A Letter for 100 Years: Dr. Jerald Strickland, PCO Dean from 1975-1979

Dr-Strickland-honorary-degree-colorphoto.png As a native of Indiana, Dr. Jerald Strickland received his undergraduate (BS), professional (OD) and doctorate degrees (PhD) from Indiana University (IU), Bloomington. He served as an optometry officer in the US Air Force Medical Service Corp for three years before returning to IU for graduate studies. As a doctoral graduate student, he joined the faculty of the IU Division of Optometry and was the assistant director for External Affairs. He then joined the faculty and administration of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) as associate professor and director of the Division of Professional Studies. He served as dean and chief academic officer of PCO from 1975 through 1979 until moving to the University of Houston (UH).
In addition to faculty and administrative roles at UH, he served as dean of the College of Optometry from September 1991 through August 2003. 
In 1995, he was appointed by the Texas Commissioner of Higher Education to the Health Professions Education Advisory Committee to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and also served as president of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry in 1997-98. 
In May 2001, Dr. Strickland was elected as the founding president of the Board of Trustees of the World Optometry Foundation, Inc., in which he also served as vice president until June 2006. 
In August 2003, Dr. Strickland stepped down from the deanship of the UH College of Optometry and from September 2003-2005 he served as interim senior vice chancellor/senior vice president for Academic Affairs and provost of the University of Houston and the UH System. He was once again appointed to the same position in 2008 and served until 2009. In July 2005, Dr. Strickland was appointed associate vice president and associate vice chancellor for International Studies and Programs and the director of the University of Houston Reaffirmation of Accreditation, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Dr. Strickland retired in August 2014 and was appointed professor emeritus of Optometry, the position he currently holds. 
In lieu of attending PCO’s 100th anniversary, Dr. Strickland sent a congratulatory letter to Salus University’s president, Dr. Michael H. Mittelman, which is copied below.

Dear Michael,
My wife, Cecile and I send our hearty congratulations to you, the Board of Trustees, and the Faculty and the Staff on the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Pennsylvania State College of Optometry, the evolution of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) as a first-tier professional college and the subsequent emergence of Salus University as a health science university. Our thoughts are with you and the College and University on this seminal occasion.

Fianl-Crop-Drs-Lewis-Strickland-Kanai,DiStefano-posed.jpgI spent five years at PCO in the mid to late-1970s as a faculty member and administrator and was fortunate to serve with numerous faculty and staff members that touched our hearts and became forever colleagues and friends. Among those forever friends were: Tony Di Stefano, Tom Lewis, John Crozier, George Crozier, Gilda Crozier, Sue Oleszewski, Lorraine Lombardi, Kent Higgins, Pierrette Dayhaw-Barker, Felix Barker, Harry Doyle, Trustee Irving Bennett and numerous others. These folks were always there for me and others to provide advice, counsel and copious constructive criticism. I have also been fortunate to work alongside numerous pioneers in the profession and academic sages who were PSCO graduates, specifically Norman Haffner, Jerome Rosner and Irving Bennett. Indeed, the PSCO and PCO alumni and PCO future alumni look forward to another century of institutional and professional leadership by the College and Salus University, let’s all plan for continued growth and success as the institution enters another phase of professional progress and clinical and scientific success. None of us will be around for the Bicentennial Year for the Pennsylvania College of Optometry but we should all pay it forward to the Endowment Fund and then we can rest assured that the good work of PCO and the other colleges of Salus University will continue to thrive.

Congratulations and all best wishes to you and the PCO Family, we will pay it forward for the future of the institution; and have forwarded to you, a contribution to the PCO Endowment Fund in honor and memory of our many forever friends and colleagues.      

Jerald W. and R. Cecile Strickland

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