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Nominations Sought for Honorary Degrees

SCO is accepting nominations for honorary degrees to recognize distinguished ODs and other individuals to be recognized at the college's 2016 commencement ceremony. Recipients must be of sufficient stature and character as to honor the college; anonymous submissions will not be accepted.

Specific criteria must include at least two of these:

  • Distinguished record of scholarship;
  • Outstanding contributions to society through humanitarian efforts, public service, or education;
  • Outstanding contributions to optometry or the optometric profession.
Nominations and supporting materials should be sent to Academic Affairs (Honorary Degrees), c/o SCO, 1245 Madison Ave., Memphis, TN 38104, or emailed to The deadline is October 31.
Posted by Jim Hollifield at 9/30/15 | 0 comments

Johnson, OD '90 to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

Memphis, Tenn., July 30, 2015 New Orleans optometrist Jarrett Johnson, OD, MPH, has been selected to receive Southern College of Optometry’s 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award at the college Convocation ceremony on Friday, September 25.

In receiving SCO’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Dr. Johnson will be recognized for her significant contributions to the profession of optometry. A Past President of the New Orleans Optometric Society, Dr. Johnson serves on the Board of Trustees at her alma mater, SCO.

A graduate of Xavier and Loyola Universities, she holds a Masters in Public Health from Tulane University. Dr. Johnson received her Doctor of Optometry degree from SCO in 1990.

Dr. Johnson has worked in numerous public service roles, including Coordinator of Mobile Clinics for Vision Service Plan and the Red Cross’s Hurricane Katrina Project. She has also held several positions with the Great Expectations Foundation, including Vice President of Community and Organizational Development, in which she oversaw the Infant Mortality Review Project.

She has also served as a consultant for various federal healthcare grant programs, as Chief of Optometry for the New Orleans Health Corporation and as Minority Outreach Coordinator with a New Orleans AIDS Task Force. She has been in private practice since 1994 and is the owner of Primary Eye Care, a successful practice celebrating 25 years in New Orleans.

Dr. Johnson has served on the board for Lighthouse Louisiana and the Ponchartrain Chapter of the Links, Inc. In addition to serving on the board for VSP, she has published a number of articles and serves as an advisor to the Louisiana Healthcare Quality Forum’s Quality Measurement Committee.

She is a member of the American Optometric Association, the National Optometric Association, the American Public Health Association, and the Optometry Association of Louisiana.

In addition to serving as a two-term SCO Board Chair, she also co-chaired SCO’s “Envision Our Progress” campaign with OAL Executive Director and fellow SCO Board member James Sandefur, OD. The campaign proved to be the most successful in SCO’s fundraising history, surpassing an original $4 million goal by raising more than $4.7 million in just three years of what was originally scheduled to be a five-year campaign.

SCO’s Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor the college bestows upon its graduates.

About Southern College of Optometry
Southern College of Optometry was established in Memphis, Tenn., in 1932. SCO is an independent, not-for-profit institution of higher education with nearly 500 students from 40 states. The Eye Center at SCO serves nearly 80,000 patients annually, helping make the college one of the top in the nation for clinical optometric education. For more information on SCO, please visit

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Posted by Erin Jaffe at 7/30/15 | 0 comments

Hayes Center Award Recipients Announced

The Hayes Center for Practice Excellence at Southern College of Optometry is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2015 Practice of Excellence Award. The award identifies and rewards successful practices, recognizes achievements of SCO graduates and helps foster joint relationships that benefit SCO’s alumni and current optometry students.

Three different $5,000 awards were designated to honor recent alumni at different stages of their optometric careers. All three recipients own their own practices and exemplify the private practice principles embodied in the Hayes Center’s mission encouraging practice success. Recipients include:   

Dr. Joe Sugg, Class of 2009, who practices at Heber Springs Eye Care Center in Heber Springs, Arkansas.  

Dr. Randall Glass, Class of 2006, who practices at Fowler Eye Care in Texarkana and Ashdown Eye Care in Ashdown, Arkansas.

Dr. James Hertzog, Class of 2006, who practices at Hertzog Family Eye Care in Cabot and Jacksonville, Arkansas.

“These alumni demonstrate the qualities and attitudes of successful private practitioners who excel at managing the business side of their practices,” said Dr. Lisa Wade, Director of the Hayes Center for Practice Excellence at SCO. The awards were selected by members of the Hayes Center Advisory Board, made up of alumni private practitioners, and Dr. Wade.

Recipients were judged on their practice’s ability to excel as documented via profit and loss statements, most recent balance sheet, office meeting agendas or minutes, and other key metrics, including gross collected receipts, proper staff management, and a written explanation of how the practice maximizes net income. Recipients shared their private practice experiences with SCO’s graduating class during the college’s Capstone educational program prior to commencement in May.

The Hayes Center’s creation marked one of the first educational centers based at an optometric college dedicated specifically for the purpose of teaching current and future optometrists how to manage the business side of practice.  Visit to learn more about the resources offered to SCO’s students and alumni, including reading room materials, podcasts and other information.

Posted by Erin Jaffe at 5/7/15 | 0 comments

SCO Accepting Nominations for 2015 Lifetime Achievement and Young Alumni Award

SCO is now accepting nominations for the college's 20th Annual Lifetime Achievement Awards. The highest honor presented to alumni, this award recognizes outstanding achievement to the profession, college and the graduate's community. Any SCO graduate may nominate fellow alumni by using the PDF form linked here, 2015 Lifetime Achievement. Completed forms may be mailed, emailed, or faxed to the designated information listed at the end of the form. All nominations must be received by June 30, 2015.

Nominations for the Young Alumni Award are also being accepted. Alumni may nominate any graduate from 2005-2014. Service to the profession, leadership and other criteria are to be provided in the nomination. Use this PDF form linked here, 2015 Young Alumni Award, to nominate graduates. Completed forms may be mailed, emailed, or faxed to the designated information listed at the end of the form. The deadline is June 30, 2015.

The awards will be presented at this fall's Convocation ceremony on Friday, September 25, 2015. Contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at (901) 722-3216 for additional information.

Posted by Amy Dunbar at 3/20/15 | 0 comments

SCO President, ’78 Graduate, Named SECO’S OD of the South

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (March 9, 2015) – Southern College of Optometry (SCO) President Richard W. Phillips, OD, ’78, was named SECO International’s OD of the South, an annual award bestowed by the not-for-profit membership association composed of optometrists from 12 southeastern states.

“Leading my alma mater has been a dream come true. I treasure every day I spend with the SCO family,” Dr. Phillips said during his acceptance speech. “I’m humbled by this recognition from my peers.

President of SCO since 2007, Dr. Phillips was honored in part for his leadership that led to the construction of a new academic complex to encouraging optometry students to become more involved in their profession at the regional and national levels.

A 1978 SCO graduate, Dr. Phillips formed Tennessee’s first optometry/ophthalmology partnership at the John Wilson Eye Clinic before he accepted the position of Executive Director of TLC Laser Eye Centers in the Tri-Cities region of East Tennessee in 1996. He later served as TLC’s Regional Executive Director for Tennessee Operations and Regional Clinical Director Advisor for the Southeastern United States.

He is a Past President of SECO, the Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians, as well as the Tennessee Academy of Optometry. He was named Tennessee’s OD of the Year in 1998. A Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, he also served as a member of the AOA’s New Technologies Committee and on the Refractive Surgery Committee. 

Dr. Phillips is President-Elect of the American Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO), and a Board member of the Board of Trustees for the Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians, the Tennessee Independent College and University Association and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. In 2010, he was elected as a Fellow to the National Academy of Practice. 

Dr. Phillips is pictured receiving SECO’s OD of the South Award from outgoing SECO President Dr. Jim Herman.


SECO International is produced annually by SECO International, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Southern Council of Optometrists, Inc. SECO International, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is a not-for-profit membership association founded in 1923, and counts as its members practitioners in the 12 southeastern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The annual SECO conventions regularly attract more than 7,500 national and international eye care professionals, vendors, and allied ophthalmic personnel. SECO International is widely acknowledged as the largest optometric educational meeting in the world.

Posted by Amy Dunbar at 3/9/15 | 0 comments