Dean's Message

A message from the dean to the College of Optometry.
Karla Zadnik

“Sometimes heaven is just a new pair of glasses.” –Anne Lamott


We are still basking in the glow of the graduation of The Ohio State University College of Optometry Class of 2023. We staged a student awards reception, a graduation banquet, a luncheon to honor our Optometry Alumni Society awardees, convocation where we hooded 60 new optometrists, and the all-university commencement in Ohio Stadium. It was a whirlwind!

Highlights included a 30-person-strong Alumni Band appearance at the banquet. They were led by Shelley Graf, who was the drum major for the Ohio State Marching Band in 1981. She was the first woman drum major. I have long followed her and admired her at various alumni band events over the past couple of decades. And there she was! At our event! She led the graduates in a Block O march around the banquet room to the Script Ohio music, and I got to … well, not dot the I technically …but I certainly pretended to. The band included a legally blind trumpeter who does all the scheduling for the alumni band. Given the event and the presence of all the happy parents in the room, I was especially touched by their performance of Sweet Child of Mine.

The band was followed by the comedic stylings of our own Mike Earley (OD/MS’88 PhD’92), as he introduced the audience to the Class of 2023’s Monday Memes during the pandemic and summarized their cumulative number of examinations—in both academic and patient care settings. They have left an impressive legacy of education and eye care delivered, all against the backdrop of the pandemic.

I have had a couple of career developments recently. In February, The Ohio State University Board of Trustees extended my decanal appointment by a year, through June 30, 2025. Then, just this week, the provost announced that I will serve as the interim dean of the College of Public Health as of July 1, an appointment that will continue until the new dean arrives on campus. We have long had natural affinities between the Colleges of Optometry and Public Health, especially when Mel Shipp, OD, MPH, PhD, served as dean and president of the American Public Health Association.

As always, the future is bright for Ohio State Optometry. Our Class of 2027 rolls up in mid-August with stellar academic credentials. We welcomed five new clinical faculty members in February: Zachary Coates (OD/MS’19); Jocelyn Daniel, OD; Carissa Janczak, OD; Danielle Orr (OD/MS’17); and Doug Widmer (OD’11, MS’16). Yueh-Shun (Walter) Wu joins us July 1 as a provost’s fellow-to-faculty tenure-track faculty member to continue his University of Minnesota studies of vision impairment and quality of life. You’ll hear great things from all of them in the months and years to come—stay tuned!

Go BuckEYES,

Karla Zadnik, OD, PhD
Dean, Glenn A. Fry Professor in Optometry and Physiological Optics