When one door opens, another closes. We’ve all heard that cliché. But many of the doors around The Eye Institute’s (TEI) Oak Lane campus were open, warm and welcoming to kick off the season last week with the annual holiday party and door decorating contest.

In the spirit of the season, clinical faculty and staff had a chance to show off their creativity and door decorating skills in a good-natured competition that was ultimately judged by Salus University president Dr. Michael Mittelman and provost Dr. Barry Eckert.

“I do this every year. It’s always fun and it’s something I look forward to,” said Dr. Mittelman. “Everybody is a winner in my view.”

Still, the judges had to choose winners. And, it was difficult, given the level of the creative competition.

In the end, there were several winners, who received gift cards as prizes. At TEI, first place went to the William Feinbloom Low Vision Rehabilitation Center; second place to administration; and third place was a tie between the residents’ office and Optometric Clinical Affairs.

Once the winners were chosen and gift cards distributed, it was off to the Hafter Student Community Center in the afternoon, where the gymnasium was decked out in holiday decorations and the DJ spun seasonal tunes.

Scrumptious hors d’oeuvres were served ahead of the buffet meal, after which attendees could sample the dessert table filled with homemade sweets from staff members. Each partygoer was given a raffle ticket upon entering the gym, and prizes were given – the grand prize was a 50-inch television – to the lucky ticket holders.

The party itself takes about two and half months to plan, according to Maura Keenan, MBA, CEBS, vice president of Human Resources, who along with team members in HR planned the festivities, which attracted approximately 200 doctors and staff this year.

“I think we did great this year because we had better door prizes and that always makes it fun,” said Keenan. “And, the food was very good this year.”

Dr. Mittelman praised the party planners for another stellar job of giving faculty and staff a top-notch holiday party.

“I want to thank Maura Keenan and her team. I also want to thank our facilities and maintenance staff, they always make this place look nice,” said Dr. Mittelman. “Thank you for coming and making this a great party, and for those of you who decorated your doors today, thank you very much. You made us much more festive and there’s lots of creativity around here.”

As lunch concluded, Dr. Mittelman presented length of service awards to faculty and staff. Congratulations to the following service award recipients affiliated with TEI:

45 years – Dr. Joel Silbert, Cornea and Contact Lens Service, TEI

35 years – Dr. Elise Ciner, co-director of the Special Populations Assessment and Rehabilitation Center,  TEI

30 years – Dr. Andrew Gurwood, Chief of Primary Care, TEI; Dr. Helene Kaiser, Primary Care, TEI; Dr. Jean Marie Pagani, Chief of Primary Care, TEI

25 years – Dr. Lynn Greenspan, Vision Rehabilitation, TEI

15 years – Carolyn Mason, contact lens representative

5 years –Jasmine Campbell, vision therapy coordinator; Dawn Ciccarone, clinical instructor, Occupational Therapy; John Gaal, vice president of clinical operations; Dr. Mary-Jo Thomas, Primary Care Services, TEI; Terrill Johnson, medical records clerk
After the awards and prizes were given out, attendees then whooped it up with games, including reindeer ring toss and marshmallow toss, after which the DJ cranked up some non-holiday music and attendees showed off their line-dancing skills until it was time to go home.