Earlier this year, the American Optometric Association (AOA) National Optometry Hall of Fame
Selection Committee announced four optometrists who will be inducted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame today at a ceremony during Optometry’s Meeting in St. Louis, Mo. University president, Michael H. Mittelman, OD, MPH, MBA, FAAO, FACHE
will be among the four. He will accept his award next year at Optometry’s Meeting 2020 in Washington, D.C.
“I feel extremely honored and humbled to have been selected to join the group of professionals who are part of the National Optometry Hall of Fame,” Dr. Mittelman said. “While it’s my name that is being placed on the plaque, I’d like to dedicate this honor to those men and women in uniform who have served, currently serve and to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure we continue to have the freedoms we all enjoy in this great country today.”
Prior to becoming the University’s sixth president, Dr. Mittelman served with distinction for 33 years in the United States Navy in a succession of increasingly responsible, mission-critical command positions, achieved the rank of Rear Admiral (Upper Half) and served as Deputy Surgeon General. He was a trailblazer for optometry in the military as the first Navy aerospace optometrist, the first optometrist to command a major naval hospital; the first and only clinician to lead the Navy Medical Service Corps; the first non-medical doctor to serve as a combatant command surgeon in the U.S. Pacific Command; and the first non-medical doctor to serve as the command surgeon for the U.S. Joint Forces.
“Over the course of my career, I’ve been lucky enough to serve with the best and brightest our country has to offer – both in the military and now at Salus,” he said. “This honor really belongs to them as well as all those individuals who have surrounded me throughout my careers to include my former military colleagues, my current Salus colleagues and, of course my wonderful family. Without them, I am nothing. Receiving this honor while working at my alma mater makes this even more special.”
Since 1998, Candidates are considered for their national stature, their significant and enduring impact on the profession as well as a full-range of contributions including their professional leadership, community service, and contributions to research.
“Optometry is a profession that truly transforms lives,” Dr. Mittelman said. He is honored to be part of this great profession and selected by peers to be included along with those icons of our profession already included in the National Optometry Hall of Fame. “It’s truly mindboggling to me,” he said. ” I thank you for the recognition of all of our hard work and bestowing this wonderful honor on me.”
Dr. Mittelman is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the American Academy of Optometry. He is a past recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the AOA and of the Armed Forces Optometric Society’s Orion Award.
Fellow 2019 awardees include Murray Fingeret, OD, adjunct professor in the University’s Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO), Donald Jarnagin, OD (posthumously) and Glen Steele, OD
. In 2016, all three recipients were PCO alumni, which included Joseph M. Babcock, Sr., OD ’81, Louis Catania, OD ’69 and Richmond Lewis Scott, OD ’50.