Harry Kaplan, OD, FAAO, Class of 1949 graduate and faculty member since 1964, has retired after 52 years of service to Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO)
and Salus University.
A nationally recognized contact lens specialist, Dr. Kaplan was also a researcher and investigator for a number of corporations over the years, in addition to teaching and owning his own practice in Philadelphia. From 1949 to his appointment in 1964, Dr. Kaplan also was a visiting lecturer at PCO, and a special lecturer on contact lenses to PCO fourth year students beginning in 1959.
An assistant professor, Dr. Kaplan and Ms. Janice Mignogna, FAAO, director of the College’s Irving Bennett Practice Management Center, were two of a small group of national optometric practice appraisers who were available to travel around the country to appraise optometry practices that were being sold or bought.
In 1985, Dr. Kaplan established a PCO fundraising event that continues today. The annual “I” Care Raffle supports the University’s educational and clinical programs, including The Eye Institute and Pennsylvania Ear Institute, allowing Salus to provide necessary treatment to patients in need, while giving Salus students essential educational experiences. Since the raffle’s inception 31 years ago, Dr. Kaplan’s brainchild has raised more than $774,000.
Dr. Kaplan with 1987 "I"Care Raffle
The list of Dr. Kaplan’s awards, professional memberships and offices held are long. To mention just a few, he is a former president of: Philadelphia County Optometric Society; Pennsylvania Optometric Association; PCO Alumni Association and Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Optometry. He received the PCO President’s Medal at the College’s 75th anniversary celebration in 1995; the Albert Fitch Alumnus of the Year Award in 1976; and a Salus University Special Recognition Award in 2013. Dr. Kaplan also served on the PCO Board of Trustees from 1963-1964 and again from 1982-1983.
As most optometry students and alumni are aware, Dr. A. Algernon Phillips ’69 founded SOSH (Students in Optometric Service to Humanity) while a third year student at PCO. What most do not know is that Dr. Kaplan was the first SOSH faculty advisor and accompanied the then Mr. Phillips and his fellow students to Haiti. In 2009, Dr. Phillips was invited on campus by SOSH students who had just returned from Haiti and wanted to share their photos with him and with Dr. Kaplan.
Dr. Kaplan and his wife, Mae, raised their three daughters and son in Elkins Park. They celebrated their 60th anniversary in 2015.
In addition to being a font of institutional historical knowledge and a source of wonderful stories, Harry Kaplan has been a staunch proponent of optometry, PCO and now Salus University. He has advised, mentored and taught countless students over the years, and to see him with former students and colleagues at reunions is to see how much he meant to everyone and to see clearly their love and respect for Dr. Kaplan.
Thank you, Dr. Kaplan, for your commitment, your friendship and your knowledge. You have given the PCO/Salus community so much over the years. We appreciate all that you have done and wish you and your beloved Mae the very best in the coming years!
Photo from the 1949 yearbook: in this group photo of the Omicron Delta Epsilon fraternity, Dr. Kaplan is second from right in the first row. His classmate and lifelong friend, Marty Hafter, is fourth from left in the second row.
(The University’s Hafter Student Community Center is named after Dr. and Mrs. Hafter, who were major contributors to PCO).