Getting to Know Dean of the School of Dentistry Dr. Elsbeth Kalenderian

Dr. Elsbeth Kalenderian and her husband, Jerry.

Dr. Elsbeth Kalenderian was named dean of the Marquette University School of Dentistry in June and began her new role in mid-August. This fall, the native of the Netherlands who arrived on campus by way of the Amsterdam University Medical Center took a few minutes to talk with Marquette Today about her favorite hobbies, her love for Dutch literature and more.

Elsbeth enjoys reading to her grandchildren while babysitting.


The Hague, The Netherlands, although I now consider my hometown to be Boston, Massachusetts

Tell us about your family:

Husband Jerry, daughter Deidre, son Josh and two grandchildren

What are your favorite hobbies and interests?

Taking long walks, playing piano, cooking, reading Dutch and English literature, and sewing.

What are your favorite movies?

I don’t watch many movies these days. My all-time favorite is probably still “Love Story.” Besides that, I really loved “12 Angry Men” as we can learn so much from the consensus-building techniques displayed in the movie.

Who are/is your hero(es)?

My husband. He stands by me through thick and thin.

Any favorite quotes/mottos?

Count your blessings.

All major holidays for Elsbeth include her brother-in-law, Ken (top left).

What are you currently reading?

“The righteous mind, why good people are divided by politics and religion” by Jonathan Haidt. With the help of moral psychology, the author hopes “to make conversations about these two vexing topics more common, more civil and more fun.” I’m also reading “Alkibiades” by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer. This book describes the life of Alcibiades, the extravagant, brilliant, androgynous and controversial politician and strategist of Athens during the great war against Sparta. Pfeijffer is one of the great current Dutch writers.

Any favorite vacation spots?

Valencia, Spain – visiting my cousins.

What was your biggest career learning experience?

Fail fast and fail often.

Any fun facts people should know about you?

I am one of a twin.

What most excites you about being at Marquette?

How everyone truly rallies around our mission and purpose.