American Optometric Association President Welcomes Illinois College of Optometry Graduates to Profession
Dr. Peter Kehoe delivers commencement speech to Illinois College of Optometry graduates
May 20, 2009 (CHICAGO) — Dr. Peter Kehoe, president of the American Optometric Association (AOA), encouraged the 148 graduates of the Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) to make a difference locally and nationally by providing excellent care and getting involved in optometric associations. Dr. Kehoe, an ICO alum who currently practices in Galesburg, Illinois, spoke at the May 16, 2009, graduation ceremony and was awarded the Doctor of Science in Optometry D.O.S..
“Optometry matters, we matter, we change and we save lives,” said Dr. Kehoe, a 1984 graduate of ICO. “We make a difference, and we are an incredible profession in health care where patient outcomes are everything…and the future of health care sways in the balance. When we show up in Washington D.C. to sit at the discussion table for Medicare and Medicaid, it matters.”
As the 2008-2009 president of the AOA, Dr. Kehoe has strengthened optometrists’ position in the public health care arena. He has focused on generating greater public awareness of optometry’s role in preventing vision loss and positioning optometry as the primary eye care provider within the U.S. health care system. He also has challenged every AOA optometrist to defend and safeguard the profession for the public health, and to continue developing tools aimed at building doctor of optometry entrepreneurial knowledge and skills. He extended this challenge to the ICO graduates, urging them all to become “optocrats.”
“‘Optocrats’ are neither Republican nor Democrat,” Dr. Kehoe said. “We are doctors of optometry on the front line of eye and vision care who understand that what is good for the patient is good for the profession; and what’s good for the profession is good for the industry; and what’s good for the industry is good for the globe. We work hard to ensure that patient-centric eye health care will prevail.”
Also in attendance were former ICO presidents Drs. Alfred Rosenbloom and Charles Mullen, Illinois Optometric Association President and ICO alum Dr. Robert Blumthal and former AOA President and ICO alum Dr. Vic Connors, who had the honor of “hooding” his son during the ceremony.
The class of 2009 represented 23 states and nine Canadian provinces and was 66 percent female. Twenty percent of the class graduated with high honors and 61 scholarships and awards amounting to $250,000 were recognized during the ceremony.
About the Illinois College of Optometry
The Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) provides excellence in optometric clinical education and is one of the world’s leading urban optometric institutions. Since its founding in 1872 by Dr. Henry Olin, ICO has offered aspiring optometrists the education and experience needed to meet the challenges of a changing health care environment and become leaders who will advocate for patients and the profession alike. Located in Chicago, ICO has a long and distinguished legacy as the oldest continually operating educational facility in the world dedicated solely to the teaching of optometrists. For more information about the Illinois College of Optometry, visit www.ico.edu.