2020 Alumni Association Award Recipients Announced

Updated: Sep 9

ICO is privileged to honor and recognize our 2020 ICO Alumni Association Award recipients. The criteria for each award involve one or more of the following attributes:

  • service and leadership on the ICO Alumni Council (a nine year commitment)

  • extensive leadership, support and service to the College and the optometric profession

  • excellence as a faculty member and scholarly contributions to the profession

  • humanitarian efforts in the recipient's home state, country and abroad

  • accomplished career and outstanding commitment and dedication to the College and to the profession

We appreciate the many ways our alumni and friends have represented and supported the College, the community, and the profession. Congratulations to our 2020 awardees!



Golden Gavel Award

Larry Van Daalen, OD '87


Dr. Van Daalen lives and practices in Waverly, Iowa. In addition to founding his own private practice, he has been very involved in his community and profession. He has served on numerous committees and councils and his leadership positions have included: President of the Waverly Lions Club (x3), Trustee of the Iowa Lions Foundation, and President of the Iowa Optometric Association. His involvement in the Iowa Optometric Association has earned him both the Young OD of the Year Award in 1990 and OD of the Year Award in 2003. He was awarded the Lion of the Year Award twice and earned the Lions Club Presidential Award. Dr. Van Daalen has also served as a member of ICO's Alumni Council for nine years and led the Council as president in 2016-17. He was instrumental in the development of the Alumni Council's Strategic Plan, focusing on outreach and philanthropy.



Young Alumnus of the Year Award

Abby Jakob, OD '14


After working as an associate at a private practice and several commercial offices, Dr. Jakob opened her own practice in her hometown of Kingsville, Ontario. She purchased and renovated the historic firehall building on Main Street, and, with the help of a practice consultant, she opened the doors of EYES in the Spring of 2017. With state-of-the-art technology and equipment and a reputation for her stylish, boutique optical, she quickly became a well-established businesswoman. After just one year in business, she was awarded “Young Professional of the Year” from the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Jakob was also voted “Best Optometrist” in 2018 and “Best Optical” back to back in the 2018 and 2019 at the annual Best of Windsor Essex Awards. In 2019, she was chosen as Kingsville’s "Young Entrepreneur of the Year" and voted “The Only Optometrist to See” at the BizX Awards in Windsor and Essex County. She believes it is crucial to be involved in her community, which has resulted in various presentations at local schools, sharing her journey of becoming an optometrist and businesswoman and encouraging young people to believe in themselves and set ambitious goals.




Alumnus of the Year Award

Robert N. Lewenson, OD '80


Dr. Lewenson is the majority owner of Eye Doctor’s Optical Outlets, the largest optometrist-owned, multi-office practice in the U.S. With over 50 locations in Florida, more than 100 affiliated eye doctors provide vision care for over 300,000 patients per year. Dr. Lewenson is very involved in giving back to his community and was honored with the Tree of Life Award from the Jewish National Fund for his contributions and support. He is also a regular contributor to Southeast Guide Dogs and Metropolitan Ministries, which helps to feed the hungry and takes care of the homeless in the Tampa Bay area. His philanthropy permeates the optometric profession as well. Each year, he travels to the Dominican Republic to perform hundreds of eye exams and to donate glasses to the population. He also engages with students at optometric institutions, sharing his practice management expertise and serving as a role model for future doctors. At ICO, Dr. Lewenson's generosity resulted in a lead gift to establish and name the Dr. Robert and Lena Lewenson Pediatric and Binocular Vision Center in the Illinois Eye Institute, providing unparalleled eye care to Chicago's underserved children with vision impairments.




Distinguished Friend Award

R. Michael Daley


Mr. Daley began his optical career as an instructor with Ferris State University in 1975. He started working with Essilor in 1976 as a Varilux Corporation sales consultant, quickly receiving several promotions before ultimately becoming President of the Varilux Corporation in 1989. Mr. Daley was appointed president and COO of Essilor Lenses in 1996 and retired in 2008 after 34 years. He also served as Chief Executive Officer of The Vision Council, a non-profit trade association representing the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry. He was inducted into the National Academy of Opticianry Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Optical Laboratories Association Hall of Fame in 2006. He was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Ferris State University and received the Optical Laboratories Association Director’s Choice Award in 2006. He served as a Board member or in a leadership position for several optometric organizations including The Illinois College of Optometry Board of Trustees, the American Optometric Association Foundation, and Prevent Blindness America.




Excellence in Education Award

Geoffrey W. Goodfellow, OD '01, FAAO, Dipl. ABO


Dr. Goodfellow joined the faculty after completing his residency in pediatrics/binocular vision at ICO. Throughout his career, he has taught numerous courses and laboratories and currently teaches Ophthalmic Optics and the Vision Rehabilitation Laboratory. Dr. Goodfellow is also a member of ICO's academic administration, serving as Associate Dean for Academic Assessment and Records. Previously, he served as the Chief of the Pediatrics/Binocular Vision Service in the Illinois Eye Institute. Dr. Goodfellow's research and scholarly work is extensive, as is his involvement in his community and profession. Dr. Goodfellow is a past president of the Illinois Optometric Association and the North Central States Optometric Council and serves as a member or chairperson of numerous committees within the IOA, ASCO, AOA, ACOE, and other optometric organizations. Dr. Goodfellow's commitment to educational excellence has earned him twelve Teacher of the Year and Golden Apple Awards from ICO students.




Professional Achievement Award

R. Mark Hatfield, OD '79, MD, FACS


Dr. Hatfield felt a calling to become a physician at a young age and followed in his father's and sister's footsteps when he, too, became a graduate of ICO. He was determined to further his educational goals, however, and enrolled in the Marshall University School of Medicine, where he graduated as valedictorian of his class in 1983. While completing his residency at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, he discovered his passion for the retina subspecialty. After completing a fellowship at Illinois Retina Associates, Dr. Hatfield returned to southern West Virginia to establish a retina practice. He founded Retina Consultants, PLLC, located in Charleston, West Virginia, which has brought specialty care to a vastly underserved area for the past 31 years. The practice now has six physicians and over 100 employees with four full-time offices and two satellite clinics. Throughout his career, Dr. Hatfield has authored numerous publications and has lectured extensively, sharing his expertise at Marshall University and at West Virginia State Ophthalmology Conferences.




Humanitarian Award

William A. Olivos, OD '95


Dr. Olivos was born and raised in Lima, Peru. After graduating from ICO, he returned to Peru to practice optometry and became a professor at the Universidad Villarreal in Lima, teaching binocular vision, low vision, and optometry science. In 1999, Dr. Olivos returned to the U.S. and settled in Port St. Lucie, Fla., where he established his private two-office practice, Advanced Eye Care Center, specializing in comprehensive eye care and low vision. He and his wife Susan have organized medical mission trips to Peru and the Dominican Republic since 2004, often collaborating with Peruvian and American optometrists, ophthalmologists, cardiologists, nurses, psychologists, nutritionists, educators, and students. Dr. Olivos and his wife are the founders of Olive Tree Foundation for Education, which has provided more than 400 scholarships for economically disadvantaged students in Peru. He has been an active member of Rotary International since 2002 and has been a member of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine since 2012, advocating for plant-based diets and preventative medicine.



Lifetime Service Award

Bernard "Bernie" P. Nevel, OD '55 (NICO)


Dr. Nevel, a 1955 graduate of Northern Illinois College of Optometry, purchased his first practice in 1959. After partnering with an ophthalmologist, he expanded his practice with two additional locations in north central and southwest Indiana. Dr. Nevel retired in 2014 after nearly 60 years in practice. After passing the torch to fellow ICO alumnus Kevin Danahey, OD '91, Dr. Nevel's legacy continues as the practices he built so long ago continue to thrive and grow. Now with six locations in north central and southwest Indiana, Michiana Eye Center, LLC, is an equally owned-OD/MD practice with nine ODs and three MDs and is an externship site for the ICO. During his career, Dr. Nevel received the Distinguished Service in Optometry Award and the Golden Eagle Award from the Indiana Optometric Association for his dedication and contributions to the visual welfare of the citizens of Indiana. He has been a selfless, generous contributor to the Illinois College of Optometry for many decades. A humble man, he prefers to speak of his love for his family rather than receive accolades for his many successes.

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