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Photography by Matt Breneman

With a spotlight aimed at one of childhood’s most important healthcare tests, the Southern California College of Optometry held its premiere event of the season, the SHARED VISIONS GALA & V-AWARDS, at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda.

The College’s signature fundraising event facilitates top-tier healthcare education and the delivery of innovative vision care to the County’s under-served children.  For this 108 year old institution, this year’s Gala was a health-changing event, raising more than $200,000.

Serving for a second year as Honorary Chairs will be Community Philanthropists Frances and Steve Knott, along with Orange County PBS SoCal Anchor Maria Hall-Brown, serving as Master of Ceremonies.

“Good vision is required for learning and our mission is to ensure that every child in Orange County receives vision testing, regardless of financial ability,” stated College President Kevin L. Alexander, O.D., Ph.D.   “Through partnerships and sponsorships with our community leaders we can accomplish this.”

This was the second year that the V-Awards were presented to members of the community for their volunteer and humanitarian service and to one national vision care program.  The Awards are based upon service and contributions over time that have significantly advanced the stature and integrity of mankind.

V-Award recipients this year included Donald E. Studt, O.D., Abbott Medical Optics (accepted by Jeff Castillo), James H. Blake, Thomas S. Tooma, M.D. and InfantSEE Program (accepted by Ronald L. Hopping, O.D., MPH).

The evening’s festivities began with a special preview, from the College’s Shared Visions Art Exhibit, of art by blind or legally blind artists during the Cocktail Reception and Silent Auction. This year’s featured artist was Arlissa Vaughn, diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa seven years ago, who created a “live painting” during the reception entitled “Hope for Vision” which was then auctioned later in the evening.

Dinner was then served in the East Room of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, followed by the V-Award Presentation, Live Auction, and Entertainment by Singer Marleena Coulston Barber, who herself is legally blind due to Albinism.

Established in 1904, SCCO is a private, non-profit, educational institution dedicated to educating today’s minds to provide tomorrow’s eye vision, and health care.  The Southern California College of Optometry grants a four-year professional degree, Doctor of Optometry (OD) and a Master of Science in Vision Science (MS).

In August 2011, SCCO announced plans to start a Physician Assistant Program – the FIRST IN ORANGE COUNTY – via a two-year graduate degree.  The College’s superior clinical education program provides patient care experiences in community optometric clinics; exposure to the delivery of optometric care in multi-disciplinary settings; and experiences in practices serving a wide variety of ethnic and socio-economic patient groups.  SCCO owns and operates two premier eye and vision care centers – The Eye Care Center located on its Fullerton, California campus, and the Optometric Center of Los Angeles located in South Central Los Angeles.