Alumni & Donors
November 2013 CE Documents
Due to the large size of the PDF files, allow for several minutes to print
- Sunday, November 3rd Handouts (pdf, 43MB)
- Sunday, November 3rd Handouts(printer friendly)(pdf, 4MB)
- Monday, November 4th Handouts (pdf 18MB)
- Monday, November 4th Handouts (printer friendly(pdf, 5MB)
Homecoming 2013 CE Documents
Alumni & Students Take a Winding Path to Optometry
By Jacqui Cook
Dr. McCann echoes that same sentiment when she recounts how she came to ICO from a career with the University of Calgary Institute of Environmental Toxicology, researching the presence of PCBs and pesticides in the environment and in human breast milk. She was a week away from starting a master’s program when she put the brakes on and decided it was not for her.
“I kind of had a breakdown and realized I didn’t want to do that anymore,” she says. “I didn’t want to spend my life in the lab, fighting for grants. I wanted to talk to more than the seven other people in my lab.”
When thinking about her options, she recalled meeting an optometrist at a Women in Science event she participated in as an undergraduate student at the University of Guelph in Ontario.
“She was talking about her career and at the time I thought it sounded interesting,” Dr. McCann says. “In optometry, you can do research, you can do patient care, you can do business. That really put the bug in my ear. When I started looking for alternatives to a career in research, I thought it was worth a look.”
She came to ICO in 2000 at the age of 27. The hardest part was adjusting to life in a dorm again, with a roommate and no income. The rest came easy.
“My time away made me appreciate the education as
She loved ICO from the moment she arrived for her interview. She canceled all her other interviews and stayed on after graduation to teach until she and her husband, Ryan Haiar, also OD ’04, returned to his native South Dakota. She just started a new position partnering with seven MDs, running a general disease and urgent care clinic, while her husband is in private practice. She continues to serve and stay connected to ICO by being secretary-treasurer of the Alumni Council.
In Optometry, you can do research. You can do patient care. You can do business. That really put the bug in my ear.
Dr. McCann, now 40 with a 3-year-old son and a baby on the way, says anyone considering a significant career change has to do their research first to be sure. Almost any career can be researched thoroughly online, and often professionals in that field will let you shadow them to see if it’s right for you.
“As an older student, you’re in a different phase of your life and taking on a heavy debt load and responsibility,” she says. “You want to be sure that’s what you want to do. You don’t want to do it a third time.”
Jacqui Cook is a freelance writer in Chicago. She may be reached at
Alumni & Students Take a Winding Path to Optometry
By Jacqui Cook
An Officer and a Doctor
Johnson notes that in many cases, returning students often have to give up a comfortable life and leave or uproot their families while they are studying at ICO. That was the case with Gary Partnow, OD '13, who graduated in May at the age of 41. He and his wife, Kellie, sold their four-bedroom house in Colorado and moved to a studio apartment in Chicago while he studied at ICO. He also left behind an 11-year career as an officer in the Colorado Springs Police Department.
Dr. Partnow's father had a prosthetic eye, so he was always intrigued by optometry and vision health. But after graduating from college in Long Island, N.Y., the Brooklyn native decided to head west to Colorado. He spent time as an EMT and with a land-based ski patrol before pursing his dreams of being a pilot. He decided the path to doing that would be to become a police officer and become trained to fly police helicopters in Colorado Springs.
Being an older student, you have experience and a little more grounding to weather the storms of optometry school
After several years, though, he began to think there may still be something else out there for him. He got an inkling of what that might be at his wife's optometry appointment.
"It was a combination of things that put me on the path to ICO," he says. "It was my father's prosthetic eye, how intrigued I've always been about the eye, and when I went to my wife's appointment one day, I looked around and thought it seemed like a nice environment," Dr. Partnow says. "I started off with one class just to see where I was. I got good grades, so I took two classes. When I decided to apply to optometry schools, I took a look at ICO and was impressed with their reputation and the location and board scores, so I chose them."
He says being an older student made it easier for him to focus on the big picture and remember why he was in such a challenging program. He also says his experience as a police officer was excellent training for working with—and caring for—people of every age, socioeconomic level and ethnic background.
"Being an older student, you have experience and a little more grounding to weather the storms of optometry school," he says.
He says the ICO community was very supportive of him and his goals, though he admits it was tough to return to a demanding professional program at 38, more than a decade past the typical ICO student's age.
"The whole thing is a challenge," he says. "We essentially left our life and had to really start over. It was a little painful, and being a poor student again is challenging. I never could have done it without my wife. She is my rock."
As he holds his new optometry degree—and prepares to head back to Colorado with Kellie and their new baby girl—he has no doubts the experience was worth any sacrifices they had to make. He says anyone who feels intrigued by a new career should take some time to explore that calling, even if it's just to test the waters with a class or two, as he did before he came to ICO.
"Try to live without regret," he says. "I prayed a lot. Giving my resignation and packing up and moving to Chicago was huge. You have to do what your heart wants you to do and live without regret. But before you do it, be sure you're prepared for the challenges. It was much harder than I thought."
Filling a Need
The Illinois College of Optometry is proud to announce the founding of the Alfred and Sarah Rosenbloom Center on Vision and Aging, a unique new resource devoted to the vision care needs of the aging population.
The Center within the Illinois Eye Institute honors an ICO icon, Dr. Alfred Rosenbloom, and his wife, Sarah. Dr. Rosenbloom, a 1948 graduate, served as dean of ICO from 1955 to 1972, president from 1972 to 1982, and remains a distinguished professor emeritus. He was inducted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame in 2010, and continues to be a leader in the optometric profession. In addition to his leadership roles at the College, Dr. Rosenbloom has been a pioneer in low-vision rehabilitation. In 1957, he was one of the founders of the first low-vision service at the Chicago Lighthouse. This organization has become one of the most comprehensive social service agencies in the United States. Dr. Rosenbloom was recently honored by being appointed to the prestigious Donald Krumrey Chair in Low Vision at the Chicago Lighthouse.
“The over-80 population is growing four times faster than any other segment of the population,” Dr. Rosenbloom says. “ICO’s reputation in terms of current and future education offers the opportunity to elevate standards and raise awareness for providing professional vision care to this age group. This may lead in time to the development of a Geriatric Care Patient Service Model, including care for many underserved individuals in assisted living facilities and in nursing homes.”
The Rosenbloom Center was announced during the ICO and Illinois Optometric Association Open House on June 29, 2012. The phased implementation begins immediately and will ultimately have four essential functions:
• Promote increased knowledge and understanding of the inter-relatedness of aging and vision care for optometry students and practitioners
• Develop programs that reach out to underserved and minority communities, and older adults in and around Chicago, by providing vision care, counseling and support services
• Develop ongoing relationships with selected geriatric care facilities (assisted living and nursing home facilities) in the Chicago area for education and patient care services
• Sponsor vision-related geriatric research
“ICO is unique in having the faculty and the resources to establish what I would consider a model Center on vision and aging,” Dr. Rosenbloom says. “As far as I know, there is no other vision care agency or facility that can establish a Center like this with experienced faculty to administer the important goals of the Center.”
The Center’s reach will stretch far beyond the Chicago area, he says. ICO students will have the opportunity to work with aging patients through the Center, and then take that unique knowledge wherever they establish a practice after graduation.
ICO President Arol Augsburger, OD, says the center is an exciting addition to ICO.
“To have a prominent ICO alumnus and his wife – and a former president of ICO – make such a significant leadership gift to ICO is transforming for the institution,” he says. “ICO will soon be the only optometric institution with a center on vision and aging. This will emphasize and highlight our leadership position in optometry.”
Read more about the Rosenbloom Center's service chief, Eric Bass OD, FAAO, by clicking here.
Congratulations, ICO Class of 2012!
We hope you enjoyed your special day. Besides the video highlights, you can also reminisce by viewing the hundreds of graduation day photos available on ICO’s Flickr photostream.
In addition to becoming a doctor of optometry, you are now an alumnus of the Illinois College of Optometry. Be sure to keep in touch with ICO by following us on Facebook and letting us know where you build your career by submitting a change of address form. You now have access to exclusive alumni services and resources, including ICO’s alumni directory, the library and career center to help you connect with ICO and succeed as a new optometrist.
The college welcomes gifts of common stock or other publicly traded securities. Substantial tax benefits are realized by transferring appreciated securities held long-term (owned by the donor for more than one year prior to the gift) to the Illinois College of Optometry. By making such a gift, the donor is entitled to a federal income tax deduction for the full fair market value of the security, subject to applicable limitations. By contributing the security instead of selling it outright and contributing the proceeds of the sale, the donor avoids capital gains tax liability. This means you receive a double tax benefit.
It’s easy to make a gift of securities. There are three methods to transfer the stock:
- If the certificates are held in a brokerage account, simply ask your broker to contact our office for instructions on making the transfer.
- If you have the stock certificates in your possession, send the unendorsed stock certificates by registered mail to our office. Enclose a cover letter outlining the purpose of your gift, along with a description of the issues and the number of shares and certificates. In a separate mailing, send signed “stock power” forms for each certificate with the name of the issue filled in and the signature guaranteed by a broker or officer of a national bank. We can sell the stock more readily if you sign a blank stock power without filling in our name.
- Lastly, you can hand-deliver securities to the Illinois College of Optometry’s Office of Institutional Advancement.
Increase the value of your annual gift through your employer’s matching gift program. Check with your human resources or employee benefits office to find out if your company will match your gift. You may also qualify under the matching gift program of a company from which you retired, at which your spouse works or from which he/she has retired, or on whose board you serve. There are also some foundations and associations that provide matching funds.If you discover that you can garner these additional funds for ICO, please complete the appropriate forms obtained from your employer and send them along with your gift.