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Vision Care Technology Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Edward Rauch, left, with Department of Vision Care Technology Chair Robert Russo

The Department of Vision Care Technology at New York City College of Technology celebrated 40 years of excellence in opticianry education on March 26, 2009, at an on-campus alumni reunion attended by more than 200 department graduates, students, faculty, staff and other guests. The event was held in conjunction with the National Federation of Opticianry Schools annual meeting and the preliminary National Federation of Opticianry Schools College Bowl that attracted participation by students from 16 opticianry schools nationwide.

Following an afternoon lecture, “Optics and People, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” by Dr. Joseph Bacotti, Jr., the evening festivities began with the presentation by Danne Ventura of Essilor of America and City Tech Vision Care Technology Instructor Thomas Woods of a gift collection of rare ophthalmic textbooks from the estate of the late Irwin Vogel. Mr. Vogel was an adjunct lecturer at the College before becoming the program director at Cañada College in California. This fine collection of books will be placed in custodianship in City Tech’s Ursula C. Scherwin Library.

Department Chair Robert Russo, who served as master of ceremonies, then presented Edward Rauch, the last surviving founding member of the department, with a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his lifetime of service in opticianry and his dedication in the development of what originally was called the Department of Ophthalmic Dispensing. Professor Russo also paid tribute to Professor Joseph Bacotti, founding father of the department, who together with Dr. Alvin Schiff, Professor Donald Evans, Professor James Coleman, Mr. John Williams and Mr. Rauch established a strong and vibrant program that has produced many of New York City and the nation’s top vision care technology professionals.

Peter Bacotti, left, Professor Robert Russo and Dr. Joseph Bacotti, Jr., right

Professor Russo presented a plaque in honor of the late Professor Bacotti to his two sons, Dr. Joseph Bacotti, Jr. and Peter Bacotti, both past adjuncts at the college. Professor Bacotti was remembered for his unselfish service and dedication to his students and his visionary leadership in advancing professional opticianry. Generous appreciation also went to all past faculty, staff, advisory board members and graduates whose support of the City Tech program across the years helped make the department’s 40th anniversary celebration possible. 

Professor Russo expressed special appreciation to the New York State Society of Opticians for the donation of New York State approved continuing education credits and The Opticians Alliance of New York for its support of opticianry education and for providing student scholarships in memory of Joseph L. Bacotti.

In addition to serving as master of ceremonies, Professor Russo coordinated all aspects of the event, which was more than a year in the planning. He offered thanks to City Tech Vice President for Finance & Administration Miguel Cairol and Special Assistant to the President for Institutional Advancement Stephen Soiffer as well as to Office of Image/Visual Communications graphic designers Alberto Vargas, Yue Chen and Omayma Stephan for production of the Anniversary Journal, invitational materials and a commemorative pin. A very personal note of thanks was extended to all current Vision Care Technology students and faculty, Advisory Board members, and Kimberly Strickler and Emily Fleischman for all that they did to help plan and stage the event.

04.15.09


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