“I owe a lot to ICO and to the profession,” says Donovan Crouch, OD ’63, DOS, FAAO. “Without the education that myself, my two sons, Craig Crouch, OD ’90 and Kevin Crouch, OD ’94, and my daughter-in-law, Ashley Crouch, OD ’94, received from ICO, we wouldn’t have the lifestyle we currently enjoy.”
However, Dr. Crouch wasn’t initially interested in optometry. “I liked math and actuary science,” he says. He was drawn to the optometric profession because of his family optometrist, Marion Parks, OD ’43. While shadowing in the practice of Charles Leonard, OD ’48, he was hooked.
After graduating from ICO, he joined the practice of Allan Lande, OD ’40, in Storm Lake, Iowa, and eventually became a partner. Over the years, the practice grew and relocated, but always stayed in Storm Lake where Dr. Crouch continues to practice to this day. “My kids worked in the office and were exposed to optometry at a very young age,” says Dr. Crouch. While sons Craig and Kevin opted for optometry, son Charles chose to become a radiologist, and daughter Cyndee chose dental hygiene and expects to receive her PhD this year. “My wife Lois and I are very proud of the accomplishments of our kids,” he says.
Dr. Crouch has generously supported ICO for many years and has never passed up an opportunity to be involved at his alma mater. He served on the ICO Board of Trustees for 15 years and was subsequently named Trustee Emeritus, an honor bestowed upon only a select few former trustees. He also served on the ICO Alumni Council for nine years and currently serves as an Emeritus Member of the Council. “I believe it is important to give back in any way we can as alumni,” he says.
With the increase in competition among optometric institutions to recruit the best students, Dr. Crouch felt compelled to help ICO’s admissions efforts. With a gift of $50,000 to ICO, he established the Crouch Family Alumni Scholarship which is designated for accepted admissions candidates who demonstrate a need for financial assistance. “The goal is to offer the scholarship to candidates who may be on the fence about choosing ICO,” says Dr. Crouch. Starting in 2021, one or more scholarships totaling $5,000 per year for the next 10 years will be used for this purpose. “If the financial assistance helps them decide to attend ICO, then that not only makes an impact for the students, but also impacts the bottom line for the school. It’s a win-win.” ICO’s Dean of Student Affairs, Erik Mothersbaugh, OD ’12, couldn’t agree more. “It is through scholarships like the Crouch Family Alumni Scholarship that we can significantly enhance our admission efforts and ultimately strengthen our entering class,” he says.
From Dr. Crouch’s perspective, establishing a scholarship for students is a practical way of paying it forward. “From my experience on the Board, I came to realize just how impactful these scholarships can be. And, I like the fact that you can decide how your contribution is going to be used,” he says.
There are several ways to begin funding a scholarship in addition to a one-time, lump-sum gift. Some alumni prefer to make a pledge, making gifts over the course of five years, while others choose to designate funding from a charitable gift annuity. Donors can also determine the criteria for their named scholarship. “It was an easy process. ICO’s Development Office was very helpful,” says Dr. Crouch.
President Mark Colip, OD ’92 cannot thank Dr. Crouch enough for his thoughtful generosity to ICO. “Dr. Crouch is one of our most dedicated and supportive alumni – and also very humble. This scholarship will make a huge difference for ICO, and I am so very grateful to him,” he says.