Who's Who: Lawrence Fitch, OD '36
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Who's Who: Lawrence Fitch, OD '36

Who's Who: Lawrence Fitch, OD '36
President, Pennsylvania College of Optometry – 1960-1972  

Lawrence FitchThe Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) owes a great deal of success to Lawrence Fitch, OD ’36. Son of PCO’s founder, Albert Fitch, Dr. Lawrence Fitch went on to make his father’s dream of a well-respected College of optometry a reality.

A highly accomplished graduate of PCO, Dr. Fitch owned an Optometry practice in Newton, Pa., before returning to PCO in 1949 as the College’s dean.

One of his earliest accomplishments as dean was to raise PCO’s entrance requirements to include one year of pre-optometric college credits, therefore also raising the prestige of the University.

Dr. Fitch was appointed as president of the University from 1960 to 1972, with a legacy that includes heightening PCO’s reputation, thereby raising the standards of optometric education, a major expansion in facilities and increasing student enrollment. He was also known to donate cartons of books and supplies to the College library.

He played a large role in making the College the first independent health professions institution to receive regional accreditation. It was during his presidency that the College received its initial financial support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, making it the first and only independent school or college of optometry to receive this type of state funding.

Dr. Fitch received the Alumnus of the Year Award in 1964 and the Alumni Special Recognition Award in 1979.  Dr. Fitch passed away on September 25, 1980 but was nominated posthumously for the Presidential Medal of Honor for Service to PCO at the 75th Anniversary Gala celebration in 1995. 

Lawrence Fitch teaching a student