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Summer 2024

ICO Has a New Board of Trustees' Chair


Sheila Quirke

Recently named ICO’s Chair of the Board of Trustees, Scott Jens, OD ’91, takes a look back as he moves forward in his new role. Dr. Jens retired from clinical practice in 2015, leaning into his entrepreneurial skills and interests after twenty-five years of owning a successful multi-location eye clinic group in Madison, Wisconsin. The now retired founder of Revolution EHR software and current owner of Sandbox Spaces, LLC, Dr. Jens leverages his expertise, experience, and knowledge to provide business consulting and executive coaching to his clients.

How did you choose to study at ICO?

It was a simple decision in the 1980s. I wanted to stay close to my Wisconsin home and family, while having access to a powerful clinical education. ICO was more regional in its draw back then. Its student base is more national and international now, but my choice was equally about geography and quality of education.

Dr Jens Family.jpg
"My family donated funds to support underrepresented minority student life on campus and to help increase representation in ICO’s entering classes."

How has being an ICO alum shaped your career?

There is a noticeable collegiality amongst ICO graduates, nationally. We created bonds and mutual respect through a common shared experience of studying at the Bronzeville campus. When you meet a fellow graduate, the ICO connection helps break through the thin layer of ice. ICO alumni are deeply committed practitioners with a depth of clinical experience that is hard to match. 

How did your career lead you to serve on the ICO Board?

I started volunteering early on at ICO, doing on-campus presentations for fourth-year students. As a new practitioner, I had more time to give than money. I also served on state and national associations. To its credit, ICO kept in touch with me – alumni relations matter. I would see people at industry receptions and dinners. Mark K. Colip, OD ’92, is a contemporary, and he connected me with opportunities to serve ICO. I felt a commitment to this place that trained me so well. 

I also had a personal transformation in 2020, one that led me to want to be actively engaged to help ICO students. I was finally in a place to give, both time and money, and I accepted an invitation to become a Trustee on ICO’s Board. My family donated funds to support underrepresented minority student life on campus and to help increase representation in ICO’s entering classes. This was important to me as I was changing from that kid from a small, rural Wisconsin town where I didn’t understand the importance of broad representation. Optometry is more diverse now and ICO has a rich culture with room for everyone. At ICO, everyone, from board members to faculty and staff, is rowing our oars in unison for the students. We keep moving the College forward.

How can ICO uniquely serve today’s practitioners?

ICO embraced technology for excellent education delivery even more after the COVID pandemic. There is an amazing difference between ICO today and the ICO I attended. Students learn so much more today in that same four-year window. It is profoundly better now, a legitimate powerhouse. There is a broad array of opportunities, different practice modalities, and clinical externships. We know that patients want to feel empowered and heard, but students can feel that need, too. ICO is committed to a higher standard.

Do you have a call-to-action for  ICO alumni?

There are rich, enduring relationships that come out of ICO, both personal and professional. This is a career path that will set up students to be pretty financially secure. I would encourage graduates to think about how they can give back in an unselfish way. Hopefully, as the OD degree from ICO creates incredible lives for them, the alumni base will find it in their heart to give back to support the next generation of ICO students.

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