Celebrating 120 Years of the Southern California College of Optometry

Marshall B Ketchum University’s Southern California College of Optometry (SCCO) recently marked a significant milestone by celebrating its 120th anniversary. Established in 1904 as the first optometry school in California, SCCO has a long-standing history of providing top-tier optometric education.

Julie A Schornack, OD, MEd, president at MBKU, emphasized the importance of SCCO’s journey, stating that it symbolizes a dedication to excellence in optometric education. She acknowledged the contributions of past and present leaders, faculty, students, and alumni in shaping the institution’s legacy and the success of numerous healthcare professionals.

SCCO offers OD and MS in Vision Science degrees, with its OD program accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education of the American Optometric Association, enabling graduates to practice in all 50 states. With relatively small cohort sizes of around 100 students, SCCO provides a personalized educational experience through involvement in various optometry-related clubs and assigned faculty mentors for each student.

The university also offers residency programs nationwide, introduced in 1977, that provide post-graduate clinical opportunities to enhance students’ clinical expertise and develop specializations in areas such as cornea and contact lenses, low vision rehabilitation, ocular disease, and pediatric optometry. These residencies, located in hospitals, VA facilities, and outpatient clinics, aim to broaden students’ practical skills.

Susan Cotter, OD, MS, FAAO, emphasized SCCO’s commitment to interprofessional collaboration, distinguishing the institution by equipping students with a diverse skill set to thrive in today’s dynamic medical landscape. Ketchum Health’s University Eye Centers in Anaheim Hills and Los Angeles offer students hands-on experience in various specialties like primary care, cornea/contact lenses, pediatric vision care, and vision therapy. Additionally, students engage in real-world simulations and collaborative projects during their tenure at SCCO.

SCCO’s dedication to high-quality education and clinical experience has cemented its reputation as a leader in optometric training, shaping the next generation of healthcare professionals prepared to excel in the ever-evolving field of optometry.