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Commencement Archives

Congratulations, doctors!


Commencement 2019

May 19, 2019, was a unique milestone in the Illinois College of Optometry’s history. Our 176th Commencement took place just one day after the College’s 6th Presidential Inauguration and the dedication of the Dr. Robert and Lena Lewenson Pediatric and Binocular Vision Center. We returned to the Chicago Symphony Center to welcome 156 new doctors into the profession of optometry.

The 2019 Commencement Address was delivered by Dr. Karen Eng. In addition to chairing ICO’s Board of Trustees, Dr. Eng is a CEO, philanthropist, and mentor to underrepresented populations. She presented the Presidential medallion to Dr. Mark Colip during the ceremony. Dr. Colip, as part of his first Commencement as ICO President, distributed challenge coins to each graduate.

Relive ICO’s 2019 Commencement with this collection of media and materials. In addition to the below, video footage and pictures can be found on social media using hashtag #ICOClassof2019.

Each graduate is now a member of ICO’s expansive alumni network. Visit the Alumni section of this website to discover the resources and opportunities available to all ICO alumni.

Congratulations, new doctors!

A Look Back

Speaker Highlights:

As you step into your careers as practicing optometrists, remember Dr. Eng’s wishes for your past, present, and future:

The Past – “I can attest, optometry school is not easy. Boards are not easy. Building your clinical skills, studying, doing volunteer work, potentially working, while trying to enjoy all Chicago has to offer is not easy. But you did it! And I’m here to tell you, ‘honor that struggle.’ It has helped you to get to this point, and it will help you get to the next level, so honor your struggle.”

The Present – “This is also the time to consider adopting a role model mindset. Regardless of what others are observing -– and I would venture to say 'yes, they are observing you' -- I would give that this will help mold your disposition. Think about it, when you’re a role model, you’re trying to make a difference, make an impact, help others, inspire. Quite frankly, when you’re a role model, you’re not a jerk. You’re thoughtful, you’re generous, respectful and kind. And to me, these are characteristics I would love for people to describe me.”

The Future – “While we would all like the eyes of our patients to be within the normal limits: clear and quiet, I hope you live your lives a little outside the normal that’s colorful and loud. I hope you realize what is important and what is not. I hope you learn to care less of what other people think about you and more of what you think of yourself. I hope you realize how far you’ve come and you remember when you got the things you wanted when they seemed so far away. I hope you smile and smile big, because you’re truly proud of yourself and you are the person you have worked so hard to become.”

More Resources:



View and download images from the event on Flickr.​



Reference the program used during the ceremony.


Fun Facts:

  • 156 members in the graduating class

  • 27 states represented

  • 5 Canadian provinces represented

  • 92 award winners

  • $200,000+ in scholarships and awards were recognized at Capstone

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