(L to R) Reade Fahs of National Vision receives the Salus University Presidential Medal from Salus University president Michael Mittelman, OD, MPH, MBA, FAAO, FACHE.
ELKINS PARK, Pa.—Salus University has announced the 2021 recipients of the Alumni Association Awards and the Presidential Medal of Honor Awards, with the latter group including National Vision Holdings chief executive officer Reade Fahs. Both groups of awardees were honored during a ceremony on Sept. 27 at the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia. Award recipients from across the Salus University community were chosen by their peers through a nomination and voting process, according to the university’s announcement of the 2021 honorees.

Among the highest honors bestowed by the University, the Presidential Awards distinguish faculty and alumni work that extends well beyond its campus while the University’s Alumni Association also annually recognizes the contributions and achievements of outstanding graduates and friends of the institution, the university noted. Four Presidential Medal of Honor Award winners were named this year.
They are:

  • Reade Fahs of Atlanta, chief executive officer of National Vision, one of the largest optical retailers in the nation. Fahs is a member of the Salus Board of Trustees and currently serves on the Institutional Advancement Committee and the Institutional Policy and Curriculum Committee.

  • Sarah Appel, OD, of West Windsor, N.J., director of Pediatric Low Vision Services, co-director of the Special Populations Assessment and Rehabilitation Center (SPARC) and a professor in the PCO/Salus Advanced Studies program.

  • Giri Sundar, PhD, CCC-A, FAAA, of Succasunna, N.J., director of the Distance Education Programs and assistant professor in the University’s Osborne College of Audiology (OCA).

  • John J. Fitzgerald III, DO, FACOG, of Gwynedd, Pa., is medical director of the Physician Assistant (PA) Studies program and director of Clinical Education programs at Salus.
Other Salus award winners who are affiliated with optometry were:

  • Special Recognition Award was presented to Elizabeth Tonkery, OD, MPH, of Wyncote, Pa., who is associate dean of the Accelerated Scholars program and associate professor at PCO/Salus. She is also a member of several professional organizations, including the American Optometric Association (AOA), AAO and the Pennsylvania Optometric Association (POA).

  • Public Service Award was presented to Lisa R. Stottlemyer, OD, FAAO, of Elkton, Pa., who is chief of the Wilmington VA Medical Center Eye Care department. She has spent more than 20 years serving veterans in Wilmington, Del. She is a fellow of the AAO and has authored many publications as well as the chair of Wilmington’s optometry student program and an educator for the residency program. Dr. Stottlemyer also is a founding member of Promise in Sight, a non-profit that provides eyecare in Central America.

  • The Blindness and Low Vision Studies Alumna of the Year award was presented to Jule Ann Lieberman, MS, of Devon, Pa., who opened a retail business, EZ2C Products, selling assistive technology and tools for vision loss. This led to the establishment of the non-profit EZ2C Foundation, which provided consultation and training in the use of technology and tools for those with vision loss. She joined TechOWL, Institute on Disabilities at Temple University (formerly known as Pennsylvania’s Initiative on Assistive Technology) in 2013 as assistive technology specialist.
  • The Albert Fitch Memorial Alumnus of the Year was presented to Mitchell J. Fink, OD, FAAO, of Boca Raton, Fla., who has served his community for more than 51 years in private practice in Willingboro, N.J. His many years of service, as both a Fellow and Diplomate in the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), exemplifies what it means to be a true caring practitioner. His many accolades include captain and Doctor of Optometry in the U.S. Army (he served in Vietnam) and he has also been a professor of Cornea and Contact Lens Practice at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus for 30 years.
Salus University, founded in 1919 as the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, is a globally recognized professional academic center of learning that offers a wide range of degree programs.