"Covet the independence of your profession, embrace your patients and their needs responsibly, and honor the legacy of your profession by staying informed and staying involved," said President-Elect of the American Optometric Association (AOA), Mitchell T. Munson, O.D., to the members of the Class of 2013 at the Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University. "Treasure the efforts put forth on your behalf by organized optometry, and most importantly, let the unique talents that define each of you, shape your career, your path of involvement, and your future."
Dr. Munson addressed the 99 Doctor of Optometry degree candidates at the one-hundred and ninth
Commencement Exercise of the Southern California College of Optometry held on, Thursday, May 23, in Fullerton, CA. SCCO's Class of 2013 includes 99 individuals, including 71 women and 28 men, three of whom are second-generation optometrists.
Ten members of the graduating class have earned Summa Cum Laude honors; 18 earned Magna Cum Laude honors; and 18 students attained Cum Laude recognition. The new Doctors of Optometry represent 19 states and Canada. In addition to California, the states include: Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. Overall, they have completed 66 classes totaling 236-quarter units.
The Class of 2013 Valedictorian, Mallori B. Aschenbrenner, B.A., is a native of Minot, ND, where she earned her undergraduate degree in biology from Minot State University. As a fourth-year student at SCCO, Dr. Aschenbrenner gained clinical experience at the College's Eye Care Center in Fullerton and Optometric Center of Los Angeles; the Veteran's Administration Southern Nevada Healthcare System in Las Vegas, NV; and Southwestern Eye Center in Casa Grande, AZ.
In June 2012 it was announced that Dr. Aschenbrenner had received the highest score in the country on the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) Part I Applied Basic Science Examination. Overall, 1,811 candidates took the exam. She has been the recipient of multiple scholarships for academic achievement, participated as an Ambassador for SCCO's Student Affairs Office, and assisted other students as a tutor and teaching assistant. Dr. Aschenbrenner plans to practice optometry with her sister and SCCO alumnus Lindsay Loock, O.D., Class of 2008, in Highlands Ranch, CO.
SCCO's first Master of Science degree was awarded to Rachelle J. Lin, M.S., O.D., a member of the Class of 2013 who also received the Doctor of Optometry degree at the May 23 event. Dr. Lin was concurrently enrolled in both programs.
Dr. Munson, who delivered the Commencement Address, "Make the Path Your Own," is a graduate of SCCO's Class of 1986. During the event he received the Distinguished Service Award for his service and contributions over time that have advanced the stature and integrity of the College. He is a partner in a private group optometric practice in Highlands Ranch, CO, which includes his wife and classmate, Susan Brunnett, O.D.
The honorary degree, Doctor of Ocular Science was conferred upon, the President of Salus University Thomas L. Lewis, O.D., Ph.D., for his visionary leadership in optometric education. In 2008, he founded Salus University building upon the legacy of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO). Dr. Lewis has held a number of faculty and administrative positions at PCO, contributed to optometric literature, and served as president of multiple national organizations including the American Academy of Optometry, Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, National Board of Examiners in Optometry and the Partnership Foundation.
Retired Yucca Valley Optometrist Barton M. Pedersen, O.D., was honored as the 2013 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year during the 5:30 p.m., Commencement Exercise. The 1963 alumnus has an impressive record of volunteer service to his community, the profession of optometry, and his alma mater.
Forty optometrists were recognized during the ceremony for completion of their one-year residency programs. SCCO residency programs provide specialized training in cornea and contact lenses, ocular disease, low vision rehabilitation, pediatric optometry and vision therapy, and primary care optometry.
About Marshall B. Ketchum University
Established in 1904, the Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University is a private, non-profit, educational institution. The University confers a four-year, professional degree, Doctor of Optometry (O.D.); a Master of Science in Vision Science (M.S.) degree; and a Master of Medical Sciences (MMS) degree. The University is also adding the School of Physician Assistant Studies as the first step in the development of an interprofessional healthcare campus. Marshall B. Ketchum University provides a diversity of healthcare training opportunities in an environment fully focused on medical professionalism, combining advanced clinical training with innovative teaching methods.
The University's superior 109-year-old optometric clinical education program provides patient care experiences in community optometric clinics; exposure to the delivery of optometric care in multi-disciplinary settings; and experiences in practices serving a wide variety of ethnic and socio-economic patient groups. Marshall B. Ketchum University owns and operates two premier eye and vision care centers – the Eye Care Center located on its campus in Fullerton, CA, and the Optometric Center of Los Angeles located on Broadway at Martin Luther King Boulevard.