Later this month, the College will celebrate its 41st commencement at the Hudson Theatre in New York City. For our graduates, this time of year is always filled with a mixture of excitement about their accomplishments as well as anticipation about what the future will hold.
While many of you are probably well aware of the rigors of an optometric education—the hours of didactic and clinical work that are involved in order to gain the knowledge and skill necessary to be an exceptional practitioner—our work at the College must extend far beyond this. While we will always strive to provide the very best classroom and clinical experience available, in recent years we have worked to deliver even more than that to our students.
As many of you know from first-hand experience, building a successful and fulfilling optometric career requires far more than clinical knowledge and skill. Over the last few years, the College has made an ongoing and concerted effort to expand the career development and leadership opportunities that we offer to our students. In 2012 we established our Career Development Center which hosts a distinctive annual career symposium as well as an innovative mentoring program, one-on-one career counseling, networking events and more. In 2013 we introduced a first-of-its-kind partnership with Empire State College to offer our students an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Optometry Business Management leading to an MBA and providing them with a way to learn even more about the business of health care. And, of course, we have our growing MS and PhD programs in Vision Science as well.
We encourage our students to take on leadership roles in College clubs and committees as well as within a variety of professional organizations. We regularly welcome alumni and other professionals to the College to speak to our students about their own experiences or to provide useful advice about finances and other practical information. We also work to incorporate new technology into our curriculum as well as to inspire innovative thinking.
These are just a few of the things that we've done recently to support the career development of our students and alumni. Our goal is to ensure that at least 90 percent of our alumni are in positions of choice within five years of graduating. We take this goal very seriously and we’re working hard—in the classroom, clinic and well beyond—to ensure that we achieve it.
Congratulations to the Class of 2015 as they embark on their future.
David A. Heath, OD, EdM
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