Spring 2017
Spring 2017

Advantages of ICO
This year, ICO is celebrating its 145th anniversary. We are proud of our legacy as the nation’s oldest, largest, and most popular optometry school. As more optometry schools open their doors, more eyes are on the profession than ever before. What are some of the advantages of such a long-standing school, and why do you think ICO has thrived for so many years?

Arol Augsburger, OD

ICO President

ICO has thrived for 145 years because of our tradition of excellence. We have an award-winning faculty and scores of robust extern sites around the globe. Our world-class students continue to best the National Board average pass rate year after year. Our widely-distributed alumni- more than any other optometric institution- are outstanding advocates for ICO and optometry.

ICO has been one of the economic engines which has contributed to the revitalization of the near south side of Chicago. Our faculty and students provide outstanding vision care with a spirit of benevolence to those in our community with highest need. ICO has a tradition of making a difference in the lives of people. Millions of patients have been well cared for within the Illinois Eye Institute, and millions more in our 158 extern rotation sites and charitable missions around the world.


Howard Woolf, OD ‘67

What are the advantages of ICO? I may well be a good person to ask! My mother, father, and son all graduated from ICO (Ina Gray Woolf, NICO ’39, Gerson M. Woolf, NICO ’40, Brian Woolf, OD ’99). We have had very successful careers in Optometry, leading the profession in Maryland. Optometry has changed quite a lot since 1939, when my mother was the only woman in her class, but the college has always adapted to these and many other changes.

Optometry started in jewelry stores. Today, optometrists must be medical managers as well as treating eye disease. Experienced, practicing professors and a farsighted Board of Trustees have allowed ICO to adapt.

With changes and innovation based on experience… that is how ICO has thrived.


Philip Hasler, OD ‘86

The landscape of optometry schools in the United States is varied, evolving, and expanding. Advantages setting ICO apart are history, tradition, and location. Personally, I look at this from a three-generational perspective. My father, James B. Hasler, NICO ’48 is a graduate. I graduated from ICO in 1986, and my daughter, Rachel, will graduate this May. This does not happen without the strong historical significance of ICO. Future optometrists look to the role models that have shaped their lives, and are drawn to a school that graduates personable, academically outstanding clinicians.

I can’t think of a better location than Chicago for a young, aspiring professional to test their mettle. Chicago is a major metropolitan melting pot of students pursuing medicine, law, business, and the arts. They are all maturing, learning, and sharing their experiences. ICO’s specific location also offers access to a patient base in great need of professional eye care. There is a reason why ICO graduates the most prepared clinicians!

A simple equation for excellent optometrists: an outstanding education from a historically significant institution located in one of the greatest cities in America.

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