Neal J. Bailey Optometry Medal for Development

Dr. Neal J. Bailey (BS-Optom '47, PhD '54) was a truly outstanding clinician, educator, author, researcher, and entrepreneur who practiced in Columbus and taught at the college for more than two decades. In 1995, he and his beloved wife, Florence, established the Neal J. and Florence E. Bailey Scholarship in Optometry to provide scholarships for students who demonstrated leadership ability, a high degree of academic potential, scholastic achievement, and enthusiasm for learning. At that time, it was one of the largest endowments the college had ever received from an individual. So it was fitting that the Neal J. Bailey Optometry Medal for Development be established to recognize exceptionally philanthropic individuals who have donated a cumulative amount of $50,000 or more to The OSU College of Optometry.

2013 Bailey Medal Recipients

James R. Garstick (BS-Optom '51) and his wife, Vylee, gave appreciated stock to establish an endowed scholarship fund in 1995 for third- and fourth-year optometry students with financial needs. His work ethic and very strong commitment to optometric continuing education set an example for future students to emulate. It is with the same thought that he made this scholarship gift to the college. Dr. Garstick commented that he wanted to set an example for his classmates. It must have worked because two classmates of his followed suit – Drs. Ralph Miller and Forrest Baillie.

The Garsticks received their Bailey Medal in 2013 from Dean Mel Shipp, Development Officer Rachel Childress, and Capital Campaign Chair Jeffrey Myers (OD ’84) in Akron. Dr. Garstick began practicing in Columbiana, Ohio in 1954 after a few short years in other locations. Having grown up in Warren, just 30 miles north, he knew that Columbiana would be a great place to raise a family and settle for the remainder of his optometric career. In these 60 years, Dr. Garstick has become well known in his community and continues to set an example by being an involved citizen, participating in city council, being a member of the local Ohio State alumni club and supporting other area events.

Ralph M. Miller (BS-Optom '51) and his wife, Annabel, established an Endowed Scholarship Fund, using appreciated stock, to help young optometry students stay in school and help to lower the level of student indebtedness during their optometric education. When they established their Fund in 2000, Dr. Miller said: "I was able to go to college with help from the GI bill. Otherwise, I may not have made it through. So I'm glad to help some students lighten their debt after graduation…."

In 2013 the Millers received their Bailey Medal from Dean Mel Shipp in their home in Walnut Creek, Ohio. Dr. Miller became an optometrist after looking at dentistry and medicine and deciding those weren't for him. The local optometrist in Millersburg told him that it was "a good life" and that's all Dr. Miller needed to hear. After school, he returned to his roots and feels that his success was in large part because he could speak Pennsylvania Dutch, making him a friend of the local, large Amish population. In retirement, the Millers moved to Colorado for a number of years, enjoying the beauty of the mountains. Recently, they returned to Walnut Creek and live only a few steps away from where Dr. Miller was born and raised.

Barbara Fink (OD, MS ’85, PhD ’87) did her undergraduate work at the University of Notre Dame, and then earned her OD degree from Indiana University in 1981. She earned her MS and PhD degrees from OSU under the mentorship of Dean Emeritus, Richard M. Hill, in 1985 and 1987, respectively. Over the past 25 years, she has taught in most of the courses and clinics at the college; and has also mentored 16 graduate students. She has chaired the college’s Diversity Enhancement Committee since 1987. She currently has a 50% appointment in OSU’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, where she is committed to the recruitment and retention of under-represented students to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) degrees. She hopes that many of these promising students will ultimately choose optometry as their career.

Although most of our Bailey Medalists have established endowed funds, Dr. Fink has been giving to various funds at the college for 26 years through the annual Campus Campaign, which is the faculty and staff giving program at Ohio State. Through her payroll deduction over time, Dr. Fink has made a considerable impact in scholarship funds, minority support, research dollars and discretionary funding.

During a lunch at the OSU faculty club in 2013 with Dean Mel Shipp, Dr. Fink received her Bailey Medal and said how pleased and surprised she was that she had been able to reach this impressive milestone.

Robert D. Newcomb (OD '71, MPH) spent 26 years in federal service optometry (US Navy and Department of Veterans Affairs) before accepting a faculty position as a Professor of Clinical Optometry and the inaugural Vision Service Plan (VSP) Chair for the Advancement of Professional Practice – a position he held for 15 years prior to his retirement in 2012. He received his Bailey Medal from Dean Mel Shipp in 2013 at the OSU Reception held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Academy of Optometry in Seattle. The Robert D. Newcomb White Coat Fund will provide financial resources to make the college's annual White Coat Ceremony special and memorable for the Opt I students and their families. Through his gift, the college's annual White Coat ceremony will continue to be a highlight in the academic year, similar to the Welcome Dinner for first-year students in August and the always impressive Convocation ceremony for graduates in May.

Upon receiving his award at the college's alumni reception during the Academy meeting, Dr. Newcomb told his colleagues and friends at the event that Dr. Bailey was one of his favorite professors because he was both knowledgeable and humorous. His generosity to the college was something to emulate. Dr. Newcomb also said when he was a cub scout, his pack leader told the campers to "always leave their campsites in better condition than when they found them." Dr. Bailey left the college in better condition than he found it - and Dr. Newcomb is doing the same - hoping that others will adopt their giving philosophy to make the college even better for future generations of optometrists.

2007 Bailey Medal Recipients

In 2002 Wayne Collier made a commitment to the college during the Raise the Roof campaign. He chose to name the conference room in the new facility for his classmate and then-Dean John Schoessler. Dr. Collier received his medal Bailey medal in 2007 on the day of the dedication of the new Fry Hall tower. Today that conference room is used daily by various groups throughout the college.

In 2005 Bob Wright made a Raise the Roof commitment to name one of the new lobbies in the Fry Hall tower. Since that time Dr. Wright has been and important philanthropic partner here at Ohio State, providing more than $1 million to college priorities. Dr. Wright received his Bailey medal in 2007 following the dedication of the new facility.