April 2015

We live in what could easily be called a golden age for innovation. It has become a true driving force behind much of this generation’s success.  For example, in the span of just one decade, companies like Apple, Google and Facebook have become some of the most revered (and valuable) in the world largely on the strength of their ability to innovate.

Innovation is also one of SUNY Optometry’s community values and we work hard to foster an environment that encourages and supports innovative thinking. That’s why I am pleased to announce that at last month’s Vision Expo East, Essilor USA and Jobson’s Rick Bay Foundation for Excellence in Eyecare Education announced a partnership with the College that will directly reward our students for their ingenuity. The “Essilor Innovation Scholarship,” will be awarded for the first time next spring to a student (or team of students) who win what we expect will be an exciting and unique College-wide contest.

This “Shark Tank”-inspired competition—involving an expert panel of judges—will  reward the most creative, innovative and feasible idea that our students can come up with.  And the ideas won’t be limited in scope either. From vital research to innovations that improve patient care; from technological developments to enhancements in practice management, the sky’s the limit and all ideas will be welcome.

While we certainly want this competition to be fun, we’re also taking it very seriously. Our goal is to challenge our students to dream big and to find a way to make that dream a reality. We not only want our students to think about what the future of optometry and health care will look like, we want them to lead the way to that future. The “Essilor Innovation Scholarship” will help us drive this essential point home to our students and reward their success along the way.

I’m looking forward to an exciting and spirited competition!


David A. Heath, OD, EdM


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