Optometry Procedures Room and Research Facility Undergo Redevelopment with Donor Support

Jefferson Hall, home to the Pacific University College of Optometry, is getting an ongoing facelift — this time on the third floor.Front facade of Jefferson Hall on the Forest Grove Campus

With the help of generous alumni and friends, the procedures room is undergoing redevelopment with updated equipment and technology to provide a state-of-the art clinical training experience for Pacific’s optometry students. Next to the procedures room, a newly expanded research facility will house the Vision Performance Institute, as well as the master’s and PhD programs in vision science.

The College of Optometry offers students a top-notch optometric education focused on clinical expertise, research and service to the community. This renovation will benefit all of these goals, bringing the research facility together with the redeveloped procedures room, where Pacific optometry students first put their practical knowledge to the test in a clinical setting.

The updated procedures room is where the first-, second- and third-year students learn clinical procedures for comprehensive eye exams, contact lens education, ocular disease, and more. It is here that they refine the techniques they will use for treating their patients in the coming years. The renovation has maximized space to allow for more practice lanes for students to apply what they have learned, while updated equipment and technology means that optometry faculty will be able to teach with tools and technology that mimic what is used in the college’s EyeClinics. These updates provide students with the tools they need to prepare them for any type of practice they might work at during their rotations and beyond.

“The procedures rooms are the heart of our program,” said Dr. Fraser Horn ’00, OD ’04, dean of the College of Optometry. “They are truly critical to the success of our students, and to upgrade these to a welcoming and first-rate educational space is so exciting ... You cannot help but walk into the procedures lanes and realize that this is a revitalized room with a focus on outstanding education.”

The renovation moves the Vision Performance Institute and vision science programs from Pacific Hall to Jefferson Hall, where all College of Optometry programs will now be housed under the same roof in a state-of-the-art research facility that includes faculty offices, multiple research spaces, a full exam lane, meeting space and a classroom outfitted with cameras to allow for live-streaming lectures.

“This remodel elevates the resources that our researchers are able to utilize and allows for us to support more students and research projects within our program,” Dr. Horn said.

Support for this project has come from a wide range of Pacific supporters, but has proven especially popular with College of Optometry alumni.

Take Pacific optometry alumna Cristina Schnider OD ’82, who teamed up with Pacific Optometry Professor Emerita Carole Timpone to sponsor a two-lane procedure suite.

“As a lifelong educator in the field of optometry, I know how important it is that students are supported and inspired from Day 1 of their education,” Dr. Schnider said. “Having quality equipment and a space conducive to education in a clinical setting is critical. This renovated space is a huge step in that direction.”

Dr. Timpone agreed: “I am thrilled for the opportunity to contribute to the completion of these well-designed, and newly equipped, Jefferson Hall clinical procedures rooms. Our optometry students experience an intensive didactic program in the classroom. It is in these procedures rooms that our students are first introduced to the application of their knowledge, and spend many hours practicing extensively the hands-on examination and treatment skills that will be at the heart of their careers in patient care.”

Optometry alumnus William Church OD ’68 and his wife Patricia also supported the renovation effort. The Church family has supported a scholarship with the College of Optometry for almost 30 years but also understood the need and impact that improved learning spaces could have on future students.

“We believe that for Pacific University's College of Optometry continued success, it is important for its graduates and friends to provide financial support,” Dr. Church said. “The capital improvement to Jefferson Hall is a great opportunity to show support.”

The project has also received support from industry partners in the field of optometry, including VSP Global. For more than 20 years, VSP has supported Pacific optometry students with scholarships and continuing education events, fostering a strong relationship and support for generations of optometrists and vision care specialists. Now, they’ve broadened their support with this capital project.

“VSP has always valued our longstanding partnership with Pacific University College of Optometry, and we appreciate the high level of quality education the school provides to optometry students,” said Ron Kemper, university & student relations manager at VSP Global. “Our support for the Jefferson Hall renovation is a small token of our gratitude and utmost belief in Pacific’s commitment to producing the best and brightest optometrists of the next generations.”   

Dean Horn said the outpouring of support from industry partners, alumni and friends is an honor.

“This wonderful remodel on the third floor provides amazing spaces for our research program to utilize and continue transformative research and education,” he said. “It is the support of our industry partners, alumni, and friends that are the catalyst to make this happen.

“We continue to make sure that we provide excellent education in a family atmosphere. I appreciate that [they] are part of making our program a success.”

Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021