Western University of Heath Sciences’ College of Optometry Founding Dean Elizabeth Hoppe, OD, DrPh, will be one of nine women to be honored by the YWCA San Gabriel Valley during its 29th annual Women of Achievement Awards.

The YWCA this year is honoring “”Women of Achievement in the Field of Education: Honoring Passion, Dedication, and Achievement”” during its awards event on May 21, 2013.

College of Optometry Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs Robert Gordon, OD, FAAO, DPNAP, said he nominated Hoppe because she’s an extraordinary woman who met all the requirements for the honor.

“”She is a woman of achievement in the field of education,”” Gordon said. “”She’s been a pioneer with her work in public health, educating optometry students throughout her career and being the founding dean for the College of Optometry. She has guided the development and assembled all the puzzle parts to build an incredible faculty and facilities for the College.””

Hoppe joined WesternU in January 2007 to establish the University’s College of Optometry, which will graduate its inaugural class in May 2013. She previously was Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the New England College of Optometry, and was a tenured professor at Southern California College of Optometry, where she also was director of the outreach clinical programs, coordinator for the public health curriculum, and clinical preceptor in primary care and low vision. Hoppe was the first woman chosen as editor of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry’s peer reviewed journal, Optometric Education, and was the first woman in optometry to hold the DrPH, which to date is held by only a small percentage of women.

According to a YWCA press release, education is central to the success of the nation. Women have a dynamic and crucial role in the field of education, representing 76 percent of public school educators and 74 percent of private school educators, in addition to the positions held as administrators, classified employees or elected officials.

Founded in 1935, the YWCA San Gabriel Valley has been a long-standing community partner, working at individual and community levels to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.