December 2011 | Continuing Education | Alumni Association | Career Services | Alumni Directory | Give

A Message from the Chairman

The Season for Giving


When the busy holiday season is upon us, taking the time to relax and reflect on all of our blessings can inadvertently disappear from our lengthy to-do list. It seems each year gets busier, with more pressure to out-do last year. Our minds get focused on the latest must-have gadget or computer device. We shop, decorate, and eat all kinds of things that we shouldn't. When do we take the time to experience the peace and joy that this season brings with it?


To me, this season is a time for family. I find peace and joy in being with my family, spending time with my children and grandchildren and watching them grow and mature into responsible, successful adults.


I also find peace and joy during this season as it is a time for giving. Giving to others, whether it be the gift of time, talent or treasure, can result in a sense of satisfaction and joy matched by little else.


During this season of family and giving, I ask that you give time to your loved ones, share your talents with those who need them, and give something back to your educational home, the place that trained you in how to provide the excellence in clinical optometric care that has helped so many others.


With the spirit of giving,

Richard S. Kattouf, OD '72, DOS

Chairman, Board of Trustees

Illinois College of Optometry







December 15

Primary Care Grand Rounds*

2 hrs of non-tested CE credit

ICO Campus - Adams Center


December 22 - 26

Winter Holiday

Campus/Clinic Closed 


December 30 - January 2

New Year's Holiday

Campus/Clinic Closed


January 12

Primary Care Grand Rounds*

2 hrs of non-tested CE credit

ICO Campus - Adams Center


January 16

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Campus/Clinic Closed


January 26

Primary Care Grand Rounds*

2 hrs of non-tested CE credit

ICO Campus - Adams Center


February 9

Primary Care Grand Rounds*

2 hrs of non-tested CE credit

ICO Campus - Adams Center


February 19

Continuing Education Program

6 hrs of tested CE

ICO Campus - Lecture Center


March 11

Continuing Education Program

6 hrs of tested CE

ICO Campus - Lecture Center


March 23

Practice Opportunities Symposium

ICO Campus


March 30

ICO Alumni Hospitality Suite

Iowa Optometric Association Congress

Des Moines, Iowa


*supported in part by an Alcon

Partners in Education Grant



The ICO Alumni Council would like you to give a gift to the Alumni Association Scholarship fund this year. Why is this so important? Because each year a scholarship award is presented to a fourth-year student to help him or her get started with life after graduation. With your gift, the scholarship fund will continue to grow so that additional students can benefit from this award. Any gift, whether large or small, will make a difference. Be sure to give your gift today.




Illinois College of Optometry
3241 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60616

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Jeff Smith, OD '83, MBA, member of ICO's Board of Trustees and long-time supporter of ICO, was instrumental in the recent donation of equipment for a new examination lane at the ACCESS-Ashland Clinic site. This facility, which serves as an Illinois Eye Institute community-based clinic site, provides eye care for mainly low-income and uninsured patients.


"Having been raised in Chicago, I know this neighborhood and I am confident there are many in need of basic eye care," Dr. Smith says. "I am proud of ICO's community-based programs."


Dr. Smith also arranged a donation of approximately 12,000 frames to be used for the IEI's Vision of Hope Health Alliance (VOHHA) program and other charitable programs within the IEI. Thank you Dr. Smith! 




Philip Ortiz, OD '63 is on a mission. In 1989, Ortiz co-founded I Care International with the late Charles Cools, OD '75 and a group of others. A nonprofit organization, I Care International's goal is to help others improve the quality of their life by providing the gift of better vision and health. Since I Care was founded, volunteer optometrists, students and other health care providers have gone on 70 mission trips, serving thousands of people in the United States and numerous other countries who have no other access to eye care.


A typical I Care team will provide vision services for four days or more, examining as many as 500 people or more a day by conducting acuity tests, eye exams and fitting prescription eyeglasses. "It is a learning experience and an emotional experience," Dr. Ortiz says. "Most of the patients we see have never had an eye exam before."


Dr. Ortiz, pictured above on the right with daughter Dawn and nephew Brett, has plans for the next I Care mission trip to Tepalcingo, Morelos, Mexico from March 23 to April 1, 2012. To find out more, check out or contact Dr. Ortiz at  





Thanks to Douglas Azzaro, OD '85, The Chicago Lighthouse now has a facility to serve individuals in the western Illinois suburbs. "I knew there was a demand for low vision care in this area, and I was familiar with the Lighthouse and their interest in reaching out to the western suburbs, so I was pleased to make room available in our building. It was a win-win for everyone."


The new facility, located at Seven Bridges Eye Care Clinic in Woodridge, Ill, is operated by Dr. Azzaro. Elise Corgiat, OD '05, who completed her low vision/ocular disease residency at ICO in 2006, serves as the on-site optometrist.


"We are so grateful to Dr. Azzaro for giving us the opportunity to serve individuals who live in the western suburbs and are experiencing vision loss," says Dr. Janet Szlyk, Lighthouse president and executive director.







The Toompas brothers, one of them an ICO alum and both health care professionals in North Central West Virginia, have announced the completion of their first book. Identical twins born on April Fool's Day, they have co-authored 31 short stories appropriately titled, "I'm the One the Other Isn't, The Stevie-Stanley Stories." A collection of unique and humorous childhood tales, the stories chronicle the twins' adventures during the 1960s and 1970s as they grew up in the Nixon Plaza area of Clarksburg, W.Va.


Stanley Toompas, OD, a 1983 graduate of ICO, has owned and operated an optometric practice in Philippi, W.Va., for the past 28 years. His twin brother Stephen is a pharmacist, who has co-owned four drug stores for the past 30 years.


Dr. Toompas adds that both he and his brother have wives named Kim. In fact, Toompas says, "There is actually a chapter in the book named 'Twins and Kims.'" You can find the book at or


With enough material to publish another book, Dr. Toompas adds, "There are plans for an ICO story in the sequel!" 

Col. Philip Hasler, OD '86, of Reedsburg, Wisc., is commander of the Truax Field based 115th Medical Group. The group was recently inspected by the Air Force Inspection Agency and received a rating of Operationally Ready. The satisfactory completion of this inspection means the 115MDG is prepared to meet any homeland or global mission. The inspection team's final report commended Col. Hasler for his energetic and dedicated leadership.


Dr. Hasler also demonstrates his leadership by serving his alma mater. A practicing optometrist at the Davis Duehr Dean regional medical group practice in Reedsburg, he is always ready to support the College with his time, talent and treasure, frequently sharing his experiences with students and maintaining his membership in ICO's Leadership Circle in addition to naming a seat in the Lecture Center. Proud of the advancements that ICO continues to make to stay in the forefront of optometric education, Dr. Hasler says, "At each visit to the school I am amazed by the quality of students in the program as well as the magnificent improvements to the school facilities. I look forward to participating in future events promoting the school of choice in optometry, ICO."


Read more about Dr. Hasler in the next issue of ICO Matters, in the mail Feb. 28.




After waiting several months, Bill Park, OD '77 finally did it. The ICO Name a Seat informational brochure once sitting on his desk buried in an "I'll get to it later" pile was now moved to the top, front and center. With son, Quentin, OD '04, and daughter Lena, OD '06, both working with him in their North Aurora, IL office, the time had come to make the decision to have the practice name Park Family Eye Care be commemorated on a name plate in ICO's Lecture Center.


"I've always planned on doing it; it was just a matter of when," says Dr. Bill, who also represents ICO's Alumni Association as an Alumni Council member. "We named a seat in the back row, near the exit. That's where we always sat."


Are you still thinking about naming a seat in the newly remodeled Lecture Center but just haven't done it yet? Well, 'tis the season! What a unique holiday gift to give yourself or someone special.   Each named seat is adorned with a beautiful brushed silver name plate engraved with that person's name on it. It's the perfect gift for "the person who has everything." It's so easy; you can make your gift online. Since the Name a Seat campaign began last May, over 165 seats have been named. Choose from three different seat levels. Find out more here.




Even a rare early November warm and sunny day couldn't keep more than 340 ODs from deciding to sit in class and absorb the information from ICO's Continuing Education program.   The Nov. 6 CE program was co-sponsored by Luxottica and Alcon and consisted of eight hours of credit, six of which were tested.


"This was the highest attendance for a non-required CE program," said Dominick Opitz, OD '96, ICO's director of continuing education. "This is a great way to showcase ICO's newly renovated Lecture Center." Approaching a renewal year, ODs holding Illinois licenses are finding they can easily get their needed hours by attending CE at ICO. Check the latest schedule of courses on our website here



ICO is excited to announce that the recently graduated Class of 2011 exceeded the national average on every part of the NBEO exam they have ever taken. Their ultimate pass rate was 97.9 percent while the national average pass rate was 94.4 percent. "Another result of which to be proud," said ICO President Dr. Arol Augsburger. "What a great credit to our highly performing students and our faculty/staff team who inspires them." Congratulations Class of 2011!



On November 18, the Illinois Eye Institute hosted an inaugural charity event, Eye on Concussions, which benefitted the Illinois Eye Institute Foundation, the Sports Legacy Institute and the Chicago Concussion Coalition. The event featured a VIP reception and dinner, photos with professional athletes and elected officials, and a silent auction. The Chicago Concussion Coalition provides Advanced Concussion Training (ACT) Programs for coaches, athletic trainers, teachers, student athletes, and parents on how to play sports smarter and safer.     


"We are fortunate to have strong support of the Chicago Public Schools and other partners in our efforts to educate the public about the dangers of concussions. The event was a first step in future endeavors to promote the Chicago Concussion Coalition," said Leonard Messner, OD, executive director of the Illinois Eye Institute Foundation.

To find out more about Advanced Concussion Training (ACT) Programs, contact Mary Podgers.



There are many ways you can support your alma mater. Please contact Patricia de Maat, Senior Dir. of Development, at 

or 312.949.7071 to review the various options.