“This has been a two-and-a-half-year passion project for me, but the reality is, it’s been a lifetime passion project for Dr. Rosenbloom.”
So said Eric Baas, OD ’06, FAAO, at the January 18 grand opening ceremony of the Alfred and Sarah Rosenbloom Center on Vision and Aging at the Illinois Eye Institute. As chief of the center, he’s been involved with each and every painstaking detail regarding the new facility, from community outreach and connecting with referring doctors to service offerings and web presence.
But the real stars of the show were the center’s namesakes: Alfred A. Rosenbloom, Jr., OD ’48, MA, DOS, and his wife, Sarah. Dr. Rosenbloom served as dean of ICO from 1955 to 1972, president from 1972 to 1982 and remains a distinguished professor emeritus. He was inducted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame in 2010. The establishment of this innovative center ensures Dr. Rosenbloom’s long career, dedication to the practice of optometry and commitment to ICO will be recognized for decades to come.
In his event remarks, Dr. Rosenbloom noted the ever-growing need for geriatric vision care, a point punctuated by the fact that the center’s schedule was booked through the end of January. He also said the center wouldn’t have been possible without Sarah, his partner of more than 66 years. “Her devotion, steadfast faith and love have made the difference.”
Sarah exhibited characteristic pluck while making her remarks. “Amy and Tina aren’t here–I guess their invitation got lost in the mail,” she said, referencing the Golden Globes that took place the week before. “If Emmy and Oscar can have awards named after them, why can’t I?” she asked, before presenting her self-styled ‘Sarah’ awards. In addition to her husband, honorees included ICO president Dr. Arol Augsburger; vice president for student, alumni and college development Mark Colip, OD ’92; senior director of college development Patricia de Maat; the Rosenbloom Center’s Tracy Matchinski, OD ’95; Dr. Baas; and everyone in the audience.
The event drew about 200 people, including Congressman Bobby Rush and Alderman Pat Dowell, and representatives from the offices of Senator Dick Durbin, State Senator Mattie Hunter and State Representative Esther Golar.
Designed by Chicago-based architecture and interior design firm Jensen & Halstead, the Rosenbloom Center offers primary and secondary vision care to adults, vision rehabilitation and adaptive technology for vision-impaired patients of all ages, occupational therapy, electrophysiology services and psychological support–all in a private practice-like setting.
The $1.82 million facility met its initial fundraising goal, and a year ahead of schedule at that. But, as Dr. Baas noted in his address, the work of the Rosenbloom Center is far from over.
“Now’s the time we have to start implementing the patient care elements, the education elements, the community outreach elements,” he said. “By no means is this process over. We’re just getting warmed up.”