Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) College of Optometry will, after all, continue to be called NSU College of Optometry. Plans set in motion late last week to change the name to include “National Vision” have been reversed, after a philanthropic endowment from the corporation has been terminated.
Last week the school announced it had received a significant philanthropic gift from National Vision, Inc., and would rename the college to the NSU National Vision College of Optometry for an initial term of 10 years. In addition to the name change, the gift would have provided the college with student scholarships, faculty research, and equipment for the college’s simulation lab. Today, it was announced that all terms for the agreement have been cancelled.
“Although our organizations share many core values—particularly for serving our larger communities—we have come to realize that the issues associated with corporate philanthropy in the health sciences are still too nascent,” says Dr. George Hanbury, NSU’s president and CEO. “This topic deserves further thought and consideration over time from the broader academic, professional, philanthropic, and alumni communities. To that end, the CEO of National Vision and I have mutually agreed to end this philanthropic partnership. We greatly appreciate National Vision’s well-intended philanthropic gift and partnership, and look forward to continuing to explore meaningful collaborations between our two organizations in the future.”
National Vision is one of the largest optical retail companies in the U.S. with over 1,000 retail stores in 44 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It operates five retail brands (America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses, Eyeglass World, Vision Centers inside of Walmart stores, and Vista Opticals inside of Fred Meyer stores) and on select military bases, and several e-commerce sites.
The company has been a long-time supporter of NSU, including having donated a major piece of equipment —a Binocular Indirect Ophthalmoscope (BIO) simulator—to the College of Optometry’s training lab in 2015. The company has also sponsored numerous student events over the past few years.
“National Vision is and will always be an ‘optometrist-centric’ organization,” says Reade Fahs, CEO of National Vision. “We will continue to assess the most productive and impactful approaches for investing in optometric education to do our part in advancing the profession of optometry.”
Founded in 1989, the NSU College of Optometry is the only optometry program in Florida and one of only 23 colleges in the United States and Puerto Rico. It is fully accredited by The Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE). In addition to the Doctor of Optometry program, the college also offers a master’s degree in Clinical Vision Research and an extensive range of continuing education opportunities for optometrists