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History of Salus/PCO


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.

1941 - Board


PSCO is accredited by the Council on Optometric Education.


Indiana becomes the first state not to prohibit optometrists from using diagnostic pharmaceutical agents.



Lawrence Fitch, OD ‘36, son of Albert Fitch, becomes the College’s dean. PSCO entrance requirements are raised to include one year of pre-optometric college credits.

Who's Who: Lawrence Fitch, OD '36
1949 - Contact Lens


PSCO is the first college or school of optometry to offer a contact lens course for practitioners, currently known as continuing education. Contact lenses are incorporated into the curriculum and the College opens a contact lens clinic - the first such facility in any college or school of optometry.