2023 Lighthouse Award Recipient
Sue Oleszewski

Dr. O. headshotFor nearly four decades, Dr. Sue Oleszewski — one of only four women in her graduating class and a giant in PCO/Salus history — held significant roles at the University.

And in 2023, Dr. O was presented with the Looking Out for Kids “Lighthouse Award,” given to those who are considered beacons of light and sources of strength in the community in which they live, work, and serve above and beyond their occupations. Recipients are honored for their extraordinary service that substantially benefits the health and well-being of disadvantaged and underserved children and youth in the greater Philadelphia area.

A native of Derry, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Dr. O attended Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, as a biology major. She then went on to receive her Doctor of Optometry degree from PCO and a master’s degree in biology from Temple University. She completed her residency at PCO where she was among the first group of residents to work at The Eye Institute (TEI) when it initially opened in 1978.

In her career she served in a variety of didactic, clinical and administrative capacities, including as both a classroom and a clinical instructor. Over time, she gradually assumed additional administrative responsibilities, first as chief of a Primary Care Service at TEI and then as the associate dean for Optometry and director of Clinical Services.

In 2005, she was named vice president for Patient Care Services. During her time in that role, Dr. O shepherded the more than $11 million dollar renovation of TEI, which was completed in 2012. The following year, she was appointed chief of staff at the University and then finally served as the vice president for Institutional Advancement and Community Relations until the beginning of 2018. In the course of her career, she also lectured extensively at meetings and conferences nationwide as well as to international audiences in 10 countries.

She was chief of staff and compliance officer before transitioning to the role of vice president for Institutional Advancement and Community Relations in 2016.

In 2018, Dr. Oleszewski was presented with the Alumni Association’s Special Recognition Award. Past recipients of the award have included both organizations and individuals who have significantly contributed to Salus, their profession or community.

On April 27, 2019, at the Centennial Gala, Dr. O was presented with the Presidential Medal of Honor. This award is given to those who have been part of the history of both PCO and Salus. The award is given to distinguished alumni, faculty, and friends of the College who have helped establish PCO as a pioneer and leader in the field of optometric education and the profession of optometry.

Past Recipients

2022 - Dr. Kovin Naidoo, Global Head, Advocacy and Partnerships, OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation

2021 - Thomas Shoemaker and Geoff Brandon, TD Bank

2019 - Alan Lindy, president of Lindy Communities

2018 - Donna Frisby-Greenwood, president and CEO of the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia

2017 - Shelly Yanoff, former Executive Director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY)

2016 - Honorable Risa Vetri Ferman, Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas

About the Lighthouse Award

lighthouse awardSince its inception, Salus University and its clinical facilities have been dedicated to protecting, promoting, and improving health and well-being through the delivery of outstanding health sciences education, leading-edge research, patient care, and community service to diverse populations in the United States and worldwide. The “Looking Out for Kids” (LOFK) vision care initiative and fundraiser was first held in 2007 and is emblematic of the Salus mission to make a difference in the communities we serve in Philadelphia and its surrounding communities. In reflection and recognition of the continuing success of this program, Salus University created the Lighthouse Award for stellar, selfless, path finding community service in 2016.

Those nominated for this prestigious award are beacons of light and sources of strength in the community in which they live, work, and serve above and beyond their occupations. Annually, one or more Lighthouse Award recipients will be nominated, selected and then honored for their extraordinary service that substantially benefits the health and well-being of disadvantaged and underserved children and youth in the greater Philadelphia area.