A new endowed scholarship in the College of Optometry will encourage high academic achievement and political involvement in furthering the profession.

College of Optometry Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs Robert Gordon, OD, FAAO, DPNAP, and his wife, Andrea Silvers, OD, have established an endowed scholarship to benefit optometry students.

“We wanted to help a student progress through their optometric education and hopefully not have to worry as much about the financial implications of attending school,” Dr. Gordon said. “Having been the beneficiaries of scholarships when we were in school, we know how important they are.”

Gordon and Silvers both earned their Doctor of Optometry degrees from the Southern California College of Optometry, and they co-founded the Encino Optometric Center in 1973.

“Both of them have dedicated their entire professional lives to advancing optometry,” said College of Optometry Dean Elizabeth Hoppe, OD, MPH, DrPH. “Dr. Gordon really embodies all of the qualities that we’re trying to instill in our graduates. He works interprofessionally. He emphasizes rehabilitation. He’s an advocate for people with disabilities. He’s a leader.”

The Drs. Robert L. Gordon and Andrea C. Silvers Endowed Scholarship will be awarded to a student in their fourth year of school who ranks in the top 25 percent of their class. Candidates must also promote the profession of optometry at the state and/or national level.

Dr. Gordon is past president of the California Optometric Association (COA) and has served in leadership positions for numerous local and national organizations.

“I was the chair of the COA legislative committee when the optometric practice act was changed to allow optometrists to use therapeutic drugs to treat eye disease,” Dr. Gordon said. “I have seen firsthand the impact of being involved in the political process, and I’ve also seen the impact of not being involved in the political process. So my wife and I think it’s really important that people stay active in supporting their profession in whatever way possible.”

One of the main responsibilities of an educator/administrator is to lead by example, Dr. Gordon said, and he and his wife hope that establishing a scholarship will motivate others to do so as well.

“Hopefully we will impart our love for the profession of optometry and the joys of treating patients to our students, and they will go out and be great representatives of our profession and have all the traits of humanism that WesternU stands for,” he said.