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Jan 09th, 2023

HPU Welcomes Founding Dean of Optometry School

Dr. Catherine Heyman is one of the nation’s premier optometrists specializing in children with low vision and special needs.

HIGH POINT, N.C., Jan. 9, 2023 – High Point University announces Dr. Catherine Heyman will serve as founding dean of HPU’s new School of Optometry. It will be North Carolina’s only School of Optometry.

“Dr. Heyman has led a distinguished career as a professor of optometry and built a national reputation as one of the premier optometrists,” said Dr. Nido Qubein, HPU president. “We welcome her to HPU and look forward to her extraordinary partnership as she leads HPU’s newest academic school.”

The School of Optometry is HPU’s 12th academic school and the 9th academic school the university has established since Dr. Nido Qubein became president in 2005.

Heyman envisions bringing to optometric education the HPU approach of using experiential learning, emphasizing life skills and interprofessional education. The need for optometric doctors continues to grow in the United States, she said.

“My goal is to create a student-centered, cutting-edge program that will educate future optometric physicians to practice full scope optometry,” said Heyman. “Optometrists, as primary care practitioners, are well positioned to provide front line care to all types of patients. Students pursuing a degree in optometry will open the door to a profession that provides fulfillment and personal satisfaction.”

About Dr. Catherine Heyman
Heyman is a Fellow and a Diplomate in the Binocular Vision and Vision Perception Section of the American Academy of Optometry and a Fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. Her successful career includes previously serving as an associate professor and the associate dean of student affairs at Marshall B. Ketchum University’s Southern California College of Optometry, where she earned her Doctor of Optometry degree in 1993. She also was coordinator of the Special Populations and Pediatric Low Vision Service at the University Eye Center at Ketchum Health and coordinator of the vision program at Beyond Blindness.

During her tenure at MBKU’s Southern California College of Optometry, Heyman held multiple positions including chief of the Low Vision Service, Faculty Council president and Instructor of Record of the Clinical Methods I and II courses. She has participated on national committees and lectured nationally on topics of pediatric low vision and optometric treatments of patients with special needs.

“My work with these populations has been especially rewarding because of the often life-changing difference I can make for these special patients,” said Heyman. “It allows these children to have a better quality of life and have access to their world and their environment, which is sometimes so difficult for them and something most of us take for granted.”

The national reputation Heyman built over the past 26 years and her vast experience at MBKU’s Southern California College of Optometry bring together the skills needed to develop HPU’s optometry program.

About HPU’s School of Optometry
The School of Optometry is part of HPU’s $400 million investment in academic expansion, which includes schools of law, nursing, entrepreneurship and the Workman School of Dental Medicine. Most of these schools will be built in a hub on the university’s Innovation Corridor. Congdon Hall, which houses the Congdon School of Health Sciences and Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy, is also located in the centralized hub for graduate education. HPU students will benefit from interdisciplinary learning by connecting and collaborating with each other. Heyman said she is excited to join the HPU family and to learn from her fellow deans.

“I’m looking forward to bringing my passion for optometry, administrative experience and educating future health care professionals to our beautiful campus,” said Heyman. “All of us working together can create the HPU experience for our future students and faculty, and build the optometry program into a premier program.”

Heyman expressed the passion she has for helping students to reach their goals and find what fulfills them.

“I truly love optometry and believe that all the students who pursue a career in this profession will find that they have a meaningful and purposeful life with an opportunity to make an impact in their patients’ lives and a difference in the world,” Heyman said.