NECO Announces Honorary Degree Recipient, Presidential Medals, and Six Valedictorians for the College’s 130thCommencement Exercises 

BOSTON, MA /— The Board of Trustees at New England College of Optometry (NECO)has announced its honorary  degree recipient, two Presidential Medal awardees, and six valedictorians as part of its 130th commencement exercises to be held on  May 19, 2024 at Boston’s Symphony Hall. 

 NECO will confer an honorary degree upon Jane Gwiazda, PhD, who received her doctorate from Northeastern  University and was a postdoctoral fellow and research scientist at MIT before joining the NECO faculty in 1995.  Currently Professor Emerita at NECO, Dr. Gwiazda was the Director of Research and Director of Graduate Studies.  Her research has focused on risk factors and treatments for myopia. Dr. Gwiazda chaired the Correction of Myopia  Evaluation Trial, a multi-site, 17-year study funded by the NEI/NIH. She was a member of the National Advisory Eye Council from 2014-2019 and currently serves on the Data and Safety Monitoring Committee for the BLINK study. 

The Presidential Medal is awarded to eye care professionals or professional groups who have made a unique impact on the College  and its constituencies. This year, two awards will be presented to these leaders in the optometric industry:

Marjorie Axelrad is the Editorial Director Emeritus of Vision Monday and VMAIL. She served as the Senior Vice  President and Editorial Director of Vision Monday and VMAIL, part of the Jobson Optical Group, from 1988 to  March 2024, when she retired from her long-time role.  

 Marc Ferrara is the former CEO of Jobson Publishing’s Information Services division and now serves as executive  consultant for Jobson Optical Group.. In his former role, Marc had a wide-range of responsibilities, including the  business units 20/20, Frames Data, Vision Monday, Review of Optometry, Review of Ophthalmology, Jobson Research,  Jobson Internet Solutions and Jobson’s international business in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, as well as US Pharmacist. 

NECO also celebrates an unprecedented achievement with six students achieving the title of “valedictorian” by maintaining a  4.0 grade point average throughout their four-year program. The 2024 valedictorians include: 


Kaylee Brann Sarah Curtin Kylie Donahue Bonnie Loh Zach Turple Zamaan Valani

NECO’s Commencement Exercises will begin at 10:00am at Symphony Hall, located at 301 Massachusetts Avenue in Boston. The ceremony  will be livestreamed and may be viewed at 

New England College of Optometry is a private, nonprofit, internationally recognized optometry school founded in 1894. NECO is a welcoming, professional community that collaborates to inspire change beyond higher education, advancing eye care and making it accessible to all. We prepare eye care providers, educators, and innovators through rigorous curriculum, extensive and diverse clinical experiences, state-of-the-art facilities, and a strong network. NECO changes the way people see the world.


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