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Dr. McLeod received her optometric degree from ICO and completed a residency in ocular disease and special testing at SUNY State College of Optometry in New York. Dr. McLeod is an attending optometrist in the Primary Care Service, Urgent Care Service, and Advance Care Service at the Illinois Eye Institute. In addition, she serves as a lab coordinator in the optometry sequence for second-year students. Dr. McLeod is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and member of the American Optometric Association.
ICO has an excellent didactic and clinical education program with faculty members who are dedicated and enthusiastic about teaching. The Illinois Eye Institute, ICO's onsite clinic, offers a rich and rewarding clinical experience.
Dr. Valerie M. Kattouf is a 1995 graduate of the Illinois College of Optometry. Upon graduation, Dr. Kattouf completed a residency in pediatrics and binocular vision at the State University of New York. Dr. Kattouf is currently chief of the Pediatrics and Binocular Vision Service and a clinical instructor at the University of Chicago. Dr. Kattouf’s career focus is teaching courses in the areas of strabismus and amblyopia and infant and toddler examination skills. Dr. Kattouf has authored articles in optometric literature and lectured at numerous scientific meetings on the topics of pediatric eye care and strabismus. Dr. Kattouf also is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and the College of Optometrists in Visual Development, and a volunteer member of the American Optometric Association. Dr. Kattouf was named the Illinois Optometric Association’s Young Optometrist of the Year in 2002.
My aspirations as a student NEVER included a career in academic optometry. Throughout my years as a student and resident, my teaching skills were fostered and my love of teaching within the optometric profession grew. I felt humbled when asked to join the faculty at ICO in 1997. As a student and as a faculty member, the warmth of the faculty, staff and students at ICO creates a family environment that makes going to work each and every day a joy.
Dr. Augsburger is the fifth president of the Illinois College of Optometry. He previously served in academic and administrative positions at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and at the Ohio State University. He is the only person to have been named the Optometrist of the Year in three states, and also be named the National Optometrist of the Year by the American Optometric Association.
ICO offers the best in clinically focused optometric education. It is a privilege to lead such a dynamic institution.
Dr. Block received her optometry degree in 1981 from the Illinois College of Optometry, after which she completed a pediatric residency at ICO. She has been on faculty at ICO since completed her residency in 1982. In 1988, Dr. Block completed her Master of Education from National Louis University. She has been a consultant to the Special Olympics Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes program since 1995 and has been instrumental in developing the vision screening program that is now conducted globally.
Dr. Block is an active member of the faculty, served as the associate dean for academic affairs for two years and then became medical director of school-based vision clinics for the IEI. Her interests lie in primary eye care for children of all ages, with a social focus on persons with disabilities, as well as, the process of diagnosis and treatment of visually related learning problems.
Dr. Block has been an active member of the American Academy of Optometry and American Optometric Association and sits on two committees for Prevent Blindness America. She is a Fellow and has achieved the level of Diplomate in Public Health and Environmental Optometry at the American Academy of Optometry, as well as a Fellow in the College of Optometrists in Visual Development.
I chose ICO because my father was a 1948 graduate of NICO (an ICO predecessor). He loved his work as an optometrist and valued his education from NICO. I am proud to say I am a graduate of the same institution.
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!