Meet an Alum: Randy Harwood, DDS Class of 1974

Posted on: Tuesday, 10/27/2020

Dr. Randy Harwood

Dr. Randy Harwood, Class of 1974, recently celebrated his 45th graduation anniversary last year. He recently retired after successfully owning and operating his private practice and has since enjoyed focusing on his other passions, including being outdoors, traveling, and photography.

For the past 35 years, Dr. Harwood has been traveling to remote destinations around the world and photographing animals, birds, and marine life. He tries to find ways to use these images to give people a better awareness of the beauty and value of the natural world. His hope is that his photographs inspire people to seek out unfamiliar places and appreciate the amazing lives that inhabit them. Check out his portfolio here.

We recently caught up with Dr. Harwood who shared more about his passion in the following interview:

Question: What is one of your fondest memories while you trained at UCLA SoD?

Answer: “I was always so happy to be given the opportunity to attend one of the world's great universities and, along with benefiting from an excellent, progressive education, I made a point of taking advantage of many campus-wide activities available as a UCLA student. As such, watching the Walton gang win almost every game played at Pauley Pavilion and attending a concert at Royce Hall when the Eagles opened for Linda Ronstadt are great memories. Oh, and when the underdog gutty little Bruins defeated Woody Hayes' Ohio State Buckeyes at the Rose Bowl...can't forget that!”

Question: What do you do when you aren’t practicing dentistry?

Answer: “Now that I have retired from private practice, I have increased my time spent outdoors and continue to pursue wildlife photography. I am active with my favorite local non-profit organization, the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy. I am a nature walk leader, monitor of wildlife on the Peninsula, and am a Board of Directors member.”

Question: What inspired you to become a wildlife photographer?

Answer: “I first became an underwater photographer, probably because of early TV programs like 'Sea Hunt' and Cousteau's shows. When I began seeing the power of images of marine life and wildlife to inspire others to appreciate and protect the natural world, photography became my (non-dental) passion.”

Question: If you could share one piece of advice to current dental students, what would it be?

Answer: “For me, a number of outstanding faculty members inspired me to be the best I could. One in particular, Dean Emeritus Henry Cherrick, became a mentor to me while I was a student and is still one of my closest friends. I would advise students to identify one or more faculty members who you admire, consider a mentor and, who has special qualities or knowledge you wish to acquire and try to spend as much time as possible to mirror and learn from them. Also, appreciate every day how fortunate you are to attend such a great institution!”