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IL: Midwestern University Announces New Optometry College, Dean for Downers Grove Campus

March 14, 2016

by Office of Communications

Midwestern University will offer a new Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) program on the Downers Grove Campus starting in 2017.

As the U.S. population ages, the demand for professional vision care is also on the rise. To address this need, Midwestern University is pleased to announce the establishment of the Optometry Program on the Downers Grove Campus. The University has received approval from both the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) and the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) to begin offering this new Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) professional degree program.

In order to recruit the best and brightest students to this new College, while helping to expand the overall pool of applicants who are interested in optometry as a career, the University will launch an extensive public awareness and recruitment campaign over the next 18 months. During this time, the University will continue to grow its patient treatment services at the Eye Institute, which is part of the Midwestern University Multispecialty Clinic (3450 Lacey Road, Downers Grove, IL). Construction will also begin on a new state-of-the-art classroom and laboratory facility on the academic campus, which will be specifically designed to meet the needs of the optometry faculty and students. Interested students may apply to the school through the OptomCAS website beginning in July 2016. The inaugural class of 60 students at the Optometry Program will begin their studies in the fall of 2017.

The new four-year program will provide students with a strong foundation in the basic and visual sciences, the application of scientific principles to diagnose and manage eye disorders, and extensive patient care experiences under the supervision of expert optometry faculty members. The College will maintain a low student-to-faculty ratio and will foster an open door policy, thus ensuring that students will receive individualized attention to ensure their success in the curriculum. Students will have the opportunity to work with faculty mentors to provide care to the community in the Midwestern University Eye Institute, which opened in June 2015.

Midwestern University is pleased to also announce the appointment of Sunny M. Sanders, O.D., FAAO, as the Dean of the Optometry Program. Dr. Sanders previously served the University as an Associate Dean and Associate Professor of the Arizona College of Optometry on the Glendale Campus. Dr. Sanders was part of the leadership team that led the Arizona College of Optometry through its successful accreditation process.

"Dr. Sanders has extensive academic and clinical experiences and we are very pleased that she has accepted this new position as we continue to develop the Downers Grove optometry program," said Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Midwestern University.  

Dr. Sanders brings more than a decade of teaching experience in optometry and practice management, and clinical experience in the specialty areas of ocular prosthetics and contact lenses to Midwestern University. Prior to accepting the post at Midwestern University, Dr. Sanders was an Associate Professor of Optometry and Assistant Dean for Clinical Affairs at the Southern California College of Optometry in Fullerton, California and before that, an Assistant Professor and Clinic Administrator at the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago. She received her Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degree and completed her post-doctoral fellowship at the Illinois College of Optometry. In addition, Dr. Sanders has more than 20 years of private practice experience, having owned and operated two successful optometry practices in California.

For more information about the new optometry program, visit To learn more about the services offered at the Midwestern University Eye Institute call 630/743-4500 or visit

The Optometry Program has been granted the accreditation classification of PRELIMINARY APPROVAL as of March 2, 2016 by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE), of the American Optometric Association (AOA), 243 N. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63141-7881; phone 314-991-4100. "Preliminary Approval" is the classification granted to a professional degree program that has clearly demonstrated it is developing in accordance with Council standards. 

More Information

For more information, please contact:
Office of Communications
630.515.7333 (IL) or 623.572.3353 (AZ)