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sixteenth Annual Fundraiser honors founder dr. susan oleszewski

Dr. O at the podiumThe Salus University stars came out for the 16th annual Looking Out for Kids (LOFK) charity fundraising gala, not only to support the LOFK program but to honor one of their own, Susan Dr. O. Oleszewski, OD ‘76, Resident ‘78, MA, FAAO, as the 2023 Lighthouse Award winner. 

Several of the University giants were in attendance, including current president Michael H. Mittelman, OD ‘80, MPH, MBA, FAAO, FACHEThomas Lewis, OD ‘70, Phd, FAAO, president emeritus of Salus; Lorraine Lombardi, PhD, professor emeritus who served the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University for 50 years; Anthony Di Stefano, OD ‘73, MEd, MPH, FAAO, FCOptom (Hon), emeritus vice president of Academic Affairs; Jeffrey Nyman, OD, FAAO, and Neal Nyman, OD, who have contributed to the advancement of both optometric education and the profession, as well as the careers of more than 7,000 former students and residents; and many others.

The event, held Nov. 11, 2023, at Switch House At The Battery in Philadelphia, included a silent auction where supporters could bid via their phone and attracted approximately 240 attendees. But the brightest star on this night was Dr. O., founder of Looking Out for Kids and driving force behind the program’s mission to ensure that no child is left behind due to vision or hearing problems. 

“It was a very special night. Seeing my former colleagues and so many friends and supporters, former students, it was rewarding and heartwarming,” said Dr. O. “It’s really wonderful to see LOFK has transformed into something that is serving so many more kids. It's very gratifying to know that I’ve had a few good ideas in my time and this one was one of my better ones.”

The Lighthouse Award is given to those who are considered beacons of light and sources of strength in the community in which they live, work, and serve above and beyond their occupations. Recipients are honored for their extraordinary service that substantially benefits the health and well-being of disadvantaged and underserved children and youth in the greater Philadelphia area.

Drs. Di Stefano & ODr. Di Stefano, who presented the award to Dr. O., said he was a little nervous prior to the presentation because he wanted to make sure he found the right words to describe Dr. O.

“It was a high honor to present Sue with this award. She’s a dear friend, colleague and co-conspirator in many ways,” said Dr. Di Stefano. “It’s difficult to find the right words when you’re talking about Sue, her role and her impact on LOFK. Her presence makes a difference in so many ways, beyond the obvious impact on kids and schools. She also has a high impact on giving. She’s resourceful, she’s persistent and she’s not afraid to fight.”

The accolades for Dr. O. were plentiful. Dr. Mittelman called her “a beacon of light in our community” and added that “Her work has embodied the very essence of our Looking Out for Kids mission to ensure every child has the chance to hear and see the world.”

Dr. Lombardi said she was happy that Dr. O. got recognized in such a wonderful way. “She deserves it. Over the years, I remember all the things she did for LOFK and what fun we used to have,” said Dr. Lombardi.

Sponsors included:


National Vision logo


Towers at Wyncote logo



conicelli toyota conshy logo

E.B. O'Reilly logo


Blackney Hayes Architects

Brass Lock & Key logo
cooper vision logo

Elevator Construction & Repair Co. Inc.


General Vision Services logo

mid atlantic retina

narx logo


sharp's landscaping logo

signia logo


stevens & lee logo

T3 Construction logo

TD Bank Logo

Topcon logo

webber associates logo