Marc Jacobson, MMS ‘21
, was well aware of his family’s legacy. Both his grandfather and his great-grandfather had graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) — the University’s founding College.
And, although he took a slightly different path through Salus in the newer Physician Assistant (PA) Studies program, when Marc walked across the stage to receive his diploma at Salus University’s 123rd commencement ceremony Oct. 12, he completed the circle on the third generation of the Jacobson family to graduate from Salus.
“It’s pretty cool to be part of this legacy,” said Marc. “It’s not optometry, but it’s still the Salus name. It’s a great feeling to accomplish what I wanted to do for so long and also be a part of that legacy is pretty awesome.”
That legacy started with Marc’s great-grandfather Leo Jacobson, OD ‘38
, who graduated from what was then called the Pennsylvania State College of Optometry (PSCO).The name was later shortened in 1964. Leo’s son and Marc’s grandfather, Jeffrey Jacobson, OD ‘68
, followed in his father’s footsteps and also became an optometrist. There was also a family connection on Dr. Jeffrey Jacobson’s mother’s side. Her brother, Bernard Sherman, OD ‘38
, was also a PSCO graduate.
“I had the same interests my father had. I was good in math and sciences,” said Dr. Jeffrey Jacobson, whose wife Rozanne graduated from Albert Einstein Medical Center as a registered nurse. The couple married in 1967 and Rozanne worked to support the couple while Dr. Jacobson finished his education at PCO. “And, I had a good opportunity. My father had a practice of 30 years in Rhode Island and I was coming out of school. He was getting in his late 60s and I thought, I don’t have to build a practice, I can just go into one.”
After a stint in the Army, Dr. Jacobson joined his father’s practice, initially conducting lab work and doing eye exams on new patients that came into the office.
“Initially I would see only new patients,” said Dr. Jacobson. “But my father used to go to Florida every winter, so I’d have the office to myself and I’d see everybody that came in.”
Dr. Jacobson worked in that office until 2003 before selling the practice. He then worked at Vision Works for several years before retiring in 2016. The family then skipped a generation at PCO/Salus when Seth Jacobson, son of Jeffrey and Rozanne and father of Marc, opted to become cardiologist.
Dr. Jeffrey Jacobson said he didn’t advise his grandson specifically about going into optometry, but he did praise the University for providing a quality education.
“It’s not the same as when I was there, it’s a much bigger institution now,” said Dr. Jacobson. “I told him it was educationally oriented. A lot of optometry schools in my time were more about making glasses and doing eye examinations, but were not medically oriented.”
The University’s expansion into other health sciences, particularly the PA program, is what attracted Marc Jacobson to Salus.
“I’ve always been interested in sports medicine and orthopedics, so I had the idea going into school that I wanted to specialize in those areas,” said Marc.
After graduation, he plans on returning home to Rochester, New York, where he has a job with an outpatient orthopedic group in the Rochester Regional Health System.
As far as his relationship with his grandfather, Marc said the two share some outside interests, particularly playing tennis. Marc was a tennis player in high school and Dr. Jeffrey Jacobson still plays.
“Growing up in Rochester, we didn’t see each other as much as our other grandparents. My grandparents are from Rhode Island, but we always went up there for Thanksgiving and we’d go to Ocean City, New Jersey, in the summers with the family,” said Marc. “My grandparents have been very supportive. They always liked to come to my tennis matches and soccer games.”
And, they wouldn’t have missed seeing Marc go through the Long White Coat ceremony and graduate with his classmates.
“It’s a wonderful family gathering,” said dad Seth Jacobson, MD. “It’s great to see my father back here at the institution where he trained and spent so many years practicing optometry. And, it’s great to see my son taking a different approach and going into the PA profession. I’m really excited for him to start his career.”