Thank you all for being present today. We are here to recognize, and celebrate, a truly auspicious day for the Illinois College of Optometry, for the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science at the University of Chicago, for the professions of optometry and ophthalmology, for our students, residents and alumni, but perhaps most of all, for our patients.
The decision to enter into an arrangement with the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science at the University of Chicago – a decision in which, I might add, Dr. Ernest played a major and always productive role – was finalized in July. In essence, therefore, today we are taking time to acknowledge that which has already occurred.
It is altogether fitting that we should do so, for this is truly a significant moment in our history as a college and in our careers as ophthalmic practitioners. The ceremonial documents to which we will soon be affixing our signatures are reflective of a legal agreement that delineates perimeters for coordinating clinical, medical, educational and research programs between our two institutions. Among the benefits of our collaboration will be the creation of an O.D./Ph.D. Program, increased opportunities for collaborative research, shared lecturers and an expanded clinical base.
However, today’s celebration does not blur the distinctions between our institutions or our disciplines. We each have our respective roles and importance. Today’s celebration reaffirms the natural synergism between optometry and ophthalmology.
The true significance of the affiliation we celebrate today will be found in its impact upon those we serve. Through this agreement we will create an educational system that fosters a better understanding of the disciplines of optometry and ophthalmology by those who will treat tomorrow’s patients. It will help further narrow the gap between our knowledge and the needs of our patients. Our affiliation will produce better optometrists and better ophthalmologists, and it is the patients who will benefit.
That is the true significance of what we celebrate today.
Dr. Charles F. Mullen
Affiliation Ceremony Speech
October 11, 1997