Salus University Alumni Association Awards

The Salus University Alumni Association annually recognizes the professional contributions and achievements of graduates and friends of the institution. Awardees are nominated by alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of Salus. Awardees will be announced in February of 2019.

2018 Award Recipients: 

Jennifer M. Heibel, MMS '15, PA-C: Physician Assistant Alumna of the Year
Jennifer M. Heibel, MMS '15, PA-C: Physician Assistant Alumna of the YearJennifer M. Heibel, MMS ’15, PA-C, graduated with high honors from the University’s Physician Assistant Studies program and has already made remarkable progress in creating a career of meaning. With her contagious energy, quick wit, compassion, and impeccable interpersonal skills, Heibel is a strong member of the palliative medicine team at the Mayo Clinic Health System (MCHS) in Mankato, Minn. As a palliative medicine provider; Heibel’s goal is to ensure her patients are not viewed as their conditions but as unique individuals. On a daily basis, she is challenged to ensure the management of symptoms and optimization of medications for her patients with life-limiting illnesses. She also provides education on disease as well as the trajectory of medical conditions which allows her patients to make informed decisions regarding their medical care. Heibel’s passion for helping patients and their loved ones in difficult times extends beyond her duties as a physician assistant. Last year, she founded a non-profit service known as “ReMEmber” (pronounced Remember Me). Through her service, she provides guidance in composing letters and other personalized projects in an effort to “capture an unwavering expression of love that lasts beyond the final breath.” In recognition of her outstanding achievement, humanistic contribution, service and dedication to the physician assistant profession, the Salus University Alumni Association is thrilled to name Jennifer M. Heibel, MMS ’15, PA-C, the 2018 Physician Assistant Alumna of the Year.
David R. McPhillips, OD ’85, FAAO, FVI: Albert Fitch Memorial Alumnus of the Year
McPhillipsAfter earning his Doctor of Optometry degree from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Dr. David McPhillips served the Horsham, Pa. community through his private practice for 24 years. He also has had a long time commitment to international humanitarian work, which initially started as he travelled on his first Haiti trip with Students in Optometric Service to Humanity (SOSH) as a student in 1984. He went on to cofound the Pennsylvania chapter of Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH), participating in over 50 missions himself and serving as the president of VOSH International from 2013-2015. Wanting to find a more sustainable solution for vision care in Haiti, Dr. McPhillips has recently been involved in developing and supporting permanent eye clinics in Haiti (as well as Guatemala) and has been instrumental in working with the medical school in Haiti to implement the country’s first optometric program which is now accepting students. Active in professional optometry, he has served as president of the Pennsylvania Optometric Association and has been involved with the American Optometric Association, American Academy of Optometry, and the Philadelphia and Montgomery County Optometric Associations. In recognition of his tremendous commitment and dedication to improving eye care in Haiti and professional optometry, it is with pride that the Salus University Alumni Association name David R. McPhillips, OD, FAAO, FVI ’85, the Albert Fitch Memorial Alumnus of the Year.
Sister Lisa Ann Lettiere, IHM, MEd ’00, TVI, COMS: Blindness and Low Vision Studies Alumna of the Year
SisterSister Lettiere received her Master’s degree in Education in Blindness and Visual Impairment from Salus University, as well as a certificate in the University’s Orientation and Mobility program. She is the principal of Saint Lucy Day School for Children with Visual Impairments where she works tirelessly to ensure her students’ success.  This past August when she was unable to recruit a middle school teacher in time for the start of the school year, she stepped into the role while also maintaining her administrative role as principal. Prior to becoming principal at St. Lucy’s, she taught every grade from first through eighth. In recognition of her commitment to the success of her students, the Salus University Alumni Association is proud to award Sister Lisa Ann Lettiere with the Blindness and Low Vision Studies Alumna of the Year award. 
Angela M. Morris, AuD ’03: Audiology Alumna of the Year Award
AngelaDr. Angela Morris obtained her Master of Science in Communication Disorders/Audiology from the University of Louisville in 1999 and completed her Doctorate of Audiology at the University’s Osborne College of Audiology in 2003.  A strong advocate of the Osborne College of Audiology, she recently served on the Class of 2003 committee soliciting classmates for contributions to dedicate a campus bench in memory of Dr. Osborne and in honor of the class of 2003. Her numerous leadership roles for state and national professional organizations have included being president of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) and president of the Kentucky Academy of Audiology. Dr. Morris was recently elected to the National Academies of Practice, in which she will be installed at the annual conference later this year. She remains on the Executive Board for the ADA as immediate past president and serves on additional ADA committees. She is also a current board member of The Audiology Project.  An active member of her local community, she has been an elected School Board member for Corbin Independent School System, a cub Scout Leader, and a member of the Kiwanis Club, Chamber of Commerce, and Leadership Tri County and Leadership East Kentucky. She recently sold her successful private practice of 14 years in Corbin, Ky. and has moved with her husband to Illinois. In recognition of her leadership in and advocacy for the profession of audiology, Salus University is proud to name Dr. Morris the Audiology Alumna of the Year.
Lorraine Lombardi, PhD: Distinguished Service Award
Lorraine LombardiDr. Lorraine Lombardi has served this institution for 50 years – she joined the Pennsylvania College of Optometry as a faculty member in 1968. She currently holds the rank of professor emerita and has served in numerous administrative roles, as associate dean for Faculty Affairs and most recently interim dean of the University’s College of Health Sciences. She worked closely with Dr. Gilda Crozier to construct PCO’s integrated biological science curriculum of the 70s and 80s, which ensured PCO provided the underpinning for training full scope optometric providers. Through her career at PCO she taught and influenced the careers of over 7,000 optometric graduates, as well as hundreds of students in the University’s Physician Assistant Studies, Speech-Language Pathology, Audiology and Occupational Therapy programs in addition to being an effective educator in the international programs. Consistently acknowledged by her students year after year with the annual teaching award, she has mentored many. At this year’s meeting, she was the recipient of the American Academy of Optometry’s Michael G. Harris Award for Excellence in Optometric Education. In her role as dean of faculty, she has counseled many junior faculty members through the tenure and promotions process, often serving as counselor as they struggled with students or colleague conflicts. In recognition of her outstanding service to Salus University and the thousands of students and faculty members she has influenced, Salus University Alumni Association is proud to award Dr. Lombardi with the Distinguished Service Award.
Susan C. Oleszewski, OD ’76, MA, FAAO: Special Recognition Award
Dr. Sue ODr. Susan Oleszewski has demonstrated a career-long dedication to the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) and Salus University, serving with distinction in multiple leadership roles. In her 40 years at the institution she has served in the following roles: The Eye Institute (TEI) resident, clinical instructor, chief for Primary Care Module 5, director of Clinical Services at TEI, associate dean for Clinical Sciences at PCO, vice president and executive director for Patient Care Services, chief of staff and compliance officer, and most recently vice president for Institutional Advancement and Community Relations. A champion for children’s vision care, Dr. Oleszewski founded the University’s Looking Out for Kids (LOFK) initiative which has raised well over $600,000 since its inception in 2007. The LOFK funds are used to provide vision care and eyeglasses to economically disadvantaged children in Philadelphia and its surrounding communities. Dr. Oleszewski has spearheaded numerous initiatives to honor the legacy of individuals who have helped shape the institution. In 1990, she organized the first Excellence in Education Conference to support TEI residents.  Eventually the Excellence in Education Conference was renamed the Dr. Joseph Toland Excellence in Education Conference. As an appropriate way to honor Dr. Joseph Toland’s contributions, in 2014 she spearheaded a campaign to aptly name TEI’s classroom - the “Toland Classroom”. Two years later, with the passing of Dr. Toland, she passionately fundraised to endow the Joseph C. Toland Scholarship. Most recently, to honor the 50-year teaching legacy of Dr. Lorraine Lombardi, she is currently fundraising to name the largest classroom on the Elkins Park Campus, the “Lombardi Classroom”.  
Dr. Oleszewski has been an exceptional role model for many female colleagues, having entered optometry more than 40 years ago when optometry was a male dominated profession. Having executed all of her roles and initiatives at this institution with dedication, passion and distinction, the Salus University Alumni Association proudly awards Dr. Oleszewski with the Special Recognition Award.

Guidelines for Nominations

  • Academic degrees earned (include granting institutions and date)
  • Other positions held and relevant experience
  • Ways in which nominee has distinguished his/herself in chosen field
  • Ways in which nominee has supported his/her college and/or the University
  • Ways in which nominee has represented the college and/or University via his/her achievements
  • Ways in which nominee's PCO/Salus University education/degree has helped him/her in chosen career
  • Examples of nominee’s civic involvement and/or displays of personal and professional integrity
  • Honors attained
  • Provide any other information which supports why the nominee is deserving of the indicated Award, and why such an award is appropriate. If relevant, please describe how the nominee has overcome an unusual adversity.
Please complete the nomination form(s) providing as much of the requested information as possible. | Method of Nomination and Selection (PDF)

Alumni Awards     

Albert Fitch Memorial Alumnus of the Year

This award is presented to an alumnus of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry who has distinguished himself/herself through extraordinary service and contributions to the profession of optometry, bringing honor and prestige to the College.

Audiology Alumnus of the Year Award

This award is presented to an alumnus/a of the Salus University George S. Osborne College of Audiology (OCA) or the PCO School of Audiology who has distinguished himself/herself through extraordinary service and contributions to the profession of Audiology, bringing honor and prestige to Salus University and OCA.

Blindness and Low Vision Studies Alumnus of the Year

This award is presented to an alumnus of the Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies at Salus University who has distinguished himself/herself through extraordinary service and contributions to the field of Blindness and Low Vision Education and Rehabilitation, bringing honor and prestige to Salus University.

Distinguished Service Award 

This award is presented to a non-alumnus/a who is closely identified with Salus University and who has provided notable service to the University and their profession.

Physician Assistant Alumnus of the Year

This award is presented to an alumnus of the Salus University physician assistant program who has distinguished himself/herself through extraordinary service and contributions to the physician assistant profession, bringing honor and prestige to Salus University.

Public Service Award 

This award is presented to a person (or organization), preferably of national standing, who (which) has made a recent significant contribution to Salus University or to their profession. 

Special Recognition Award

 This award is presented as special recognition of an individual's or organization's contribution to Salus University, their profession or their community.