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50th Anniversary celebration weekend was a success!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

This past weekend saw the culmination of many months of planning for our 50th Anniversary celebration weekend, and thanks to the support of our alumni, friends and corporate partners, it was a great success!

Our Continuing Education (CE) program was very well-attended with 160 practicing optometrists from across Canada coming together for the occasion.  We had a variety of exciting guest speakers including Drs. John Flanagan, Jeff Walline, David Lederer and Marc Bloomenstein who covered topics from glaucoma, to dry eye, myopia and OCT’s.  We also had top calibre speakers for our named lectures which featured Bobier Lecture honoree, Dr. John Dowling and Woodruff Lecture honoree, Dr. Susan Vitale.

During the conference, we highlighted our Vision Science research program with a poster session which saw over 28 submissions.  It was a wonderful showcase of some of our innovative research and gave attendees the opportunity to ask questions and discuss projects with the graduate students.

The Optometric Assistants program had 46 people in attendance with Yvan Bertrand leading an excellent program on eyes and the increasing use of digital devices, changing patient needs, myopia, sunwear, and contact lenses.

Special events that were an addition to the program in honour of the 50th anniversary included a skit night, a celebration gala event and a road hockey tournament.

Skit night has become an annual fixture among our students, who always impress with the skills they bring to the School. This year alumni joined in to provide some “blasts from the past”, as well as live skits by our students, and even a few faculty!  Thank you to the Class of 1979 for putting on their “Count Macula” skit, featuring Fovea to the Class of 2011 and the Class of 1996 for submitting videos.  Last years winners, the second year Eyelumati’s treated everyone to an entertaining dance number. 

The Saturday evening gala was a spectacular event at the Inn of Waterloo, with over 250 people in attendance. We had an opportunity to celebrate our alumni of honor awards with all recipients being present. 

Congratulations again to:

  • George Woo, OD
  • Graham Strong
  • Susan Cooper
  • Bill Bobier
  • Scott Mundle
  • Derek MacDonald
  • Andy Hartwick
  • Cheryl Bayer

Dr. Jake Sivak presented an overview of the School’s history with the audience, and an article that he and Dr. Bill Bobier wrote for the occasion can be found here.  Dr. Larry DeLucas, the only optometrist to ever travel to space, entertained us with stories from his time on the space shuttle. And to wrap up the event there was a dance and music provided by the Lost Faculties, who reunited for the occasion.

The Class of 1967 had a spectacular showing at the Gala and we were proud to have them there with us!  We also had a few from 1968.  It was truly special to celebrate our 50th with them, as they celebrated their own class anniversary.

Sunday wrapped up with a road hockey tournament in the extreme heat!  There were four teams made up of students, faculty, staff and alumni.  The winning team was made up of Gary Watson, Andy Hartwick, Jim Davidson, Vivian Choh, Elias Nour and Sierra Thom.  It may have been hot, but everyone had a great time! 

Successful events like this don't come together easily; they happen because of the hard work and involvement of a large group of people. I would like to extend my thanks to all the students, faculty, staff, and retirees and alumni, corporate partners and friends who made this a success”, says Continuing Education (CE) Chair, Dr. Debbie Jones.

We were thrilled that people travelled from across the country to help mark this important occasion with us.  We even had a few from the US and Hong Kong!  Thank you to everyone who took part in this weekend and to everyone who has been part of the festivities leading up to our 50th weekend.

Three of the ladies who make this event a success each year

Debbie Jones (Continuing Education Chair), Elizabeth Reidt (Professional Services Coordinator) and Anne Weber (now retired staff but who still volunteers each year!)

To round out the year, we will host the Canadian Alumni Reception at the American Academy of Optometry, October 13th at the Palmer House in Chicago, a second public education event later this Fall and will host the Canadian Vision Science Research conference from December 7-9, 2017.  So stay tuned and join us if you can!

Lastly, we would like to extend a particularly big Thank You to our corporate sponsors. Your support made all of this possible!!  It is an honour to have such strong relationship and partnership with the profession.

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