Eye on Education

Our Optometric Miracle of Deliverance

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Our Optometric Miracle of Deliverance

Never before in the history of our profession, nor for that matter in the history of our country, has a group of graduates faced the kinds of challenges that our Class of 2020 has had to face these past few months.

Never before, has any other graduating class ever received so much support.

The American Academy of Optometry, American Optometric Association, National Glaucoma Society, American Board of Optometry, Brien Holden Vision Institute, journals and publications, industry partners, other associations, and many more have all chipped in with resources to support our alternative experiences of clinical education. 

In just one part of the story, through a partnership with the AAO, 139 speakers presented 202 sessions to 2,331 students. Students participated in a total of 41,256 sessions for an overall total of 28,731 hours of education. Attendees represented all of the schools and colleges in North America as well as 24 other countries.

Every time that I heard more about these amazing success stories I was reminded of the Evacuation of Dunkirk. The year 2020 will mark the 80th anniversary of the evacuation of more than 300,000 Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk, France between May 26 and June 4, 1940, during World War II.

History buffs, and those who have seen the recent movies depicting the events, will recall that British, French, Canadian, and Belgian troops had been forced back to Dunkirk by the advancing German army. Nearly all the escape routes to the English Channel had been cut off and a terrible disaster had appeared inevitable. In an unbelievable show of courage, people banded together with more than 700 “little ships” including privately owned motor yachts and fishing boats to bring the troops home.

The phrase “Dunkirk spirit” is still in use today to describe British people banding together in the face of adversity. At the time, Prime Minister Winston Churchill called it, “a miracle of deliverance.” Getting this Class of 2020 prepared for graduation has been our optometric miracle of deliverance. We made it happen! And for these many, many contributions, I, and all of my fellow ASCO members will be eternally grateful.

Dr. Elizabeth Hoppe
ASCO President
Founding Dean, College of Optometry
Western University of Health Sciences




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