student Adam Grimm, with the bobblehead of Valenza, that went into the 2012 Time Capsule to be opened in 50 years.

Dean John Valenza, DDS and dental student Adam Grimm with one of the twin bobbleheads of Valenza. The other one went into the 2012 Time Capsule, now sealed for the next 50 years. Photo by Rhonda Whitmeyer.

When The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston awarded prizes to 16 students and employees last fall for their suggestions as to what to put in the school’s 2012 Time Capsule, dental student Adam Grimm was the only one to win in two categories:  “Predictions,” for his suggestions about tooth regeneration and vaccines, and “Funniest,” for suggesting inclusion of a bobblehead of Dean John Valenza.

The suggestion was meant as a joke, but after the ceremony, UTSD staff member John O’Black and others wondered whether bobbleheads could be custom made. An Internet search turned up a website, and within a few weeks two “Valenza bobbleheads” arrived secretly at the school. Plotting for the big reveal began.

That opportunity came in March 2013, when Valenza and a small group of staff members got together over lunch for the final sealing of the time capsule. Near the end of the meeting, O’Black slid one final box toward the dean.

Lifting the box top to confront a miniature version of himself, Valenza seemed truly surprised and laughed when someone pushed a button on the base, launching a recording of Valenza saying, “The best is yet to come.” The phrase has been his signature sign-off for the UTSD Vflash! video series. 

Plaque over the 2012 Time Capsule

This plaque marks the location of UTSD's 2012 Time Capsule, to be opened in 50 years. The capsule is sealed in a wall across from UT Dentists.

The 2012 Time Capsule – Valenza bobblehead included – is now sealed into a wall across from UT Dentists and marked with a plaque that says the capsule will be opened in 2062. A twin bobblehead is in Valenza’s office.

 “It took a little getting used to the idea, but it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “I’m just amazed at what the staff went through to come up with the bobblehead.”

For his part, Grimm was surprised to learn that his idea had been turned into reality. “It was just a funny way to recognize [Dr. Valenza] and his vision for the dental school,” he said.

Grimm was already planning to be present for the time capsule opening in 50 years. Like many of his classmates, he wrote a letter to his future self.  Now, he can reunite with the bobblehead as well, and be reminded that “the best is yet to come.”

A video of the Dec. 5, 2012 UTSD Time Capsule Packing Party is available on YouTube, and here is the list of awards given out that day.