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Distinguished Service Award 2019

Sarah Hinkley

Sarah HinkleyKnown for her strong leadership, passion for helping others, and dedication to her profession, Sarah Hinkley, Professor of Optometry and Chief of Vision Rehabilitation Services in the Michigan College of Optometry (MCO), has been chosen as the 2019 Distinguished Service Award recipient.

“Sarah is extremely service-driven and is very deserving of this honor,” writes Tracy Glentz, Associate Professor in the College of Health Professions, in her nomination letter. “She is a leader at the departmental, college, and the university level though her service contributions, and promotes the well-being of Ferris through innovative teaching projects and service committee work."

“It is important to me that I stay involved in service on all levels, from my children’s school and local community to the national professional landscape in ways that benefit students, doctors of optometry and ultimately the patients we serve,” writes Hinkley of her service philosophy. “I believe that it is my duty to use the privileges I have been given to create positive change.”

“At the college level, Sarah has made herself invaluable through her service as Chief of Vision Rehabilitation Services and at the university level through her participation in numerous committees, most notably the strategic planning and resource council,” writes Bhavani Iyer, Clinical Associate Professor, University of Texas, in her support letter. “She has consistently demonstrated leadership skills by initiating and co-chairing programs at Ferris to aide in interprofessional collaboration and leading programs like academic service learning. Nationally, she has earned a name for herself as a levelheaded and well-balanced vision rehabilitation professional, which led to her being selected as a member of the American Optometric Association vision rehabilitation committee.”

Peter Bradley, Director of the Honors Program, writes of Hinkley’s contributions to the Strategic Plan and of her impact to the Honors Program. “Sarah has been a reliable partner, putting in the extra hours and thought required to present a visionary, defensible strategic plan.” Regarding her work to present and connect with pre-optometry students who may be potential applicants, many who are honors students, he writes that “As an alumna of the Honors Program, she has been a valued voice and perspective throughout the many changes we’ve made to Honors in the past few years… and has served as a role-model for a number of them [students].

Hinkley’s largest role in service is as project director of the Students in Need of Eyecare (SINE) program, which Hinkley was instrumental in developing. “The SINE program helps children [now numbered in the hundreds] to obtain eye exams and eyeglasses who otherwise would have gone without,” writes Rhonda Atteberry, Contact Lens and Low Vision Technician, Ferris Eye Center, in her letter of support. “She [Hinkley] has helped these children to have better chances of reaching their education needs and I am sure made a difference in their future. This program not only helps the low-income families, it was a great lesson to her own optometry students and it also gave them the opportunity to further their education in the clinic.”

Hinkley and other recipients of the 2019 Academic Affairs Awards were recognized on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, at the Employee Service Awards in the David L. Eisler Center.