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History of Salus/PCO

History

Today the University is a diversified, globally recognized, health professions university that offers a wide range of accredited post-graduate and professional degree programs. Currently, the University has more than 1,200 students and more than 14,000 alumni worldwide. 
 
PCO founder, Dr. Albert Fitch, was considered a visionary by his peers and a revolutionary by others in the healthcare community. His goal in establishing the Pennsylvania State College of Optometry (our original name) as a nonprofit educational institution in 1919 was to create a professional school of optometry comparable to those of medicine and dentistry. His desire was to “obtain a higher standard of proficiency and to enlighten the public mind on the subject and science of optometry and its relationship to the conservation of vision.” That desire to set and maintain a higher standard of education is evident today at Salus University, where the institution continues to break new ground with creative and innovative curricula for all of its degree programs. 
 
The name Salus University may still be young, however, the history and reputation of our founding institution - the Pennsylvania College of Optometry - is known and respected around the world. Changes in the nation’s healthcare delivery system are significantly altering every facet of our diversified medical and health science professions. Central to the Salus mission is keeping pace with the rapidly expanding healthcare issues, setting national trends and standards and being the leader in providing the nation’s top health science, education and rehabilitation professionals.
 

1960

1960

Dr. Albert Fitch dies and his son, Dr. Lawrence Fitch, ’36 becomes the second president of PSCO. His legacy includes an exceptional time of growth, including an expanded general optometric clinic and the construction of new College facilities on the Oak Lane campus (1970), (eventually Fitch and Crozier Hall) and the College’s first apartment houses, Powell Hall (1967) and Wentka Hall (1973). The new administrative and classroom facilities replace the stately gray stone building that was fondly known as “Old Main.”

1961

The College receives its first appropriation from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The College becomes the first independent optometry college to receive financial aid through legislation.

1963

1963

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania approves the awarding of the Honorary Doctor of Science degree.

1964 new name

1964

The Pennsylvania State College of Optometry changes its name to Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO).

1966

1966

PCO opens a second optometric clinic at 5601 N. Broad Street. The two clinical Facilities - Spring Garden Street and the North Broad Street clinics - provide greatly enhanced general optometric services, as well as contact lens and low vision services.

1967

1967

The first student apartment house, Powell Hall, opens.

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