SUNY Optometry alumna and faculty member Dr. Andrea P. Thau was honored during Women In Optometry’s first Theia Awards for Excellence presentation at the annual American Academy of Optometry meeting in Anaheim, CA on Thursday, November 10.
The Theia Awards, named for the Greek goddess of vision or sight, recognize women ODs for excellence in leadership, mentorship and education, or innovation. Each individual award is named for a trailblazing woman optometrist.
Dr. Thau, recipient of the Dr. D. Elva Cooper Award for Leadership and Advocacy, serves as president of the American Optometric Association (AOA) – the second woman to hold this post. She has also spent seven years on the board of the Optometric Society of the City of New York, 14 years on the board of the New York State Optometric Association, and she served as president of the New York Academy of Optometry. She was the first woman president of all three organizations.
In 1911, Dr. D. Elva Cooper stepped up to lead the National Congress of the AOA when the male president and male vice president were unable to attend the meeting. As second vice president of the organization, she was next in line to be presiding officer, but met fierce opposition. A petition was circulated to ask her to step down. Dr. Cooper refused, regaining control and receiving recognition for her efforts to manage such a chaotic convening.
More than 160 people nominated women ODs for the awards; a Women In Optometry professional advisory board vote determined the honorees.
Congratulations, Dr. Thau!