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Farias Named AOA's OD of the Year

SCO Alumni Council Member Fred Farias III, OD '87, FAAO, was recently named the 2016 Optometrist of the Year by the American Optometric Association. CEO of 20/20 Vision Care in McAllen, TX was selected for his years of service to his patients, the AOA and his profession, along with his commitment to public service. Dr. Farias is a therapeutic optometrist and an optometric glaucoma specialist.

Dr. Farias is the immediate past president of the Texas Optometric Association, which named him its 2015 Optometrist of the Year. He volunteers as an InfantSEE® provider, a no-cost public health program developed to provide professional eye care for infants nationwide through Optometry Cares®—The AOA Foundation, of which he is a charter member. Additionally, he organizes and sponsors vision screenings for underserved communities in south Texas. His service to optometry also includes volunteering as a member of the AOA Federal Legislative Action and Keyperson Committee. Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Dr. Farias to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

"On behalf of the entire SCO community, we congratulate Dr. Farias on this prestigious honor," said SCO President Lewis Reich, OD, PhD. "Through his contributions to our profession, Dr. Farias is a role model to the college's thousands of alumni and friends across the nation."

Posted by Jim Hollifield at 7/28/16 | 0 comments

Arkansas Alumni Honored

Several Southern College of Optometry alumni were in the spotlight at the spring convention held by the Arkansas Optometric Association in Little Rock, Arkansas, April 28-May 1, 2016.

Installation of the 2016-2017 Board of Directors took place during the Membership Meeting, where Bryan Armstrong, OD '00, was elected President. Matthew Jones, OD '09, was elected President-Elect. Belinda Starkey, OD '04, was elected as Vice-President.

Chevron Ergle, OD '04, was elected as the Immediate Past-President. Joe Sugg, OD '09, was re-elected to the Board. Allyson Mertins, OD '97, Jeff Netzel, OD '02, and Melia Robertson, OD '09, remained as directors on the board. James Hertzog, OD '06, was elected as a new member to the board of directors.

Awards were given to deserving individuals during the Awards Ceremony on Saturday, April 30. The awards presented included:

  • Lifetime of Excellence Award, Howard Flippin, OD '59,
  • Young Optometrist of the Year to Melia Robertson, OD '09,
  • Special Service Awards to Alex Bell, OD '09, Eric Robbins, OD '01, and Airiell Schwab, OD '06.
The Arkansas Optometric Association represents Arkansas optometrists, who provide primary eye care services. Improving the quality of eye care and vision health and increasing its availability to all Arkansans are primary objectives of the Association. In addition, the association makes a concerted effort to educate consumers on how to take care of their eyes and maintain good eye health and vision. The Arkansas Optometric Association is an affiliate of the American Optometric Association.
Posted by Jim Hollifield at 5/23/16 | 0 comments

Nominations Welcomed for Alumni Awards

Alumni are encouraged to submit nominations for the college’s 21st 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 nomination forms available on SCO’s website. 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, 2016.

Nominations for the Young Alumni Award are also being accepted. Alumni may nominate any graduate from 2006-2015. Service to the profession, leadership, and other criteria are to be provided. Nomination forms may also be found on SCO’s website and must be submitted by June 30, 2016.

The awards will be presented during Fall Homecoming and CE Weekend. Contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at (901) 722-3216 for additional information.
at 4/5/16 | 0 comments

SCO Announces New Board Members

Southern College of Optometry (SCO) recently named two members to its Board of Trustees and a third as the college’s Alumni Council representative. 

Joining the board are Amanda Brewer-Lord, OD ’97, and Chris Wroten, OD ’02, who previously served as the Board’s Alumni Council Representative. The new Alumni Council representative to the Board is Larry Otten, OD ’77 (not pictured).

Dr. Amanda Brewer-Lord obtained her optometry degree from SCO in 1997. A graduate of King College in Bristol, Tennessee, she received her Master of Science degree in Education from Radford University in Virginia.

Upon graduation, Dr. Brewer-Lord established Wythe Eye Associates, a private practice with two locations in Virginia. She has been active in leadership positions in optometry, including serving on the Board of Trustees for the Virginia Optometric Association, the Board of Directors of the Banzai Consortium, the Board for TLC Laser Eye Center, InfantSEE Regional Liaison, and as SECO Logistics Committee Vice-Chair, among others. 

At the local level, she has served on the Board of Directors for 1st Bank of Virginia and the Wytheville Chamber of Commerce. Her awards include being named Virginia’s Young OD of the Year and numerous Clinic of the Year awards in Wythe County. 

Dr. Chris Wroten graduated from SCO in 2002 prior to completing a hospital-based residency in Primary Eye Care at the Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center. After two years on staff at West Tennessee Eye in the Memphis area, he returned home to Louisiana in 2005 to become a partner in the Bond-Wroten Eye Clinics with three offices in southeast Louisiana. 

Dr. Wroten serves as the Bond-Wroten Eye Clinic’s Chief Operating Officer and supervises its Family Practice Residency and Optometric Externship programs, both of which he founded. He has twice been elected President of the Optometry Association of Louisiana, received a number of state, regional, and national professional awards, and serves on several boards and committees both within and outside of the profession of optometry.

In addition to participating in clinical research, Dr. Wroten has also authored clinical case reports and eyecare articles, lectured as a continuing education speaker, and presented a number of educational posters and workshops at regional and national optometric conferences.

Joining the Board as SCO’s Alumni Council representative is Dr. Larry Otten, a graduate of the University of Washington and a 1977 SCO graduate. He opened his first Seattle-based clinic in 1978. After selling his practice in 2001, he joined a multi-clinic ophthalmology group in Redmond, Washington. 

He later purchased the practice and practiced there until his 2013 retirement. He is remaining active by working with a community college optician’s program and traveling abroad performing mission work in addition to working with local homeless clinics to provide vision care. 


at 1/29/16 | 0 comments

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