Marshall B. Ketchum University Shared Visions Gala & V–Awards Honorees Announced; Gala Benefits Children’s Vision Readiness in Orange County

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Celebrating its 110th Anniversary, MBKU Honors Essilor USA, Corporate Humanitarian Service V-Award; Wayne Heidle, Volunteer; and Rose Fortney, Shared Visions Art Exhibit artist & Shared Visions Signature Artist Awardee

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With a focus on supporting vision readiness for all children in Orange County, Marshall B. Ketchum University (MBKU), celebrating its 110th Anniversary, will honor a corporate and individual community leader, as well as a Shared Visions Signature Artist at their 4th annual Shared Visions Gala & V-Awards, Thursday, October 2, 2014, at a 4:30 p.m. VIP reception and 5:30 p.m. gala at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library located at 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd., in Yorba Linda, CA.

Awards and honorees include:

  •     Corporate Humanitarian Service V-Award, Essilor USA
  •     Individual Humanitarian Service V-Award, Wayne Heidle, Volunteer, Adjunct Assistant Professor and Adaptive Technology Specialist
  •     Shared Visions Signature Artist Award, Rose Fortney, Shared Visions Art Exhibit artist

“We are honored to receive the Corporate Humanitarian Service V-Award from MBKU,” said Bob Colucci, president, Independent Distribution Division and Chairman, Essilor Vision Foundation. “Essilor’s long-standing and continued support for MBKU is important to us because we feel our goals for the community, especially for the children, are parallel. Within the last year, we’ve supported more than 5,000 vision screenings for children in Orange County, and we’re committed to continuing to work with MBKU to increase the number of screenings for children in the coming year.”

“We appreciate the social impact Essilor has made on men, women and children around the world, and we are thrilled to honor the company with MBKU’s V-Award for Corporate Humanitarian Service at the upcoming Shared Visions Gala,” said Marshall B. Ketchum University President Kevin Alexander, O.D., Ph.D.

The Shared Visions Gala & V–Awards is the signature fundraising event for MBKU of Fullerton, CA, home of the Southern California College of Optometry and the new School of Physician Assistant Studies, with the first class beginning in 2014. Continuing the theme “Sharing Vision—Changing Lives,” the program focus of this year’s Shared Visions Gala & V–Awards is to seek to have all children in Orange County vision ready for school through MBKU’s children’s vision programs, which includes the Eye Force One mobile van and community-outreach events.

“It is estimated that as much as 80 percent of the learning a child does in school occurs through their eyes, yet on average it can take a child as long as 18 months to receive an eye examination,” Dr. Alexander continued. “Through MBKU’s children’s vision programs, our goal is to decrease the visual obstacles that interfere with a child’s ability to function and learn in the classroom by providing the access to much needed comprehensive vision care. As we learn more about the increasing need for our children’s vision programs in the Orange County community, each gala becomes more significant, with each dollar raised and partnerships like the one we’ve established with Essilor as equally important to make these programs successful.”

For the fourth year, Frances M. Hunter-Knott of Fullerton will serve as Honorary Chair, and PBS SoCal producer, reporter and host Maria Hall-Brown will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies. A silent auction will be held with proceeds from the Gala supporting vision readiness for all children in Orange County.

The Shared Visions Gala and V–Awards program includes selections from the Shared Visions Art Exhibit, showcasing works by blind or visually impaired artists, with some of the artists in attendance at the event.

Individual Gala tickets, table sponsorships and commemorative program opportunities are available by visiting

For media inquiries, contact Shared Visions Gala & V–Awards Publicists, Norma Kelly at 818-509-0575, nkellypr(at)sbcgobal(dot)net or Liza Sacilioc at 818-509-9275, lsaciliocpr(at)gmail(dot)com. With advance RSVP, members of the press are invited to attend a Media/VIP reception from 4:30pm-5:30pm for photos and interviews with awardees.

ABOUT THE SHARED VISIONS GALA & V–AWARDS: In its fourth year, the Shared Visions Gala & V–Awards is the signature fundraising event for Marshall B. Ketchum University in Fullerton, CA. Proceeds from the event go toward supporting vision readiness for all children in Orange County. Since its inception, the Gala has raised over $400K.

About Marshall B. Ketchum University
Rooted in a tradition of excellence in Optometry, Marshall B. Ketchum University's (MBKU's), vision is to reimagine the future of health care education by educating caring, inspired health care professionals who are prepared to deliver collaborative, patient-centric health care in an interprofessional environment.

MBKU's Vision: To reimagine the future of health care education.
MBKU's Mission: To educate caring, inspired health care professionals who are prepared to deliver collaborative, patient-centric health care in an interprofessional environment.
MBKU's Core Values: Excellence, Integrity, Innovation, Compassion and Respect.

Marshall B. Ketchum University is now home to the Southern California College of Optometry and the School of Physician Assistant Studies. Named after the founder of the optometric institution in 1904, the change to a university structure addresses the growing demand for highly skilled health care professionals. MBKU will provide a diversity of health care education opportunities in an environment fully focused on medical professionalism; combining advanced clinical training with innovative teaching methods. The University confers a four-year, professional degree, Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) and a Master of Science in Vision Science (M.S.) degree. MBKU's School of Physician Assistant Studies expects to award a Master of Medical Sciences (MMS) degree. MBKU has recently announced plans to establish a College of Pharmacy.

The University's superior 110-year-old optometric clinical education program provides patient care experiences in community optometric clinics; exposure to the delivery of optometric care in multi-disciplinary settings; and experiences in practices serving a wide variety of ethnic and socio-economic patient groups. Marshall B. Ketchum University owns and operates two premier eye and vision care centers – University Eye Center at Fullerton located on its campus in Fullerton, CA, and University Eye Center at Los Angeles located on Broadway at Martin Luther King Boulevard near downtown Los Angeles.

Marshall B. Ketchum University: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Southern California College of Optometry: Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) of the American Optometric Association.
School of Physician Assistant Studies: The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Marshall B. Ketchum University Physician Assistant Program.

Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status. The status indicates that the plans and resource allocation for the proposed program appear to demonstrate the program's ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards, if fully implemented as planned. Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.

Essilor is the leading manufacturer of optical lenses in the United States and is the market leader in progressive, high-index and anti-reflective coated lenses. A pioneer in the development and production of ophthalmic lenses, Essilor employs more than 9,000 people throughout North America. Essilor manufactures optical lenses under the VARILUX®, CRIZAL®, XPERIO®, DEFINITY®, THIN&LITE® and other Essilor brand names. Essilor Laboratories of America, Inc is the largest, and most trusted, optical lab network in the U.S. and offers a wide choice of services and lens brands, including Essilor premium lenses, to eyecare professionals across the nation. Essilor of America, Inc. (Essilor) is a subsidiary of Paris-based Essilor International, a publicly held company traded on the Euronext Paris stock exchange (Reuters: ESSI.PA).


Corporate Humanitarian Service V-Award
Essilor of America
Essilor of America is dedicated to giving back to the community through its support of charitable organizations across the United States and around the world. From providing free vision screenings and lenses to Special Olympic athletes, to event sponsorships that support Prevent Blindness America, and Kids Vision for Life, Essilor has touched the lives of thousands of people through its philanthropic donations. In appreciation of its social impact on men, women and children around the world, MKBU will be honoring Essilor with its V-Award for Corporate Humanitarian Service at its Shared Visions Gala on October 2, 2014.

Individual Humanitarian Service V-Award
Wayne Heidle, Volunteer, Adjunct Assistant Professor and Adaptive Technology Specialist
After becoming legally blind from Retinitis Pigmentosa, Wayne Heidle (60) of La Habra, Calif. poured his efforts into non-profit groups that assist the low vision and blind communities. For the Southern California College of Optometry (SCCO) at Marshal B. Ketchum University (MBKU), Heidle has served in many inspiring roles as a volunteer. Service for MBKU has included Vice President of the Foundation for the Preservation of Sight (FPS), Chairman of the Low Vision Council (LVC), and 2011 co-chair of the Inaugural Shared Visions Blue Ribbon Committee to support the Shared Vision Gala. Heidle currently serves on MBKU’s Campaign Cabinet for future University expansion and continues as a member of the Shared Visions Blue Ribbon Committee. He is also a volunteer Low Vision Adaptive Technology Specialist providing technology assessment to low vision patients. For the last seven years he guest lectures to 3rd year Optometry students from a “patient’s perspective” as well as lecturing on the latest technologies for the visually impaired. In 2012, MBKU gave Wayne the honor of a lifetime bestowing an on him an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor title for his years of volunteering and serving the University. In 2013 Wayne took on a new project setting up the SCCO/BCLC Technology Center at Blind Children’s Learning Center.

Heidle’s community volunteering includes many organizations for the blind and visually impaired, including Braille Institute of America (BIA), where among his various roles, he founded the Braille Men’s Support Group in 2005. In August he will serve as the Vice President of the Guide Dog Teams of Orange County (GDTOC), and is the past President, Vice President of the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) Orange County Chapter. Heidle retired as a construction executive in 2004. Prior accomplishments include President of the Anaheim General Foundation providing college scholarships for young adults, past board member of the St. Jude Hospital’s Memorial Foundation Board of Directors, past President of the St. Jude’s Presidents Cabinet and past Vice President of the Siglos Board.

Shared Visions Signature Artist Award
Rose Fortney, Shared Visions Art Exhibit artist
Rose Fortney (59) from Milwaukee, WI, believes that art chose her when she was a young child. Her father enlightened her to see what SHE sees in a painting, for it can be beautifully and uniquely interpreted by another. The effects of Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) continued to shrink her vision field slowly during her teen years, yet she continued to study art at Mt. Mary University in Wisconsin, where she studied Education and Fine Arts. Fortney explains that eleven years ago this mixed blessing of RP brought a beautiful guide dog, Clyde, to join her traveling artistic pursuit as her central vision decreased to a 5-degree tunnel. Clyde gave Fortney the paramount amount of courage to enter an Art studio and receive a most profound and complete welcome as a visually impaired artist being led forward into acceptance as a Real Artist.

As for her artistic inspiration and technique, “The love of playing my 40-string harp enables me to feel colorful moods & musical modes that quite often find their presence onto my artful canvas,” says Fortney. “These artworks are of illuminating, bright colors and high contrasts which combat my darkness. My brushstrokes live the freedom of movement, which I do not easily experience in my physical, spacial surroundings due to blindness.”

In fulfilling her desire to create big and to extend outward in spite of limited vision, her artworks have been juried and exhibited in galleries, enabling others to experience their own unique artistic encounters with her creations, including: the Regional Public Library System, various nonprofit organizations throughout Milwaukee/Southeast Wisconsin, and juried galleries in Madison, Louisville, New York, Chicago, San Francisco.

“Ultimately and most recently the honor of being chosen the Signature Artist for Shared Visions 2014 at MBKU in Fullerton, CA and of course, the prestigious artist V-Award at the October 2, 2014 Gala Event at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, CA. bring me to a ‘new vastness’ from which all things appear vastly more beautiful, waiting to be discovered,” continued Fortney. “ I feel strongly that my art-life biography be dedicated to the special spirits who have energized me into being the artist I am, for I cannot be in this place without their belief and dedication to me, including my parents, Theresa and Oliver Land, my 8 other siblings; my soul-fully supportive husband, David, who continues to enhance my creative beliefs and travel the galleries of my artistic life; and our dearest daughter, Alison, who shares her mother's fateful RP gene which also compels her to successfully use her "camera-lens" vision to the MAX as a photographer with vision loss.”

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