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January 15, 2013

Endowed Scholarship Established for Dr. Harold A. Solan

Photo of Harold A. SolanThanks to the generosity of the family, friends and colleagues of Dr. Harold A. Solan, a new endowed scholarship has been established in his memory at the SUNY College of Optometry.

With gifts exceeding $25,000—including a large gift from the family of Dr. Solan—the inaugural Harold A. Solan Memorial Scholarship will be awarded by the Optometric Center of New York, the foundation of the SUNY College of Optometry, to a third-year student at the College next fall. The scholarship will focus on students who have a financial need and demonstrate proficiency and compassion in working with children, as well as a strong desire to practice pediatric optometry after graduation.

Dr. Solan, who passed away last summer at the age of 90, was “a giant in optometry,” according to his long-time friend and fellow Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at SUNY, Dr. Irwin Suchoff. “His research brought functional/development vision to the level it is today.”

During Dr. Solan’s long and productive career he helped to identify functional vision as an important but generally unrecognized factor in academic performance and encouraged vision therapy as an effective means of correcting such functional vision problems.

Joining the SUNY College of Optometry faculty in the 1980s, Dr. Solan was the director of the College’s Learning Disabilities Unit for 11 years beginning in 1981. He formally joined SUNY’s research program in 1988, allowing him to turn his attention nearly full time to studying developmental vision and spreading the word about vision therapy to both eye care practitioners and educators. Dr. Solan continued to conduct research and education programs on developmental vision until well after his official retirement.

Dr. Solan was inducted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame in 2003. The SUNY College of Optometry named him a Distinguished Service Professor in 1994. He was a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and College of Optometrists in Vision Development as well a life member of the American Optometric Association.

“My father devoted much of his life studying the relationship between the eye and brain in order to help children overcome difficulties in learning,” his son Lawrence Solan said in a statement about the new scholarship. “Our family is proud to initiate this scholarship as a way of providing some assistance to optometric students who show a similar commitment.”

For more information, or to make a contribution to the Solan Memorial Scholarship fund, contact Ann Warwick, Executive Director of the Optometric Center of New York at 212.938.5600 or awarwick@sunyopt.edu