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UNH Board of Governors Member Tells Story of Escaping to Freedom

Samantha Reposa, Assistant Editor

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Students piled into the Alumni Lounge last Thursday (March 23) to witness the premiere of Dr. Marc Benhuri’s motion picture adaptation of his memoir, Price of Freedom. The film explored Benhuri’s life as a dentist in the United States, but also his fight to help his family escape Iran during the 1970s.

“I felt that the first showing I wanted to be at the University of New Haven,” said Benhuri, who is a 1969 graduate of the University and currently holds a seat on the Board of Governors.

Besides serving on the University’s Board of Governors, Benhuri was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014 by the University. He is also the owner of Benhuri Center for Laser and Implant Dentistry in New York City. Benhuri was also an advisor to the president under the Reagan administration while securing the release of American hostages.

“I came to the University in 1964 and it was much smaller than it was today,” Benhuri said. “For me it was perfect because I was a foreign student and I came here on a student visa and to me having a smaller community, like the University of New Haven, was ideal – I got to know everybody, which helped me excel very quickly,” he said.

Upon graduating from the University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, he went on to attain his masters in engineering, where he decided he wanted to go into dentistry.

“My family has been in medicine for more than twenty generations and I decided to go into engineering as an act of teenage rebellion,” Benhuri said. “But, then after I started working, not that I didn’t like it, I loved engineering, I used engineering all through my research for the dental implant that helped me tremendously. But, inside my heart, I wanted to be in the healthcare system.”

Benhuri later found himself on a team of dentists, developing a dental implant that has proved successful, which millions of people around the world have received, including the former Shah of Iran. While being assigned to conduct the dental implant on the Shah, Benhuri formed a relationship that would eventually land him a position within the Iranian administration.

“I admired him (the Shah) as a leader and believe he is one of the best leaders in the later 20th century,” Benhuri said.

When the Iranian government took a turn for the worst, Benhuri’s family began receiving threats and attempted to escape death on multiple occasions. He wrote Price of Freedom about his family’s journey as he worked to bring them to safety in the United States. He also sought to tell the truth of the political situation, as he began to notice that the press reportings were not accurate, something he sees as similar to the current situation in the United States.

“I wanted to tell the true story politically what happened,” said Behuri. “I made it my mission to tell the truth.”

Benhuri and his team plan on putting the motion picture into american film festivals and hope to see it on the big screens or on television.

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UNH Board of Governors Member Tells Story of Escaping to Freedom