2016 Annual Report





Matriculating Students

Female Students

Male Students

Class of 2020

Infographic with statistics and quotes about the Class of 2020.In August of 2016, New England College of Optometry welcomed the largest class in our 122-year history. The Class of 2020 is unique for more reasons than its illustrious year of graduation, which turns out to be very apropos given their choice of professions. Although they are a diverse group and come from different backgrounds, they share two common characteristics: they are all from the generation sometimes referred to as millenials, and more importantly, they are all seeking a career in optometry. 

In general, competition for any optometry degree program is rigorous and NECO is no exception.  In spite of the competitive nature of making application to optometry programs, NECO received more than 800 applications for the class of 2020. Our large class can be attributed to the fact NECO provides an early and diverse and intense clinical experience, is of relatively small size, is a single curriculum institution, and along with the Boston location, are all factors that make coming to NECO very attractive.

Every class has a personality, and the class of 2020 is no exception. Kristen Tobin, Director of Admissions acknowledged that the class of 2020 is highly motivated and academically prepared. She explains, “There is something very special about this class.  Throughout the recruitment process, and during their first semester at NECO, I have found the Class of 2020 students to be extremely dedicated, friendly, humble and hard-working.  As a whole they bring a sense of positive energy to the College and their passion for optometry and commitment to service is very evident.”

NECO students, and the class of 2020 in particular, have a strong humanitarian commitment. Many first year students have already signed on to work towards a VOSH (Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity) trip in their third year. Every year, 25 students accompany a faculty member, Bina Patel, OD, and other volunteer optometrists, to an underserved or third world country to provide eye and vision care as part of VOSH trip.  To be eligible to go on a VOSH medical mission, NECO students accumulate a certain number of volunteer hours at the College and in the Boston community.

View the NECO Class of 2020 infographic.

Student Spotlight

Profiles In Vision

 Profiles In Vision

Profiles in Vision has become one of NECO’s marquee events for board members, senior leadership and faculty, current NECO supporters, corporate sponsors, supporters, committee members, health care industry leaders, Boston business community and health center representatives.  This year marked the fifth Profiles in Vision event and was held at one of Boston’s premier waterfront locations, the InterContinental Boston. 

100+ people gathered in reception area talking to each other in small groups

New England College of Optometry’s longstanding tradition of serving the community is built into our mission:  “Change the way people see the world through optometric education, discovery, and service.” The College is committed to providing leadership, innovation, and access to optometric care to the community. Care is delivered directly in our eye care centers and community health center as well as through our mobile vision clinic. Established in 2010, the mobile clinic travels throughout the state, delivering eye exams, eyeglasses, case management, and low vision rehabilitation services to children and adults directly on-site. 

Profiles In Vision 2016 focused on the high impact of low vision services. The evening celebrated the contributions that New England College of Optometry has made in improving access to eye care throughout the Commonwealth, particularly in the area of low vision rehabilitation. 

Janet LaBreck speaking at podium

This year, NECO honored Janet LaBreck, who was nominated as Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) within the United States Department of Education, by President Barack Obama. Prior to that appointment, LaBreck served as the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, where she organized campaigns that increased access and opportunities for more than 30,000 legally blind Massachusetts residents. Connected to NECO since she was a patient as a child, Commissioner LaBreck is a champion of the College and its clinical outreach efforts.  She discussed the tremendous impact that low vision technologies and services can have, noting, “These tools and strategies are used on a day-to-day basis to move people from diagnosis to independent, productive, and, most importantly, contributors to the community.” 

Author Ben Mezrich speaking at podium.Boston resident and New York Times bestselling author, Ben Mezrich was also a special guest. He shared his experiences in how he came to write two of his bestselling books, “Bring Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T Students Who Took Vegas for Millions” and “The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal”.

Six students, one male and five female, standing and posing for photo

President Clifford Scott highlighted the College’s reputation and its extraordinary contributions to the Greater Boston area in leadership, innovation and enhancing patient access.  He introduced Honorary Committee Co-Chairs John Connors, of Boathouse, Inc. and Jim Hunt, CEO of Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers.

President Scott stands with four supporters including John Connors, Janet LaBreck, and Jim Hunt.

John Connors highlighted NECO’s ongoing approach of integrating innovative optometric education with early and diverse clinical care. He also described how the College’s commitment to leadership and excellence is aligned with an advanced approach in preparing our students to be future leaders in health care and active contributors to their community.

Co-chair Jim Hunt standing with Josh Kraft.

Jim Hunt offered praise for the work that the College has done over the years in partnership with the Neighborhood Health Centers.  Since the 1970s, the College has had a strong relationship with community health centers, been providing comprehensive eye care, including specialty care, at community health centers in the greater Boston area. Today, these clinical affiliations and community partnerships have expanded to include specialty low vision and vision rehabilitation services at Perkins School for the Blind and the Carroll Center, and to residents throughout Massachusetts through the services of our mobile clinic.

Commissioner Paul Saner and Sandra SanerThe next Profiles In Vision will take place in April, 2018, and will provide another opportunity for NECO to celebrate our commitment to the Boston Community and beyond though our ongoing efforts to improve access to eye and vision care.

Honors, Awards & Accolades

Highlighting the achievements of NECO’s community of faculty, staff, students and alumni.


  • ELENA Z. BIFFI, OD ’10, MSc, FAAO ELENA Z. BIFFI, OD ’10, MSc, FAAO 2016 AOF/Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. Innovation in Education Grant Recipient
  • JANE GWIAZDA, PhD JANE GWIAZDA, PhD National Advisory Eye Council Appointment at the National Eye Institute (NEI).
  • RICHARD JAMARA, OD '80, FAAO RICHARD JAMARA, OD '80, FAAO 2016 AOF/ Frederic Rosemore Low Vision Educational Grant Recipient
  • STACY LYONS, OD '88 STACY LYONS, OD '88 Dr. Mae Booth-Jones Award for Mentoring and Education Recipient
  • ALEXIS MALKIN, OD, '08, FAAO ALEXIS MALKIN, OD, '08, FAAO Readers Digest Partners for Sight Foundation Grant Recipient
  • BRUCE MOORE, OD '75, FAAO BRUCE MOORE, OD '75, FAAO Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health Recipient
  • DEBRA NICKLA, PhD DEBRA NICKLA, PhD National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grant Recipient, research on circadian rhythms
  • BINA PATEL, OD, FAAO BINA PATEL, OD, FAAO 2016 VOSH/ International Humanitarian of the Year Award Recipient
  • NICOLE ROSS, OD '11 NICOLE ROSS, OD '11 2016 ASCO Rising Star Award Recipient
  • FUENSANTA VERA-DIAZ, OD, PhD FUENSANTA VERA-DIAZ, OD, PhD Scientific Research Career Development Award Recipient, American Academy of Optometry.

Leadership Team

  • ROBERT DIMARTINO, OD ROBERT DIMARTINO, OD Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs Appointment
  • TRACI LOGAN TRACI LOGAN Boston Business Journal’s 8th annual CFO of the Year program finalist


  • MARIA DENIETOLIS, OD '16 MARIA DENIETOLIS, OD '16 2016 Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. Award of Excellence in Contact Lens Recipient
  • LAURA GOLDBERG, OD ‘16 LAURA GOLDBERG, OD ‘16 Master’s thesis published in the Journal of Vision Research
  • JAMEEL KANJI, OD '14, MS JAMEEL KANJI, OD '14, MS Terrance Ingraham Pediatric Optometry Residency Award Recipient
  • RICHARD LONDON, MA, OD '78, FAAO RICHARD LONDON, MA, OD '78, FAAO Vincent Ellerbrock Clinician Educator Award Recipient
  • CAITLIN MORRISON, OD '15 CAITLIN MORRISON, OD '15 Bert C. and Lydia M. Corwin Contact Lens Residency Award Recipient


  • TIANA CAMARILLO, OD '18 TIANA CAMARILLO, OD '18 VOSH One Student Grant Recipient
  • AVANI DAVE, OD '17 AVANI DAVE, OD '17 VSP/AOF Practice Excellence Scholarship Recipient
  • JUAN DING, AODP '17 JUAN DING, AODP '17 Dr. Norman E. Wallis Award for Excellence Recipient, highest score on the National Boards Part 1
  • MICAELA GOBEILLE, OD '18 MICAELA GOBEILLE, OD '18 2016 J. Pat Cummings Scholarship; Walmart Optometry Scholarship Recipient
  • SARA HANNA, OD '17 SARA HANNA, OD '17 VOSH One Student Grant Recipient
  • MICHAEL MERRITT, OD '17 MICHAEL MERRITT, OD '17 VSP/AOF Practice Excellence Scholarship Recipient; Walmart Optometry Scholarship

Clinical Campus

In September 2015, the Board of Trustees approved New England College of Optometry’s 5-year strategic plan (2015-2020). 

A key element of our Strategic Plan is the development of NECO’s Clinical Campus on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston.  Our clinical campus will co-locate our student clinical training facility (the pre-clinic experience) with our Primary and Specialty Patient Clinics, NECO’s Optical Center, as well as Clinical Research focused on improving patients’ lives. 

These interconnected activities will be united by our emphasis on stimulating innovation in teaching and learning - helping students make connections between discovery, integration and application to improve patient care; accentuating clinical experiences designed and appropriately timed to allow students to meld knowledge with patient impact; exposing students to new models in eye care delivery; and excellence in practice management.