For One Father and Son, Salus University’s Graduation This Year Was a Family Affair

Salus University Elkins Park.
Image via Salus University.
Dr. David Boehme and his family.
Salus University logo

For Dr. David Boehme, his commencement ceremony from Salus University this spring was extra special because his father, an alumnus of the school, got to be an intricate part of his big day.

Dr. Jeffrey Boehme earned his doctorate degree in optometry from Salus University in 1987 and on May 25, 2023, at the Kimmel Cultural Campus in Philadelphia, he had the honor of helping his son don his own doctoral hood.

“I was a little bit nervous,” said Jeffrey. “He said, ‘Oh by the way, Dad, you’re supposed to come up onstage and put the hood on me.’ I was like, ‘Really?’ But once I did it, I was excited and proud. He worked so hard to get to where he’s at. It’s really humbling, and the words are hard to find.”

His son found the moment as equally moving, especially since he will be joining his father’s practice in Pittsburgh. He said,”…to be able to go through the program like he did and then to have him put the hood on me was even more special.”

The keynote speaker for the University’s 126th commencement ceremony was Dr. Ala Stanford, who recently served as regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of the Mid-Atlantic region. She has also been a practicing physician for more than 20 years.

She told the graduates, “As you enter the workforce, remember the valuable lessons you have learned about teamwork, communication, and compassion. You will undoubtedly face new challenges, but with your training and experience, you are equipped to handle them. Remember to take care of yourselves and as you care for others, always strive to make a positive difference in the lives of those you serve. And remember, it is a privilege to care for others.”

The top students from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University were Zachary Sloan, who had the highest grade point average in the Doctor of Optometry Traditional program. Dr. Sloan, of Dubois, Pennsylvania, will now begin work for O’Bryon Eye Associates in Dubois; and April Guo Dongni Mishley, who had the highest grade point average in the Doctor of Optometry Accelerated Scholars program.

Dr. Mishley, from Stow, Massachusetts, will now work in the Providence office of the Rhode Island Eye Institute.

In the student commencement address during the ceremony, Dr. Mishley acknowledged all the hard work of the graduates, particularly during the uncertain times during the pandemic.

“Be proud of what you have accomplished and overcome the last few years to be sitting here today,” said Dr. Mishley. “Although this marks the end of our formal training at Salus, we will continue to strive to be the best possible professionals, educators, relocation specialists and researchers and that we never stop learning and continue to be innovative.”

Among the Class of 2023 were students who participated in the 2021 filming of a segment on Salus University of The College Tour, a television series featuring individual episodes on colleges and universities across the country that streamed on Amazon Prime and Roku. They included Zachary LaBarth, Ashka Patel, Sonja Makitan, and Tavii Burrell

Read more about the commencement ceremony at Salus University.


See Salus University’s 126th Commencement Ceremony.

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