Eye on Education

Dr. Anthony Di Stefano: A Legacy That Will Be Long Felt at Salus

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Dr. Di Stefano is a 1973 graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO). As a PCO student leader, he served as class president for four years and student council president from 1972 to 1973. Recognizing the importance of graduate education, he completed a master of education (MEd) from Temple University concurrently with his OD degree. Dr. Di Stefano was recognized for his early and strong interests in public health and was awarded both a PCO Graduate Fellowship and the William C. Ezell Fellowship in 1973 to attend the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, where he earned his master of public health (MPH) in 1974.

He formally joined the PCO faculty in 1974 as an assistant professor of public health. Then PCO President Dr. Norman Wallis tapped Dr. Di Stefano’s MPH skills and in 1975 appointed him as special assistant to the president for strategic planning. In this role, he led the development of PCO’s first five-year strategic plan in 1976, which would form the foundation for PCO’s future growth.

From 1989 to 2014, Dr. Di Stefano served as vice president and dean of Academic Advancement and Academic Affairs. Among his accomplishments were the conceptualization and development of the Institute for the Visually Impaired (IVI) and the development of PCO’s long-range strategic plans. His sustained commitment to institutional growth and expansion ultimately led to the establishment of Salus University in 2008.

“I can say this without hesitation: This institution wouldn’t be anywhere near where it is now without Tony,” said Thomas L. Lewis, OD, PhD, FAAO, president emeritus of Salus University. "He’s contributed so much to the growth and development, and whatever success we’ve had, he’s been an integral element of it. He’s one of the five or six people in the history of this institution that have had the most influence.”

Dr. Di Stefano officially retired on July 1, 2019 after a long and successful career at Salus University. At the University's Faculty Development Day, it was announced that Dr. Di Stefano would receive professor emeritus status.


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