Lewis Steps Down as President of Salus University to be Replaced by Mittelman in July


Rear Admiral Michael H. Mittelman, OD, MPH, (l) will replace Thomas L. Lewis, OD, PhD, as president of Salus University.

ELKINS PARK, Penn.—After 24 years as president of Salus University, Thomas L. Lewis, OD, PhD, is stepping down. Starting in mid-July, the position will be filled by Rear Admiral Michael H. Mittelman, OD, MPH, who brings over 30 years of health care industry experience in both military and civilian posts.

Prior to assuming the presidency in 1989, Lewis, a 1970 graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, spent 17 years in the halls of the school as an anatomy professor, dean and vice president. His efforts to move the Pennsylvania College of Optometry from a single-purpose school to a multi-purpose institution led to the establishment of Salus University in 2008, which now offers 13 accredited degree programs.

Lewis’ accomplishments as president include adding an international Master of Science (MSc) degree program in clinical optometry, masters’ degree and certificate programs in Orientation and Mobility, and Vision Rehabilitation Teaching, a Doctor of Audiology (AuD) professional degree, a Master of Medical Science (MMS) degree program in Physician Assistant Studies, a wholly online Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program, doctoral and masters programs in Occupational Therapy, and a new Master of Science/PhD dual degree program in Biomedicine.

During his tenure as the institution’s second-longest serving president, Lewis was the primary motivation behind the university’s move from Oak Lane to the new Elkins Park campus. He also oversaw the building of the Hafter Student Community Center and renovation of The Eye Institute, the University’s largest clinical teaching facility.

Filling the position starting in mid-July will be Deputy Surgeon General of the Navy, Michael H. Mittelman, who will retire from the Navy next month after 32 years of service. A 1980 graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Mittelman is a Fellow of both the American College of Healthcare Executives and the American Academy of Optometry.

In 2012, he received the American Optometric Association’s Distinguished Service Award. He is past president of the Armed Forces Optometric Society and recipient of its Orion Award. Throughout his military career, Mittelman has been stationed around the world and boasts a curriculum vitae that includes posts such as Director of the Medical Service Corps, Command Surgeon for the U.S. Joint Forces Command and U.S. Pacific command, and Deputy Chief of Staff, Human Resources for the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.