Alumni Association

Board Meeting Minutes | November 11, 2007

Attendance:

Dr. Tomi Browne, Dr. Robert M. Cole, Dr. Harry Kaplan, Dr. Thomas J. Landry, Dr. Richard D. Lappen, Mrs. Stephanie J. Lappen, Dr. Thomas L. Lewis, Dr. Anthony M. McDonald, Dr. John. T. Ochsenreither, Dr. Alan B. Ostroff, Dr. Lawrence A. Ragone, Dr. Robert A. Rosenberg, Dr. Kenneth W. Savitski, Dr. Robert N. Spivack, Dr. Karen M. Wrigley, Ms. Lynne C. Corboy, Ms. Heather S. Giampapa.

Dr. Wrigley called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. Heather Giampapa reported that the May 5, 2007 meeting minutes were amended to include the proper spelling of Dr. Kenneth Savitski’s name. With this change noted, Dr. Lappen moved to approve the minutes with Dr. Ochsenreither seconding. The minutes were unanimously approved.

Dr. Robert Spivack presented the Treasurer’s Report for both Fiscal Year 2006-07 and the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2007-08. (Please see attached.) Dr. Spivak reported that the Association’s investments are doing well and there is money to be spent if needed. Dr. Landry made a motion to approve the Treasurer’s Report, Dr. Ochsenreither seconded and the report was unanimously approved.

Dr. Wrigley gave the President’s Report. Dr. Wrigley reported on the number of current PCO alumni in the College’s different programs:

  • Optometry Alumni: 6,222
  • Online Audiology Alumni: 945
  • Residential Audiology Alumni: 3
  • By 2010, there will be an additional 1,200 online Audiology Alumni, and PCO currently has 36 students in the residential Audiology program.
  • Masters Programs Alumni: 293
  • PCO’s International Program Alumni: 400

In addition, in August, PCO welcomed its first residential Physician Assistant class of twenty students.

Dr. Wrigley reported on alumni giving and annual giving for Fiscal Year 2006-07 and the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2007-08:

  • Optometry alumni giving for Fiscal Year 2007: 22%
  • Optometry alumni giving for Fiscal Year 2006: 23%
  • Audiology alumni giving for Fiscal Year 2007: 16%
  • Audiology alumni giving for Fiscal Year 2006: 12%

Annual Giving for Fiscal Year 2007:

The goal for Fiscal Year 2007 was $175,000.
A total of $176,125 was received.
Alumni gave a total of $156,432.

The majority of these annual fund gifts came from PCO’s phone-a-thon program with Ruffalo Cody, a fundraising telemarketing firm, with mail solicitations also playing a significant role in fundraising.

The Annual Fund goal for Fiscal Year 2008 is $180,000. As of November 4th, $54,237.33 in cash had been received, with an additional $18,810.00 in pledges through the phone-a-thon. Calling began September 5th. Along with the phone-a-thon, appeal letters have been mailed to alumni and friends, with additional letters scheduled for staff and faculty and a calendar year-end appeal for alumni. This tele-fundraising phase will end in November, with another phase beginning in late February. Additional mailings will be sent to alumni in the spring and before the close of the fiscal year in June.

Dr. Wrigley introduced Dr. Lewis, who reported on the progress of The Eye Institute renovations. Soil conditions around the existing building need to be resolved and geo and structural engineers are currently working on finding a solution. Once a suitable foundation has been identified, the plans can be finalized. The architects are currently working on the interior design. Dr. Lewis reported that much of the equipment purchased yearly by The Eye Institute will be usable in the new exam rooms. All work surfaces, accessories and the like will be new.

Dr. Lewis reported on PCO’s University status. After a year and a half and many obstacles, PCO is closing in on the goal. The Pennsylvania Department of Education has reviewed all of the documents related to the status change. However, during a thirty-day period for public comment, an existing University challenged the proposed name: Pennsylvania Health and Science University. Disputing this challenge would involve a lengthy hearing that the College isn’t willing to engage in. Instead, a new name has been proposed.

The ideal name will be clear, distinct, unique and ideally brief, and the suggested name is now Salus University, with the tagline “Bringing health, science & education together since 1919.” Each program at the University will be under the umbrella of Salus University, for instance: The Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University.  Salus was the Roman goddess of health and well being, and the Latin word Salus connotes health, wellness, well being and preservation. Salus would express the institution’s dedication to protecting and enhancing the health and well being of the public through educational, research and patient care programs. The byline “Bringing health, science & education together since 1919” will act as a descriptor and will accompany the name Salus University. Dr. Lewis reported that the new name would also be submitted to a thirty-day public comment period. Prior to that, PCO’s Board of Trustees would vote on the name, the dissenting institution would be informed and submit a letter to revoke their protest. In addition to soliciting responses from the alumni, Dr. Lewis has also shared the name with the staff and faculty at Elkins Park and TEI and current students.

The group discussed the proposed name. The name was cited as being brief and unique, while many other choices were similar sounding to existing institutions. It was brought up that many would likely call the school the Pennsylvania College of Optometry no matter what. Dr. Lewis stated that there are no other educational institutions with the name Salus, but there are a number of medical practices and a foundation with the name. Salus.edu is an open website designation. The name will be trademarked at both the state and federal levels. Ms. Corboy reported that the symbol of the goddess Salus would be usable in a logo and seal. Dr. Lewis reported that the general feedback regarding the transition to a university has been positive and that many in the college community are impressed that the College’s integrity has been maintained during this time of growth and development. It was suggested that a web search be conducted to ensure that there are no questionable connotations with the name. Dr. Lewis reported that the school’s colors may change, or the colors for PCO may remain the same while new colors may be chosen for the University. Dr. Lewis remarked that no other optometry school has ever evolved into a university. An ideal date to announce the new name would be March 30th, which is the Festival Day of Salus. Dr. Harry Kaplan motioned to bring the new name to a vote, Dr. Landry seconded, and the proposed name was unanimously approved.

Dr. Lewis thanked the Alumni Association Board for their input.

Dr. Landry reported for the Bylaws Committee. With changes coming in a new name and in the diversity of the alumni being produced by the College’s different programs, changes to the bylaws will be needed. Dr. Landry remarked that with three graduate programs, it could be conceivable to form three alumni associations, a decision that would require three 501c statuses, staffing for all, as well as three boards. Dr. Lewis recommended keeping one board but broadening the membership. The fundraising foundation will remain singular, with donors having the opportunity to contribute to their program of choice. There will remain one faculty association and one student council within the University. Ms. Corboy reported that the Reunion would become a larger event in the coming years with more residential Audiology graduates, as well as Physician Assistant graduates. Currently, a reunion is held for online Adiology graduates at the American Academy of Audiology Annual Conference. The gathering generates interest in the College, brings people together and is a good opportunity to solicit Audiology alumni. Ms. Corboy reported that the School of Audiology Director, Debra Bussaco, recommended maintaining the Alumni Association as one body. Dr. Tomi Browne suggested a two-pronged approach for current Audiology graduates: maintain the yearly gathering at American Academy of Audiology Annual Conference while keeping the residential Audiology graduates in the College community through the campus reunion.

Dr. Landry reported that the Alumni Awards would also need to be changed with the transition into a University. All four awards currently specify the optometry profession. Ms. Corboy suggested looking over the award descriptions and holding a phone meeting between the awards and bylaws committees. It was suggested to present an Alumnus of the Year award for each program and change the other award’s language to be less optometry focused. According to the bylaws, there can be more than one recipient of each award.  Dr. Lappen motioned that the committee discuss changes to the awards prior to the next board meeting, Dr. Savitski seconded and the motion was passed.

Dr. Wrigley gave the Awards Committee report for Dr. Mark Clement. Each Trustee was given a nomination form as well as a list of past winners. An email will be sent to alumni asking for nominations, and will be passed along to the Awards Committee before the next meeting.

Dr. Robert Cole gave the Nominating Committee report. There will be four Trustees rolling off the board this year: Mark Clement, OD, William Johnston, Jr, OD, Alan Ostroff, OD, and Felicia Whitney, MS The Board can accept up to four new members. The nominating committee is soliciting nominations and an email soliciting nominations will be sent to alumni. The Nominating Committee will discuss the names prior to the next Alumni Association meeting, nominees informed, and the slate voted on at the Alumni Association Annual Meeting in May.

Dr. Kenneth Savitski reported on the 2008 Reunion, to be held Saturday, May 3, 2008. The celebrated classes will be those ending in 3 and 8. Last year’s attendance was approximately 150; the committee would like to see 200 this year. A possible theme is “Rolling out the Red Carpet,” appropriate for the College introducing the new University name. Approximately $2,000 was saved last year by holding the reunion in the Hafter Student Community Center. Dr. Savitski suggesting a small jazz ensemble for part of the evening, with a disc jockey or student with a music system for the remainder of the night. He also suggested picture frames as the favors as there will be a digital photographer present. Suggestions for improving upon the 2007 Reunion were more dining tables, keeping the buffet available longer, and an having an extended cocktail hour. Dr. Savitski asked the Board to look into procuring door prizes for the event. Dr. Lewis volunteered a round of golf and a meal. Dr. Savitski will check with the American Optometry Association about a complimentary registration for their Annual Meeting. It was suggested to invite faculty at a lower cost to increase their attendance. It was suggested that the Alumnus of the Year presentation be held before attendees enter the dining area or immediately after entering to keep attention at a maximum and add to its formality. A slide show about the recipient was also suggested.

Dr. Wrigley thanked everyone for his or her attendance and reported that the next meeting will take place on a Sunday in January. The meeting was adjourned at 11:45 a.m.