75th Celebration

The Power of 100 Years: Centennial Kickoff

75th InviteTomorrow marks six months until our Centennial Gala on April 27, 2019, which will be held at the Hilton Philadelphia at Penn's Landing – the city’s only waterfront hotel. As we look back on the University's founding college, the Pennsylvania College of Optometry's (PCO) initial 100 years, we want to reflect on the success and fun that was had at the 75th Anniversary Kickoff Event in November of 1994 and the Anniversary Gala in May of 1995. 

Tommy Lasorda leads the Pennsylvania College of Optometry’s
75th Anniversary Kickoff
Circa Winter 1994/1995

It was standing room only on November 10, 1994 at Hotel Atop the Bellevue as Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda spoke passionately about “Partners for Child Achievement” and urged members of the audience to join him supporting the treatment of needy youngsters with learning disabilities.  At PCO’s Diamond Anniversary kickoff ceremonies, Lasorda kept guests spellbound with reminiscences about his baseball experiences and topped off his presentation by introducing five youngsters who will be sponsored in his name in the Partners Program at The Learning Center.  Two students spoke to a hushed audience about how Partners changed their lives and turned their dreams about learning and doing well in school into realities. 

Field-of-Dreams-Luncheon-Full-Inside.jpgThe Partners for Child Achievement program helps fund the treatment of children with learning disabilities by pairing youngsters in need with “partners” (corporations, foundations, or private individuals) who may sponsor one or more children.

As master of ceremonies, Phillies broadcaster Chris Wheeler kept the ball rolling at the “Field of Dreams” luncheon.  Finalist awards for the Vision and Learning Poster Contest, sponsored by the College in honor of its anniversary, were presented by Dick Perez of Perez Steele Galleries and official artist for the Phillies.  Poster contest entries came from the School District of Philadelphia, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia School System and the Police Athletic League.  

75th Gala Weekend Rousing Success
Circa Fall 1995  

It was time for remembering, a time for renewing old friendships, a time for meeting new friends - a time for making memories.  Alumni, faculty, students, and friends of PCO came together over the weekend of May 19-21 to celebrate the College’s 75th Anniversary.  Alumni participated in record numbers and responded enthusiastically to the festivities.  The weekend, culminating in commencement exercises on Sunday, May 21, included Continuing Education, a luncheon for alumni and faculty, tours of the campus, and a Gala evening at the Hotel Atop the Bellevue in Philadelphia. 

The weekend’s activities began on Friday with the introduction of two sessions of Continuing Education.  More than 120 alumni and past and present faculty gathered for the Faculty/Alumni Luncheon on Saturday.  The annual “I” Care Raffle drawing was held with nine participants winning cash prizes.  Alumni also had the opportunity to tour the campus to see the latest in optometric education. 

75th Gala Celebration

The Gala evening, held at the Hotel Atop the Bellevue, was a major highlight of the weekend with attendance well over 500. There, alumni, faculty, and friends of the College joined together to pay tribute to 75 men and women who have made a significant contribution to PCO and optometry – these individuals were awarded the President’s Medals.  The evening kicked off with a reception followed by dinner, dancing, and entertainment from the Billy Wilson Orchestra and the Broadway Exchange, a musical revue. 

For graduating students and their friends and families, commencement exercises on Sunday topped the weekend.  Joining graduates this year were members of the first class from the College’s Center for International Studies.  Spanish optometrists were the first international students to receive their Master of Science in Clinical Optometry degrees.  Fifty-six alumni class representatives also marched in the commencement procession.  Giuseppi Grimaldi, MD, president of the International Association of Lions Clubs, received PCO’s Honorary Doctor of Science degree and delivered the commencement address.

Centennial Invite