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Commencement Archives

Congratulations, doctors!


Commencement 2020

May 16, 2020, a symbolic time for optometry, was the 177th Commencement for Illinois College of Optometry. Streaming our entire ceremony on Facebook Live we welcome 137 new doctors into the profession of optometry.

The 2020 Commencement Address was delivered by Dr. Sandra Block. In addition to being a beloved ICO professor, Dr Block is known for serving students, the young patients of the Illinois Eye Institute at Princeton Elementary School, and children with special needs. 

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. Block’s solutions for the unexpected challenges life will throw our way:

Find A Constant – Remember the people in your life who are here to support your graduation just as they were there to support your first days as an ICO student. COVID-19 has brought missed birthdays, holidays, and ceremonies like graduation, there have been losses, but remember these people are still there for you as you move from chapter to chapter of life.

Temporary Diversions – No matter what issues COVID-19 has forced us to face, they are only temporary. Looking to previous generations and the challenges they faced during their lifetime gives us strength and perseverance but also serves as a good reminder that we will get to the other side of this temporary problem.

Tragic Optimism – A term coined by Viktor Frankel, a holocaust survivor, tragic optimism is the ability to maintain hope and find meaning in life despite its inescapable pain, loss and suffering. Those who cope well in times of crisis often follow the four pillars of tragic optimism:

  • Belonging - Be seen, heard, loved, and cared for by friends and family.

  • Purpose - Find what is important in your personal, professional and social life. 

  • Storytelling – Tell your story the way you wish it to be told. You have the ability to look at the world and decide where you want to be.

  • Transcend – Rise above the chaos of life and realize you are prepared, you will adapt, and you are good at what you do.

More Resources:



View and download images from the event on Flickr.​



Reference the program used during the ceremony.


Fun Facts:

  • 137 members in the graduating class

  • 33 states represented

  • 6 Canadian provinces represented

  • 5 countries represented

  • 53 award winners

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

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