Notable Alumnus

Dr. Lyle Gassmann Jr.
Class of 2002

During his fourth year of study at The Ohio State University College of Optometry, Lyle waged a courageous fight against non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He passed away on December 4, 2001, following a bone marrow transplant. A very organized and well-prepared student, Lyle quickly became a leader in his class. His charisma, friendliness, and service to others marked his experience at Ohio State. He was genuinely interested in other people and made friends quickly, probably because people wanted to be around his joyful spirit. Lyle's determination and his infectious enthusiasm for life will be remembered fondly, and sadly missed by all who knew him.

Dr. Cynthia Heard, Class of 1992, was an Ohio State Optometry clinical faculty member from 1993 to 2007 and remembers Lyle Gassman well. "I think I was the first person that Lyle Gassman spoke to about his diagnosis. He happened to be in primary care that day he received the call from the nurse regarding his diagnosis. He sat in my office and cried. He willed himself to control his emotions and went back to seeing patients. He was a phenomenal guy! I donate every year to the fund named in his honor by his family since it was established. There were many caring people at OSU optometry that helped Lyle and his family get through those tough months before his passing. He is truly missed."

Dean Emeritus Dr. John P. Schoessler was dean of the college when Lyle passed away in 2001, and he also remembers him fondly. "I remember Lyle as a servant/leader among his classmates. The Optometry Class of 2002 was a tightly knit group. Lyle encouraged and inspired his classmates, and his classmates surrounded him with compassion and reassurance as his disease progressed. He leaves a testimony of bravery, courage and selflessness. The Doctor of Optometry Degree was conferred to Lyle at convocation in June 2002. The diploma was presented to Dr. Gassmann's family as a memorial and remembrance of his heartfelt desire to become an optometrist and to serve others through the optometric profession."

The Gassmann family honored Lyle’s life through an endowment. The Lyle Aloysius John Gassmann Memorial Award Fund in Optometry was established December 6, 2002, with gifts from family, friends, and classmates. The annual investment income from this endowment is awarded in its entirety to the graduating optometry student who best exemplifies Lyle's humanitarian characteristics, leadership qualities, and service to others. The individual student is selected by the dean of the College of Optometry, a representative of the college's student affairs office, and a representative from the College of Optometry faculty.

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