Board of Directors, Gala Committee Chairman
Ann Warwick joined the Musicians Club of New York's Board of Directors after ably serving as MCNY's 2019 Joseph H. Conlin Gala Chair. In addition to a financial success, she guided an expansion of the role the Walter Damrosch Award played in elevating and promoting the Gala. Ann recently retired from the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Optometry, where she served for 35 years. In addition to being the vice president for institutional advancement for the College, she was the executive director of the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY), the College’s affiliated foundation. “Ann has been a tremendous resource and passionate advocate for the College for many years,” President Heath said. “She leaves her position having established a foundation upon which we may continue to build our advancement efforts.” The Musicians Club is very fortunate indeed! Below is the article reporting on her retirement from SUNY School of Optometry, which includes her very impressive work history:
Creating connections at the core of a storied career and contributions
From left, President Dr. David A. Heath and Barbara Saltzman honor Ann Warwick at SUNY College of Optometry's Eyes on New York Awards.
New York, NY—State University of New York (SUNY) College of Optometry senior administrator, Ann Warwick, has retired after more than three decades of service and success in institutional advancement. Her strategic communications expertise, fundraising initiatives, and ability to establish critical connections across various communities have helped to elevate the College as a globally recognized center of excellence for optometric education, research, and vision care.
“The whole nature of the profession has changed dramatically since I’ve been with the College. Optometrists have become primary caregivers and the scope practice has changed dramatically to include a wide range of specialty areas. Our graduates have gone on to become major influencers in health care and are taking the lead in transforming the profession,” says Warwick who served as VP of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY) from 1985-2018 and later as Director of Internal Events. “I am proud to have had the opportunity to be part of the evolution.”
A graduate of the College of St. Elizabeth, Warwick began her career as a reporter and columnist with the Bergen Record and Ridgewood Newspapers, Inc. in northern New Jersey. She later shifted her focus to the health care sector leading public relations efforts at Georgetown University Hospital and speechwriting for National Jewish Health-Denver.
“I had the opportunity to meet many interesting and influential people in politics, industry, and media,” recalls Warwick. “As a speechwriter, I wrote for John Larsen, who was the President of the Bowery Bank at the time. I also wrote for baseball legend Joe DiMaggio, the bank’s spokesperson. Fast forward 20 years later [at the College], it turns out that John Larsen was the father-in-law of one of our trustees. The bank today is Cipriani, a landmark building where we’ve held numerous events.”
Upon returning to the New York City metro area in 1979, Warwick entered higher education as Director of Public Relations and adjunct professor at Ramapo College in New Jersey. She joined SUNY College of Optometry five years later where she devoted the rest of her professional life.
“At the time I joined the College, I wanted to make a difference in public relations and then transfer that effort into fundraising,” Warwick says. Her careful approach to promotion, press relations, and establishing connections for the College resulted in long-term success on a city, state-wide, and national scale.
Among her most notable accomplishments is the annual Eyes on New York gala hosted by the OCNY, the affiliated foundation of the SUNY Optometry, which brings together hundreds of optometric professionals and supporters from throughout the region, including industry leaders, government officials, philanthropists, media, and major personalities like Liza Minnelli who was the first of many famous faces to headline the event. Established in 2003, the mission of Eyes on New York is to highlight the importance of vision and eye care within population health. Proceeds support student scholarships, patient care at the University Eye Center, and other special initiatives.
“During her tenure at the College, Ann became a bit of celeb, much like those she attracted to Eyes on New York,” says David A. Heath, OD, EdM, President of SUNY College of Optometry. “Each relationship she established in her role had a very personal quality to it. Whether it was our alumni, our friends in industry, or the philanthropic community of New York, when people visited the College, they always wanted to stop by to see Ann.”
For her dedicated work on behalf of the College and optometric profession, Warwick has received numerous awards including election to the SUNY Inaugural University Affairs Hall of Fame and as a recipient of the Arthur Gottlieb Leadership Award presented by the New York State Optometric Association. She also served as Chair of the National Eye Institutes Annual Public Relations Conference and Chair of the SUNYCUAD (Council for University Advancement) Annual Conference. In retirement, Warwick plans to share her experience, time, and talents in support of fundraising for non-profit organizations in her area, while keeping an eye on SUNY Optometry.
“It’s been 35 years of creating relationships,” says Warwick. “The College is not just a wonderful community, for me it’s family.”