A recent online event that premiered on the evening of Nov. 13 provided the virtual venue for the University’s 2020 Presidential Medal of Honor Awards ceremony, proving innovation continues at Salus despite the
global “pause” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Acceptance remarks given by award recipients followed a warm welcome from President Michael Mittelman, OD ‘80, MPH, MBA, FAAO, FACHE,
who recognized the significant impact each honoree has made on the history of the institution.
“These medals really delineate the accomplishments of people who graduated first from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry and now from Salus University,” Dr. Mittelman said. “And, these are very special people. They are people who have really made outstanding contributions to the University, specific program or College, but, most importantly, to the professions they serve.”
The Presidential Awards are among the highest honors bestowed by the University, distinguishing faculty and alumni work that extends well beyond its campus. In accepting her award, Fern Silverman, EdD, OTR/L,
associate professor of Occupational Therapy (OT)
and assistant director of the Doctoral Program in Occupational Therapy (OTD)
, expressed gratitude to “the Salus family.”
“It is an honor to be receiving this medal, and it has really been a privilege for me to work at Salus, helping to support its mission of improving the health and wellness of everybody in the community,” Dr. Silverman said. “When I came to Salus, I knew that I'd be working with a lot of highly trained scholars who are wonderful clinicians. What I didn't know was that I would meet so many wonderful colleagues and make so many dear friends.”
Following Dr. Silverman’s remarks, Victor Hugo Bray, MSc, PhD, FNAP,
associate professor of Audiology, attributed his award to the support of his peers.
“Nobody is recognized for something like this in isolation. It's always built around teams collaborating,” Dr. Bray said. “We're very fortunate in the College of Audiology for the faculty who've been there to grow the program. We have staff supporting us and helping us achieve our goals, administrators outside of the College who have nurtured us along and allowed us to bloom and grow. And, of course, our many students who have had the courage to come here and take on a new, powerful and very hard curriculum designed for the future of audiology.”
Neal Nyman, OD, BS,
an associate professor at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO)
for 33 years before he retired in 2018, took cues from a speech given by the late TV personality, Mister Rogers, remembering all of his family, loved ones and colleagues who helped him along the way.
“When I think about all of these people who have helped me, and, as I say, have loved me into being, some of whom are here and some in Heaven, as Mister Rogers would say, I think of how happy and pleased they would be to know that I'm thinking of them now,” Dr. Nyman said. “They helped me to reach this very special point in my life." He ended with a heartfelt thank you for "extending this wonderful honor."
Concluding remarks of the online ceremony given by Andrew Gurwood, OD ‘89, Resident ‘90, FAAO
, PCO/Salus professor of Clinical Sciences and co-chief of Suite 3 at The Eye Institute (TEI),
also echoed the theme of the evening – gratitude.
“Awards are the product of shared efforts and I don't want to accept this award without mentioning all of the people who share the award with me,” Dr. Gurwood said. “I thank you very much for this prestigious honor, and I hope to continue my time here at Salus University being productive.”
In addition, the Alumni Association honored seven notable individuals with the 2020 Alumni Awards which also premiered online
the same day. Awardees reflected on their memories at Salus and expressed their appreciation for the special recognition.