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Commencement Archives

Congratulations, doctors!


Commencement 2022

May 21, 2022, ICO held its 179th Commencement for Illinois College of Optometry. It was the first ceremony to be held at the Chicago Symphony Center since 2019. Streaming our entire ceremony on Facebook Live and YouTube, we welcomed 132 new doctors into the profession of optometry.

Dr. Roy Wesley was the Class of 2022’s commencement speaker. Son of Newton K. Wesley, instructor at the Monroe College of Optometry, a predecessor to ICO, he grew up working in the emerging contact lens industry of the 1950s. He is also president of the Dr. Newton K. Wesley Foundation Fund (NKWF). This foundation is dedicated to eye research and preserving the legacy of his father.

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:

Dr. Wesley’s speech focused on the hardships the students had gone through in the last year, and the importance of perseverance and living one’s dreams. Here are a few of his takeaways:

Vision is a Miracle!

The first theme of Dr. Roy Wesley’s speech was the importance of taking care of oneself. He said, “vision and life itself is a miracle. Treasure your life and your actions. . . Take care of your mind and body . . . use your training as you go through life. As Dr. Newton K. Wesley always used to say, ‘Save vision, save lives.’ Be an example to your patients. If you tell your patients to exercise and eat well, you be that model of what you’re telling them to do.”


Using his father, Dr. Newton K. Wesley (who suffered from Keratoconus which at that time had no treatment), as his reference point, he emphasized the importance of dreams. Dr. Roy Wesley told the crowd how Newton K. Wesley went through many hardships and challenges before inventing plastic lenses in the 1950s. Much of what he achieved was because he continued to dream. “Dr. Wesley was a man of big visions and dreams he conquered the disruptions thrown at him to succeed in building an industry serving millions with the gift of better sight.”

He told the crowd, “Dream of what you wish to do. Dream of who you will become after this experience. That is your future. Within the dream is inspiration. With inspiration comes a purpose for living. Dream, imagine, and act to create a better future.”


A big theme throughout Dr. Wesley’s speech was the importance of perseverance. He said, “Life sometimes has a way of sabotaging our dreams and plans. Even though Dr. Newton Wesley suffered from vision impairment none of his doctors nor teachers could diagnose his disease. Only after many years of searching did Dr. Wesley have his vision restored using large scleral lenses. These uncomfortable lenses lead to the desire to help others and eventually created the contact lens industry we know today.”

Dr. Roy Wesley emphasized that dreams are important. They are there to allow one to overcome hardships and obstacles. “I urge you to follow Dr. Newton K. Wesley’s example: use the obstacles in your life as steppingstones to create a new and better future. Let your dreams be open to the opportunities as they show up in your life. Help and serve those in need. Congratulations, doctors! Go out and live your dream!!”

More Resources:



View and download images from the event on Flickr.​



Reference the program used during the ceremony.


Fun Facts:

  • 132 members in the graduating class

  • 29 states represented

  • 5 Canadian provinces represented

  • 3 countries represented

  • Over 1/3 graduated with high honors

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

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