Hall of Fame

This web page was created to honor members of the C.C.C. Ophthalmic Science Program - graduates, faculty and staff - whose contributions and achievements to the ophthalmic community have brought honor to themselves, the program, and the college. We want these leaders to be recognized and remembered for their accomplishments, and hope that their involvement and dedication will inspire those students who follow them.

 


Henry Bernkof

Mr. Bernkof was instrumental in the creation of the Ophthalmic Science Program, and served as its first coordinator and instructor. Henry is a licensed optician in New Jersey and New York, and ran an optical business in Cherry Hill for many years. He is now enjoying retirement, but still supports the program with the annual Rose Bernkof Memorial Scholarship. This $1000. award is divided between the top three graduating students who have submitted research papers for selection by the faculty. Henry makes the donation to support each year's graduates, and to honor the memory of his wife Rose, who was also an optician.

 

Camden County College, and the Ophthalmic Science Program, will forever be indebted to Henry for his contributions and his inspiration.

Carol Atkinson & Allison Merget - Class of 1996 These talented students earned a trip to the Contact Lens Society of America (CLSA) Annual Education Meeting in March of '96, which was held in Palm Springs, CA. They were among a handful of students chosen from optical programs across the nation to participate in the meeting. All students were invited to submit a research paper on a contact lens related topic, and winners were picked based on the quality of those papers.

The contest is sponsored annually by the CLSA and some very generous contact lens manufacturers. It provides an opportunity for students to experience first hand the quality of the education that is offered on a national and international level by the CLSA.

 


Elizabeth Becker - Class of 1993

Liz will be remembered as the program's first successful participant in the College Bowl Competition. This contest is sponsored annually by Silor Optical, and competition is progressively held at local, state, and national levels as contestants are eliminated and winners advance. The event follows the format of the popular game show Jeopardy, but with optical content.

 

Liz advanced to the state level, and missed going to the nationals by the smallest of margins. Never the less, it was exciting following her progress, and although she didn't go all the way, she blazed a path for others to follow (see Aaron Stefan and John Pfister).



Basil (Bus) Blair

The Ophthalmic Science Department would not enjoy its present strength and success if not for the efforts of Mr. Blair. His years of service as an adjunct instructor in ophthalmic materials, dispensing, and optics have shaped the program, and the lives and careers of every student who sought optical training at C.C.C. Bus Blair's acheivements and contributions to the optical field span fifty years, as dispenser, inventor, and teacher. Bus finally received high recognition for his work, when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the National Academy of Opticianry (NAO) in 1999.

 


Thomas Blair, Jr. – Class of 1978

Mr. Blair, a US Air Force veteran, was CCC’s first African-American opticianry graduate. During his tenure at CCC he was active in the Student Government Assoc., Veteran’s Affairs, and the campus newspaper. He was instrumental in securing national accreditation for the Ophthalmic Science program, and authored the proposal that led to bus transportation between the Camden and Blackwood campuses. Tom was an honors graduate, and has sponsored a scholarship for opticianry students at CCC. He was recognized in 1999 as a Distinguished Alumnus of CCC.

 

Tom has received numerous professional awards including being a 3 time recipient of the Georgia Optician of the Year (1995, 2001, 2010), the 2001 OAA national State Leader of the Year, the 2003 SouthEastern Opticians Conference Gosnell Award as an outstanding Optician in the Southeast, and the 2008 NAO Ambassador of the Year award. In each case he was the first African-American optician to be so honored. He achieved ABO Master Optician (ABOM) status in 1995,  and has served twice as president of the OAG (Opticians Assoc. of Georgia - 1999-2001, 2007-2010). He was inducted into the OAG Hall of Fame in 2005. In 2010 he was designated president emeritus of the OAG, and has served twice on the OAA national board of directors including being appointed chairman of the OAA Legislative Committee that sponsored the OAA 2009 (Opticians) Title Protection Act Resolution. He is additionally a past vice-chairman of the COA (Commission on Opticianry Accreditation) and a past vice-chairman of the GSBDO (Georgia State Board of Dispensing Opticians). He holds ophthalmic dispensing licenses in Florida, Georgia and New Jersey.

 

A native of Elizabeth, New Jersey, Tom has been a resident of Georgia since 1982.

 


Sheryl Friedman - Class of 1994

Sheryl won the 1994 National Varilux Competition. Her award winning entry was a book written for children, which explains to the young readers why some children need to wear glasses. The book has since been approved for copyright.



Tom Leahy - Class of 1998

Tom was awarded a grant to travel to Newport Beach, CA to attend the 44th Annual Education Meeting of the CLSA. The award was given for his research paper on Correcting Presbyopia with Contact Lenses.

 


John Pfister - Class of 1995

All previous College Bowl successes were extended when John won the National Silor College Bowl at the OAA Convention in St Louis, MO. He attended the convention with all expenses paid, and won an award package to boot. The keen competition thrilled the large audience, and when John came out on top, all the students and faculty members shared in his proud achievement.

 


Emil Shell & Gina Sklar - Class of 1997

Both Gina and Emil enjoyed an all expenses paid excursion to San Antonio, TX, in the spring of 1997. They attended the Contact Lens Society of America (CLSA) Annual Education Meeting as winners of the research paper contest offered every year by the CLSA. There they met other students from around the country, heard lectures by leading contact lens speakers, and even had time to tour the Alamo.

 

The contest is sponsored annually by the CLSA and some very generous contact lens manufacturers. It provides an opportunity for students to experience first hand the quality of the education that is offered on a national and international level by the CLSA.

 


Aaron Stefan - Class of 1994

Aaron followed the example of Liz Becker (in fact Liz tutored him for the competition), and advanced all the way to the nationals of the Silor College Bowl. He received an all expense paid trip to the OAA convention in Nashville, TN to compete against other winners from all over the country. Although Aaron failed to win the big prize, he represented our program well in bringing it national recognition.