Two Cents In: The Salus Coin

DSC01863.JPGThey say you take a little piece of your past with you, and when that past involves more than 30 years in the United States Navy, there’s bound to be some concepts that stick. When president Dr. Michael H. Mittelman arrived at Salus five years ago, he brought with him the concept of “challenge coins.”

A challenge coin is most often a small coin or medallion bearing an organization’s insignia. Traditionally used in the branches of the United States military, but also within organizations, they serve a variety of purposes, which includes being given as a token of appreciation or a unit identifier.

The Salus coin bears the University’s seal and contains a rope border that represents Dr. Mittelman’s naval career. There are two sizes of the coin: the smaller one is given out to special visitors such as legislators and alumni whereas the larger coin is reserved for distinguished honorees, very important persons of the University, and foreign dignitaries.

coin2.jpgSince 2013, the coin has been gifted to notables such as James Hindman, owner of Jiffy Lube® International; Danne Ventura, OD, FAAO, of Essilor of America; 2016 Varilux Optometry Student Bowl national champion Nicole Rist, OD ’16; Louis Catania, OD ’69; Judge from the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Jesse M. Furman; and a hospital in Okinawa, Japan.

The coin makes an appearance on the base of the ceremonial mace, an emblem carried during ceremonial occasions such as commencement. The use of ceremonial maces by educational institutions began in the 17th century. The Pennsylvania College of Optometry – the founding College of Salus University – adopted the mace in 1993 for significant ceremonies.

Additionally, the coin is also represented on Dr. Mittelman’s Chain of Office -  a chain that connects four smaller medallions and banners that honor the four Colleges of the University – which is worn for all commencement ceremonies.