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Thomas F. Freddo, O.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.O., Adjunct Faculty in School of Optometry, Selected as Senior Fulbright Scholar


Thomas F. Freddo, O.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.O., Adjunct Professor of Optometry at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS), was recently nominated and selected to join the Fulbright Senior Specialist Program for a three-year appointment.

The Fulbright Specialist Program sends U.S. faculty and professionals to serve as expert consultants on curriculum, faculty development, institutional planning, and related subjects to eligible academic institutions abroad for a period of two to six weeks.

The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by then-Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Fulbright Program currently operates in over 160 countries and awards approximately 8,000 grants annually. Roughly 1,600 U.S. students, 4,000 foreign students, 1,200 U.S. scholars, and 900 visiting scholars receive awards. Approximately 370,000 “Fulbrighters” have participated in the program since its inception.

Dr Freddo will visit the University of Johannesburg, in South Africa, to assist with curricular development, sequencing, and course development within The School of Optometry (formerly the Technikon Witwatersrand). The University of Johannesburg’s connections to MCPHS don’t end there. Dr Morris Berman, Dean of Optometry, and Dr Maryke Neiberg, Associate Professor in the School of Optomery, both attended the university.

The field of optometry in South Africa, as well as in many of the former British Commonwealth nations, is undergoing a significant shift in its role within eye care, expanding from well-patient refractive care to medical management of a wide array of eye diseases in order to address unmet societal eye care needs.

In the past, Dr Freddo has assisted with similar transitions in several countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Canada. Prior to joining MCPHS, Dr Freddo served as professor and director of the School of Optometry at The University of Waterloo in Ontario, which is the only English-speaking school of Optometry in the country. During that time, Canadian optometry transitioned to a medical eye care role. During his tenure in Canada, Dr Freddo was also elected and served as the first optometrist president of the International Society for Eye Research.

Prior to moving to Canada in 2006, Dr Freddo served as professor of ophthalmology, pathology and anatomy at Boston University School of Medicine for 23 years. At BU, Dr Freddo ran a hospital-based clinical practice, an NIH-funded research program in anterior uveitis and glaucoma, and served as the Director of the Surgical Eye Pathology Service for both Boston Medical Center hospitals.

Dr Freddo joined MCPHS a year ago as an adjunct professor and recently authored a new textbook entitled, “Anatomy of the Eye and Orbit: The Clinical Essentials”. At MCPHS, Freddo teaches Human anatomy, systems physiology and the pathobiology of systemic disease.

The School of Optometry at MCPHS offers a learner-centered, four-year program leading to a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. Optometry students gain hands-on experience in cutting edge facilities equipped with industry-defining equipment, which include an on-site eye and vision center and retail location.


About the Fulbright Program 

THE FULBRIGHT PROGRAM is the flagship international education exchange program sponsored by the United States government, and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.  The Fulbright Program attracts some of the greatest minds and talents in the world who share many attributes, amongst them a passion for innovation and collaboration.  The Fulbright Program operates in over 160 countries worldwide.  Approximately 8 000 grants are awarded annually.  Since its inception in 1946 approximately 360 000 “Fulbrighters” have participated in the program.

 serve in leadership positions in government, academia, business, the arts, science journalism, and other professional fields and are the recipients of 53 NOBEL PRIZES, 88 PULITZER PRIZES, 29 MACARTHUR FOUNDATION AWARDS, and 16 US PRESIDENTIAL MEDALS OF FREEDOM.

 provides participants, chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential, with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.  These programs are open to people regardless of their race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, geographic location, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientations, or gender identity.

The Fulbright Program is active in approximately 35 countries throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, and is an important element in the U.S. government’s public diplomacy efforts in the region.  Grants are awarded annually to African visiting students and research scholars, and U.S. scholars and students to strengthen both U.S. and African institutions, enhance political and cultural relationships, and build bridges of understanding.

The first South African to receive a Fulbright Award
 was back in 1953.  By 2014, approximately 2100 South African students and scholars had received grants to pursue studies and research in the United States.  Recipients of the various Fulbright Grants came from Government Ministries, Business Sectors, Higher Education Departments and Institutions, The Arts, as well as National Research Institutions.

Fulbright Specialist Program

The Fulbright Specialist Program sends U.S. faculty and professionals to serve as expert consultants on curriculum, faculty development, institutional planning, and related subjects at academic institutions abroad for a period of 2 to 6 weeks.

Eligibility and Application Overview

Public applications are accepted. 


Fulbright Specialists are a diverse group of highly experienced, well-established faculty members and professionals who represent a wide variety of academic disciplines and professions. In order to be eligible to serve as a Fulbright Specialist, candidates must have significant experience in their respective professional field and be a U.S. citizen at the time of application.

For details about applying to become a Fulbright Specialist, please visit:

Host Institutions

The Fulbright Specialist Program allows overseas universities, cultural centers, non-governmental organizations and other institutions abroad to develop collaborative projects which host a leading U.S. academic or professional at their institution to work on diverse, short-term collaborative projects focused on education and training. These projects support critical priorities identified by the host institutions and supported by U.S. embassies and binational Fulbright Commissions abroad.

For details about applying, please visit:

Student Program

Applications are closed for 2019-2020 academic year

Provides Grants for South African university graduates to pursue a Master’s or Doctoral degree at a United States university in any subject (excludes studies that require contact with patients).  Grants are awarded for two years towards one degree – Master’s or Doctorate (renewable each year).  Students are selected through a rigorous application and interview process and receive a high level of support ranging from visa processing and health insurance to a comprehensive pre-departure Orientation and re-entry session.


  • Be a SA citizen (Non-SA citizens are required to apply in their country of citizenship, even if they are resident in SA)
  • Have a four-year bachelor’s degree, a three-year bachelor’s degree plus honours year, or a four-year B-Tech degree when applying for Masters
  • Have a Master’s degree when applying for a Doctoral degree
  • For Non-Degree studies: Must be registered for PhD with a South African university

What do we look for in our applicants?

  • Academic excellence
  • Required scores for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for each specific field of study
  • Clearly written study objectives
  • Demonstrable ambassadorial skills with evidence of cultural sensitivity and a genuine desire to learn more about the United States and share with American citizens aspects of South African culture,
  • Experience and interest in extracurricular and community activities,
  • Evidence of ambition and leadership potential, and
  • A desire to further the Fulbright Program and give back to your home country upon returning.

The Selection Committee and the Interview Panel will also be looking for clear reasons for selecting your US university preferences. The Fulbright Awards Program expects candidates to conduct a thorough university search and to identify institutions which are a strong fit for their academic, personal and professional goals.

More information on the Fulbright Program visit

Questions on the application process, please contact the Fulbright Office:

 Guidance for applications