Alumni News and Events

News and Updates

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New Alumni Association Board

Congratulations to our board members on their new roles on the Alumni Association Board - Effective July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2015.

  • Alumni Board President:
    Dr. Denise Whittam ‘91
  • Alumni Board Vice President:
    Dr. Samar Awad ‘92
  • Immediate Past President:
    Dr. Julia Appel ‘91
  • Alumni Board Treasurer:
    Dr. Shandor Zelenger ‘98
  • Alumni Board Secretary:
    Dr. Vito Proscia ‘91
  • Directors:
    Dr. Anna Marie Fernandez ‘85
    Dr. Jaclyn Benzoni ‘09
    Dr. Diane Russo ‘10
    Dr. Karen Perekalsky ‘06
    Dr. Theresa Rostkowski ‘90


2013 Alumna of the Year

The Alumnus of the Year Award is a recognition giving by the Alumni Association to an alumnus for the dedication, hard work, and commitment devoted to the profession.

This year's recipient is Dr. Jillia Bird, OD '89.  Dr. Bird is extremely active in the Caribbean's Glaucoma Awareness movement, Dr. Bird was earlier this year named President of the World Glaucoma Patient Association and is also a Board member of The Glaucoma Foundation in New York and Caribbean Coordinator for the World Glaucoma Week Committee.

In addition, Dr. Bird is this year's recipient of the World Council of Optometry's (WCO) International Optometrist Award to be announced at the WCO Annual Congress in Malaga, Spain

Upon graduation from SUNY Optometry in 1989, Dr. Bird spent 2 years working with the SUNY at Stonybrook Barbados Eye Studies in Bridgetown, Barbados before starting private practice in Antigua.The award will be presented to Dr. Bird during Alumni Reunion Weekend at Envision New York - Saturday, October 19th at 5:00 p.m. at Gallery 8 at the Millennium Broadway Hotel 145 W. 44th St., New York City.

Alumni Association Events

2013 Alumni Reunion Weekend at Envision

The Alumni Association and the Continuing Education Office hosted the 12th annual Envision New York / Alumni Reunion Weekend gathering many alumni and honoring the classes of 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008.  Over 130 alumni got together the night of October 19th to celebrate the special occasion. For the first time the Alumnus of the Year Award was giving during at this event honoring the 2013 Alumna of the Year - Dr. Jillia Bird.

On Sunday October 20th, alumni were invited to the "Meet us at the College" reception - A second event  hosted by the Alumni Association where alumni get together at the College for a wine a cheese reception followed by a tour of the renovated areas of the building.

College Tour Reception

Wine and Cheese Reception hosted on Sunday, October 21 during Envision New York.  Reunion classes and alumni had a second opportunity to reunite once again while enjoying a private reception at  the President's conference room.  Alumni were taken in small groups on tours of the College lead by current enrolled SUNY Optometry students.

Members of the Class of 1992 at the College Tour Reception

Private Alumni Reception at the American Academy of Optometry - Phoenix 2012

SUNY Optometry and the Alumni Association hosted a reception during the Academy Convention in Phoenix, Arizona.  Over 120 alumni and faculty members gathered at the Sheraton Hotel for a private wine and hors d'oeuvres alumni reception.

Dr. Julia Appel, '91 - President of the Alumni Association and Dr. Steven Pereira at the Academy enjoying the company of students of the SUNY Residency Program, recent alumni, and OD SUNY students

President Heath, Dr. Joseph Stamm, '82 and Dr. Kathryn Richdale at the Alumni Academy Reception

Dr. Diane Adamczyk, Director of the Residency Education, in the company of recent residency program graduates and current residency students

Dr. Joan Portello, '81 and Dr. Jaclyn Benzoni, '09 - Members of the Alumni Board

Alumni Association Gift to First Year Class

For the past couple of years, it has become a tradition for the Alumni Association to welcome the incoming class by providing them with a small token of appreciation.  The class of 2016 with 88 class members have a long yet exciting journey ahead of them.  We are happy to welcome them to our SUNY Optometry family and wish them all the success.

First year students - Future members of the class of 2016

Dr. Appel welcoming the incoming class.