Dear Colleagues and Supporters,
I hope that this latest issue of FYEye finds you well and moving toward a return to normalcy. As we close an academic year like no other, I would like to reflect on how we have navigated the challenges as individuals and as a community to find a renewed sense of direction and confidence.
Thanks to the resiliency of our students, faculty, and staff, the SUNY College of Optometry Class of 2021 was able to come together on campus to celebrate the milestone of moving from being a student to a professional in optometry during the 47th commencement held on May 20. The hybrid ceremony, featuring our graduates receiving degrees in-person with honorary degree recipients and supporters joining virtually, was a testament to the collective perseverance and commitment of the entire campus to ensuring the continuation of rigorous academic study and patient care during this unprecedented time and about which you can read more in this newsletter.
Guiding students from study to successful professional careers is among the many contributions of the College to academia, healthcare, and research as we mark our 50th anniversary this year with a celebratory campaign stretching through June 2022. In fact, the College turns 50 at a historic turning point for optometric practice in New York as we edge closer toward becoming the 50th state to allow optometrists to prescribe oral medications to patients. Please visit our commemorative website often at , where you will find a timeline of our achievements since our start on April 14, 1971, as well as updates about events, opportunities to engage, and ways to show support for SUNY Optometry’s scholarship initiative.
In closing, I am happy to report that the President’s Task Force on Race and Equity (TFRE) initiatives and programming have gained tremendous momentum over the past year addressing our goal of cultivating a campus environment in which all members feel understood, included, and valued as part of the College community. Recent efforts are highlighted in this newsletter and include the upcoming webinar, Race in Optometry: Accountability – One Year Later, Part 4 of a highly attended panel discussion series launched last summer that will take place June 16, 2021, from 7 – 9 p.m., before the Juneteenth holiday. I hope you will join us!
David A. Heath, OD, EdM