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lmost half the 461 seats in the $3.5 million, state-of-the-art Lecture Center have been snapped up since the launch of ICO’s Name A Seat campaign began last summer. Nearly 200 silver nameplates already have been installed, and every chair could be “booked” before the yearlong initiative ends June 30. If you’re hoping to get Seat No. 65, though, you’re out of luck. Stephen Mazur, OD ’97, called first dibs. As a first-year, Dr. Mazur staked a claim to the chair’s creaky predecessor, occupying it so faithfully that it became a running gag with his dorm mates in Brady Hall. “When the opportunity came to purchase a seat in the renovated lecture room there was no doubt Seat 65 had my name on it,” the Calgary, Alberta, optometrist says. “So I purchased Seat 65 to celebrate that memorable first year and to honor my friends in the Class of 1997! Let the memory live again.”
Every nameplate in the sleek, dove-gray hall tells a story. Together, they speak volumes about collective loyalty and affection for ICO.
“We’re truly amazed,” says Dwight H. Akerman, OD ’80, the ICO Board of Trustees member chairing the drive. “Often times, when an institution asks alums for donations, it’s viewed with skepticism. However, we’ve certainly not experienced that as evidenced by this campaign. We’re well on our way to our target of selling each and every seat.”
Just as gratifying are the stories shared by donors and alumni who signed up “for the opportunity to commemorate their years at ICO in a very positive way, or to memorialize or honor someone they care about,” Dr. Akerman says.
He chose to do both. Dr. Akerman, director of professional affairs at Alcon Laboratories in Fort Worth, Texas, purchased two seats next to each other in the center. One plaque is engraved with his name “to thank ICO for the outstanding education provided for me.” The other is dedicated to his father and mentor, Dwight M. Akerman, OD, who died at 91 in 2010. He was a 1944 graduate of Monroe College of Optometry, a predecessor of ICO.
“He was so proud of being an optometrist, so proud of his profession, and so proud that I became an optometrist and followed in his footsteps,” says Dr. Akerman, whose father practiced for more than 50 years in LaSalle and Streator, Ill. “He was my father and best friend. We’re together in the front row center, side by side, forever.”
That kind of sentiment is what inspired the campaign last June, and it’s what has driven seat sponsorship at a brisk pace. The front and back row chairs are the most popular, but there are still prime spots remaining at the platinum ($1,200), gold ($800) and silver ($400) levels. Supporters can request a particular or random seat.
Mark Colip, OD ’92, and vice president of student, alumni and college development at ICO, believes the decision to open the seats to sponsorships has made the Lecture Center even more of a campus centerpiece.
“As the oldest college of optometry in the United States, ICO has many traditions,” Dr. Colip says. “The Name a Seat campaign allows us to link the latest and greatest in technology for our current students with the generosity, stories and traditions of our most supportive alumni.”
Family ties are a recurring theme in the campaign. Even bittersweet back stories are tinged with a sense of legacy and unshakable commitment to the future.
Thelma Hottel, widow of Philip Hottel, OD ’48, reserved a chair in memory of her husband of nearly 60 years. Dr. Hottel, a longtime Iowa City optometrist, died in 2009 at age 83. For his wife, the engraved nameplate serves as an eternal valentine to her husband.
“He always joked that he married an older woman. I was five weeks older than he was,” Mrs. Hottel says, adding that she hopes her granddaughter will one day attend ICO.
ICO information clerk Anthony Barone – himself an ICO fixture at the main entrance – bought two seats: one for his late parents, Pasquale and Josephine Barone, and one for his late uncle and aunt, Carmen and Jenny Delabadia. He says the first-generation Italian immigrants raised him with love, and their devotion never wavered when he left school at 16 due to undiagnosed health issues.
“It’s just a way of not forgetting them and showing respect for them so their memory will stay alive,” says Barone, 74.
Alvin Zohn, OD ’49, “sat down and wrote a check right there” after touring the new Lecture Center during Homecoming 2011. The 86-year-old optometrist from Toledo, Ohio, commissioned one for himself and one as a tribute to his son and fellow alum, Michael R. Zohn, OD ’79. The younger Zohn lost his battle with cancer in 2008.
His son was the campus shutterbug during his ICO days, Dr. Zohn says. The gadget-loving Mike would have been “flabbergasted” by the high-definition TV screens, laptop and Wi-Fi friendly desks, and webcasts of lectures.
Like son, like father. The senior Zohn is very impressed with the tiered hall and its movable walls, ergonomic seats, and cutting-edge audio systems, pronouncing it “just marvelous.”
What’s in a Name?
By their nature, all inscriptions are meaningful. And some are enigmatic, none more than “The Four Horsemen of Optometry.”
Floyd Mizener, OD ‘48, DOS, PhD, confesses he came up with the Bible-inspired tag, a play on the nickname for Knute Rockne’s famous backfield players. The members of his quartet, all World War II vets, revised Illinois vision care guidelines instead of gridiron history.
He personally helped draft “Rules of the Road” vision requirements for then-Secretary of State Jim Edgar in the 1980s, Dr. Mizener says. Fellow “Horsemen” Lawrence R. Vogel, OD ‘48, and the late Floyd W. Woods, OD ’51, and Irving Kernis, OD ’37, backed him, teaming with him to spearhead laws ensuring schoolchildren receive comprehensive vision exams by eye doctors.
The surviving Horsemen and the Woods and Kernis families hope their chair will inspire today’s students to do the same – and form those same kinds of bonds that last decades.
His co-Horsemen “were always ready to listen on the telephone, ready to act, ready to do something,” says Dr. Mizener, 86, of Darien, Ill. “Age-wise, we were not all too far apart. We had the same common denominators: We came out of the services, got into the profession, and saw things that needed to be done for the better interest of the people.”
Irvin Borish, OD, DOS, a distinguished ICO alumni who is considered “the father of modern optometry,” died March 3 in Florida at the age of 99.
Dr. Borish graduated from the Northern Illinois College of Optometry – a predecessor to ICO – in 1934. He served on the school’s faculty for eight years, including as assistant dean. He then established a private practice in Kokomo, Ind., and was instrumental in starting the Indiana University School of Optometry and the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry.
Dr. Borish’s influence has been felt at ICO and every other optometry school in the nation for decades. He authored numerous textbooks, including the much-used Clinical Refraction, and was granted five patents for contact lenses, including bifocal contacts. He was a founding member of the Indiana Chapter of the American Academy of Optometry, was a president of the Indiana Optometric Association and the editor of the Indiana Journal of Optometry. He served as adjunct faculty at several schools.
When Dr. Borish retired from IU in 1982, he assumed the Benedict Professorship of Optometric Practice at the University of Houston. The school later established the Irvin M. Borish Chair in Optometric Practice, an endowed chair with more than $1 million of support. In 1995, Indiana University honored him by establishing the Borish Center for Ophthalmic Research.
Dr. Borish received numerous awards during his career, including the the prestigious AOA Apollo Award for the visual betterment of mankind in 1968 and the AOA Distinguished Service Award in 1989. He was inducted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame in 1998.
Dr. Borish is survived by his daughter, Fran Goldman, of Dallas, Penn.
On Friday, April 5, more than 50 optometrists and 250 students gathered for ICO's annual Practice Opportunities Symposium. Following a VIP lunch for OD panelists and sponsors, the panelists headed to classrooms and divided into groups according to area of expertise: Canadian practitioners, corporate practice, externship preceptors, practice management, private practice, residencies and specialty/multidisciplinary practice. The panelists fielded questions from students and addressed such subjects as hiring staff, expectations of externs and working in VA hospitals. Following the panels, students networked with panelists and representatives from more than 20 companies at the exhibitor fair in the Gym.
Dr. Messner joined the ICO faculty in 1985. Since that time she has served in a variety of administrative roles, primarily related to patient care education and residency programs. In addition she has been an active teacher in the classroom, laboratories and clinical program throughout her career. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and has served in a variety of professional organizations, including the Illinois State Licensing and Disciplinary Board, the ASCO Residency Affairs Committee and the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education
Students who are interested in getting a superior clinical education should come to ICO. Our students receive outstanding experience in all areas of patient care including ocular disease, contact lenses, low vision rehabilitation, binocular vision and primary eye care. Our classroom experience prepares students well for our challenging patient care environment, as evidenced by our students’ exceptional performance on all aspects of the National Board Examinations. In addition, although ICO is a “large” optometry school, we have a very close-knit community. When I first came to ICO as a faculty member in 1985, I thought that I would probably stay for a few years. 27 years later I find that I still wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!
More than 5,000 Chicago Public School students benefit
from Illinois College of Optometry program
JANUARY 26, 2012 (CHICAGO) – The Illinois College of Optometry is proud to announce that its partnership with the Chicago Public Schools to open a school-based eye clinic has resulted in treatment for more than 5,000 CPS students in the one year since it opened.
The clinic at Princeton Elementary School on the city’s South Side was established in January 2011 as part of Chicago Vision Outreach, a program that provides charitable eye health and vision care to Chicago’s underserved populations. It is the first known model in the nation to deliver eye care services year-round to an urban school district. CPS estimates that 25 percent of its students fail vision screenings each year, have broken or lost glasses, or fail to get the eye exam mandated by law to enter an Illinois school system.
“During the last year, we have seen a lot of children with significant vision problems. Some children were using friends’ or siblings’ glasses, and some kids had eye health issues that had never been identified or had been identified, but never treated,” says Sandra Block, OD, ICO professor and medical clinic director. “The clinic is part of a solution to address the unmet need of vision care for children within the city of Chicago; it is helping to eliminate one barrier to improved academic performance for many students.”
The clinic is outfitted with 13 professional eye exam lanes and is open Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ICO students provide much of the clinical care under the supervision of experienced optometrists, and the more complex cases are referred to the Illinois Eye Institute, ICO’s clinical facility, for further testing.
Data gathered from the student visits this past year demonstrate the great need for the clinic. Approximately 75 percent of the treated children needed new or replacement glasses. Strabismus was present in 6.2 percent of the students, and amblyopia was identified in 8.5 percent. Previously undiagnosed glaucoma was found in two cases.
Melissa Coleman, an optician at the clinic, says it has been a very rewarding experience to deliver new glasses to the students. “They've been going so long without being able to see properly," she says. "Most of the time they say 'Wow! Everything looks so big and so close to me!'"
The program is currently funded through state reimbursement and private grants from the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust, Alcon and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. For a complete list of supporting organizations and individuals, visit www.ico.edu.
For Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Illinois College of Optometry, Chicago Public Schools Celebrate First Year of Eye Clinic Partnership
WHO & WHAT:
The eye clinic at Princeton Elementary School was established in January 2011 to bring eye and vision care to CPS students identified as needing additional vision testing but who lack access to optometric services. Since then, more than 5,000 students have received much-needed care and follow-up treatment as needed.
ICO and CPS invite you to an Open House to commemorate this first year of providing eye care services to CPS students. The celebration will be joined by Dr. Arol Augsburger, president of the Illinois College of Optometry, and Dr. Sandra Block, ICO professor and medical clinic director. CPS representatives also are expected to attend. There will be interview opportunities onsite, as well as guided tours through the clinic during the open house.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Illinois Eye Institute at Princeton Elementary School
5125 S. Princeton Ave.
Chicago, IL 60609
For more information about the school-based clinic, please visit www.ico.edu.
FEBRUARY 1, 2012 (CHICAGO) – The Illinois Eye Institute welcomed 105 students from Dolton- Riverdale District 148 during the past two weeks for comprehensive eye exams, identifying more than 90 percent who required glasses but might otherwise not have had access to care.
The visits, which took place Jan. 24 and 31, were arranged by the Illinois Eye Institute Foundation, the charitable division of the IEI that supports community outreach efforts to ensure eye and vision care for underserved populations. All of the students had failed school-based vision screenings. At the IEI, they were examined, then selected glasses that will be delivered to them at school in the coming weeks. Most patients were covered by public and private insurance; however, those children without coverage had their visit and glasses covered by the IEI Foundation and VSP Vision Care. The IEIF also provided transportation for the students to the clinic.
“Our work today has enabled children to receive much-needed eye care to improve their daily lives in academics, athletics and other activities," said Vincent Brandys, OD, executive director of the IEI Foundation. "The Illinois Eye Institute Foundation is pleased to continue its partnership with community organizations to provide eye care for those in need.”
Illinois State Representative William Davis, whose district includes the Dolton Riverdale schools, accompanied the students who visited the clinic Jan. 24. During Tuesday’s visit, Mayme Buckley, director of external affairs of the Healthcare Consortium of Illinois, observed the clinic in action with Arol Augsburger, OD, president of the Illinois College of Optometry, and discussed possible future collaborations between her organization and the IEI Foundation. The Healthcare Consortium pursues collaborative ventures to improve the quality of life for all Illinois residents.
About the Illinois Eye Institute
Illinois Eye Institute (IEI) is the clinical division of the Illinois College of Optometry. IEI is a nonprofit, multi-specialty eye center that provides comprehensive eye care to individuals of all ages from the Chicago area and beyond, regardless of their financial status. The IEI has over 92,000 visits annually from a largely low-income, medically underserved patient population and provides charitable services and outreach programs through its foundation to assist people in need. For more information about the Illinois Eye Institute, contact Dr. Vincent Brandys at 312-949-7144.
Caption for attached photo: Mayme Buckley, director of external affairs of the Healthcare Consortium of Illinois, and Arol Augsburger, OD, president of the Illinois College of Optometry, watch as a student from Dolton Riverdale School District 148 receives an eye exam during a visit to the Illinois Eye Institute in Chicago on Jan. 31.