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Class of 2014 Graduates 39 New Optometrist

39 New Optometrist Graduate from UMSL- College of Optometry.

On Saturday, May 17, 2014 at 6:00pm family and friends joined the faculty and staff in congratulating 39 graduates from the Class of 2014's College of Optometry as  new optometrist. 

The class of 2014 was led  by Student Marshall Haley McCreery who also won the Beta Sigma Kappa Silver Medal Award and the Dean's Award for Excellence.  Associate Clinical Professor, Dr. Keshia Elder welcomed family and friends to the ceremony and welcomed the class of 2014 along with the faculty into the auditorium.

In addition to the 39 graduates, Dean Larry Davis, Provost Glen Cope and Chancellor Thomas George presented Mr. Patrick Gadell with an honorary doctoral degree. Dr. Gadell was introduced by Dr. Bernard Feldman, associate dean of the UMSL/Washington University Joint Undergraduate Engineering Program and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Left to Right:  Dean Larry Davis, Patrick Gadell, Dr. Bernard Feldman


Prior to the ceremony alumni, faculty, staff, graduates and the graduate's families were invited to a reception in their honor.  The College of Optometry also recognized the Class of 1989 who celebrated graduating 25 years ago.

Members of Class of 1989

The commencement address was given by Randy Sims a local businessman and author of the book, "Living a Miracle"  Sims has appeared on several television news shows and a feature presentation on CNN's Headline news for his 1999 double lung transplant.  Sims who suffered from cystic fibrosis fought the complications and disease head on.  His 14-month hiatus in his blooming career due to the double lung transplant "served as a spring board to a full and active professional and personal life of service," Sims said.  The commencement address focused on the pushing forward and never giving up and remembering a team is what makes things work. 

Dean Larry Davis, Commencement Speaker Randy Sims, Patrick Gadell



The Class of 2014 was hooded by Assistant Dean and Professor Dr. Ed Bennett and Clinical Director Dr. Vinita Henry.   The 39 individuals were congratulated for all the hard work and dedication over the past four years.

The Class of 2014




Immediately following the hooding of graduates, the college recognized members of the Beta Sigma Kappa National Honor Society for Optometry and also the Gold Key International Optometric Honor Society.

Several students were presented with awards from multiple organizations and the college including several awards from the Missouri Optometric Foundation, a foundation committed to giving back to the students at the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Optometry.  Two students, Courtney Kwan and Haley McCreery were given $1000.00 and Jeremey Dohogne was awarded $2,000.00 as part of the MOF award for students planning to enter private practice in the State of Missouri.  The MOF also awarded M. Earl McClellan award to Haley McCreery and the MOF Excellence in Clinical Skills award was given to Jessica Olendorff.   

The Vision Service Plan Award award was given to Emily Pike and Jessica Walter.   Pike was also presented the Dr. Robert Koetting scholarship, and Walter was awarded the Mary Gilbert scholarship.

Ocular Instruments presented Jenna Nelson with a certificate towards the purchase of any new lens found in their catalog.  

Marchon Eyewear awarded Kathryn Van Einde with the outstanding clinical and dispensing skills in practice management. 

Hilary Morrow was awarded $1,000 and a certificate for her paper submission to Alcon Partner in Education program. 

The COVD awarded Courtney Kwan for excellence in vision therapy and she was also awarded the GP Lens Institute award for Clinical Excellence Award for exceptional interest in fitting and application of rigid permeable contact lenses.

Kathryn Carpenter and Haley McCreery were awarded the Clinical Binocular Vision and Vision Therapy award for clinical performance in binocular vision and vision therapy.

The Charles C. Matlock Memorial Award was given to Ashley Gezella for achieved distinction in pediatric optometry.

Members of the Contact Lens Faculty presented Jeremey Dohogne and Kathryn Van Den Einde the contact Lens Faculty award for Clinical Excellence.  Mikel Magelky was awarded the Contact Lens Clinical Award sponsored by Paragon Vision Sciences for excellence in the field of contact lenses.

The Vistakon Award of Excellence in Contact Lens Patient Care, sponsored by the American Optometric Foundation was awarded to Karla Hafford for excellence in the care of contact lens patients.

Rachel Engelbarts was presented with the Excellence in Low Vision award given by the Low Vision faculty. This award is given to the student who has demonstrated interest and outstanding performance in the area of Low Vision.   

The Eschenbach Optic Award was presented to Anthony Lopez for his interest and proficiency in rehabilitative vision work.

Ashley Gezella was awarded the William Feinbloom Low Vision Award sponsored by the Designs for Living Inc.  because of her excellence in didactic and clinical aspects of low vision care. Gezella will receive up to $10,000.00 in low vision materials to aid in her low vision practice.

 The office of Student Services presented Jennifer Dovich and Jessica Walter the award for outstanding service in recruitment and admissions within the office of student services.   Bhumika Patel was awarded the Student Ambassador award for outstanding service to prospective students.

The end of the commencement marked a milestone in the lives of the graduates and now they are ready to provide vision care to patients all across the world.

Photos by:  Jennifer Dovich, Dr. Ed Bennett

Story by:  Nick Palisch




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