Optometric Center of New York

Becoming SUNY College of Optometry Foundation in 2024

The Foundation, chartered in 1956 by a group of dedicated optometrists, business leaders, and benefactors, continues to provide opportunities for community members to support eye care, vision research, and optometric education through the work of SUNY College of Optometry and the University Eye Center. The Foundation was originally named the Optometric Center of New York which served as an eye care clinic and continuing optometric education center after the optometry program at Columbia closed. The pioneering leadership moved to advocate for the establishment of SUNY College of Optometry in 1971, which remains the only school or college of optometry in New York State.

In 1983, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees recognized the need to enhance scientific research into the human visual system, funding the establishment of vision research institute within SUNY College of Optometry. One year later, thanks to a generous $1.5 million donation from Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Schnurmacher, the institute was expanded and renamed the Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Institute for Vision Research. The fund continues to support vital eye and vision research, colloquia series on relevant research initiatives, and more.

Board of Trustees

The Optometric Center of New York (OCNY) Board of Trustees consists of 6-24 members who represent a variety of constituents including optometrists, industry professionals, patients, alumni, and our greater community. The primary role of OCNY is to support the work and programs at SUNY College of Optometry as the affiliated foundation for the school.

OCNY Trustee Prospectus

Executive Committee

President: Dr. Richard Soden
Vice President: Mr. Thomas Farrell
Treasurer: Mr. Dennis Gehr
Secretary & Executive Director: Ms. Dawn Rigney
Member-at-Large: Ms. Marjorie Axelrad

Additional Committees

Governance and Nominations Program
Professional Advisors Committee (PAC)

Role of the Board

The OCNY Board of Trustees lead the charge in fundraising and growing visibility for SUNY College of Optometry and the University Eye Center. All the funds raised are used to support programs and initiatives within the College such as scholarships for students, charitable patient care, capital and technological improvements, research, and student programming.