Saturday Spotlight: Presidential Medals Awardees

It takes a special community to ensure that the institution continues to be a leader in health science education.

In 1995, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Salus University’s founding college, the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO), seventy-six people of note were awarded the President’s Medal of Honor. On Friday, April 26, 2019,  thirty-five additional notable individuals will be awarded Presidential Medals to commemorate the 100th anniversary of PCO and the 10th anniversary of Salus.  

Every Saturday leading up to Friday April 26, we will highlight a few of the new awardees.

Gail Gudmundsen, AuD ‘02

Gail-Gudmundsen-AuD.jpegDr. Gail Gudmundsen has devoted decades of service to the profession of audiology. Early in her career, she provided clinical audiology services at the two largest teaching hospitals in Chicago, Ill. She subsequently operated a multi-office audiology private practice for over 20 years. Dr. Gudmundsen has made important contributions to Salus and OCA, both as a former adjunct faculty member and as the first AuD to serve on the Board of Trustees. Dr. Gudmundsen was the first recipient of the Salus University Alumni Association's Audiology Alumna of the Year Award in 2012.

Thomas L. Lewis, OD ‘70, PhD, FAAO

Dr. LewisDr. Thomas Lewis joined the PCO faculty in 1972. By 1979, Dr. Lewis was appointed vice president and dean of Academic Affairs prior to becoming PCO president in 1989 in which he served until 2013. Under his leadership, the institution continued to earn a reputation for excellence in healthcare science. His vision also included many campus facility improvements, including the University’s move to Elkins Park, Pa.; the development and building of the Hafter Student Community Center; and an $11 million renovation of TEI. He also spearheaded PCO to apply for University status with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, so that the newly integrated programs would work in unison under the new umbrella institution of Salus University. He is a past president of the AAO and member of the NBEO and ASCO, as well as the Partnership for Optometric Education. He has received many awards in addition to the Distinguished Service Award from the AOA.

Michael H. Mittelman, OD ’80, MPH, FAAO, FACHE

MittelmanDr. Michael H. Mittelman served with distinction for more than three decades in the United States Navy in a succession of increasingly responsible, mission-critical command positions, and achieving the rank of Rear Admiral (Upper Half) and serving 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. After 33 years, Dr. Mittelman retired from the U.S. Navy, a Rear Admiral and former Deputy Surgeon General, and returned to his alma mater to become Salus University’s  sixth president in 2013. Dr. Mittelman is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the AAO. He is a past recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the AOA and of the Armed Forces Optometric Society’s Orion Award.

George Shepard Osborne, PhD, DDS

George-S-Osborne-photo.jpgDr. George Osborne and PCO established the PCO School of Audiology in 2000. He first created AuD online, a robust and comprehensive program designed specifically as a bridge for licensed and practicing audiologists and was the second largest program in the country. A few weeks after celebrating the graduation of the first class of residential Audiology students, Dr. Osborne died unexpectedly at the age of 66. Shortly after Salus University was established on July 1, 2008, the PCO School of Audiology was renamed the Osborne College of Audiology.  Dr. Osborne was the founder and past president of the Pennsylvania Academy of Audiology; co-founder and past chair of the Audiology Foundation of America; co-founder and director of the AAA; and co-founder and director of the Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education.