The College Celebrates Opening of the Center for Student Life and Learning
A large crowd was on hand as the SUNY College of Optometry celebrated an historic milestone in its 42-year history on March 14. After more than five years of planning and design—and two years of construction—the three-floor, 20,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art Center for Student Life and Learning officially opened its doors ushering in a new era for students, faculty and staff at the College and the community that it serves.
With SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher and Chairman of the SUNY Board of Trustees H. Carl McCall in attendance, SUNY Optometry’s President David A. Heath welcomed the assembled crowd on the third floor, with its vistas of a sun-drenched Bryant Park and Empire State Building, to what he called “a symbol of the SUNY College of Optometry’s commitment to professional excellence and the long-term success of our students."
The Center, which has a sleek, contemporary design, includes a large pre-clinical procedures lab (pictured at left) on the second floor that is designed to prepare students for the latest technological advances in optometry. Each station in the lab contains a fully automated refracting lane as well as instruments that produce digital images of both the front and back of the eye that can be viewed either in real-time at the exam station or stored for later use. In addition to the lab, the Center contains classroom and study space, as well as a large seminar room and lounges (pictured at right) on the second floor. The Center also includes a major new event and recreation space on the third floor as well as a fitness center on the mezzanine above the third floor.
Chancellor Zimpher noted that the Center creates a “vibrant community” that will not only serve the College well but that also aligns itself perfectly with the “Power of SUNY,” the university system’s strategic plan. Chairman McCall also recognized that the Center will help the College’s doctors and students continue to serve the people of New York as they have for more than four decades.
As part of the event, entrepreneur, philanthropist and artist Gordon Gund unveiled “Dance,” a bronze sculpture that he created and donated for permanent display at the Center. Gund, who is visually impaired, told the gathering that he was proud to have one of his creations housed at the Center, calling it “a great environment for learning and sharing” that will continue to nurture the development of important and vital work related to eye and vision health for generations to come.