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Wade to Lead SCO's Hayes Center for Practice Excellence

Lisa Rossmeyer Wade, OD '84, has been named Director of the Hayes Center for Practice Excellence (HCPE) at Southern College of Optometry (SCO) in Memphis. Founded in 2005 by 1973 SCO Graduate, Dr. Jerry Hayes, and his wife, Cris, The Hayes Center is one of the first centers to focus on teaching independent optometrists business principles applicable for their practice, including strategic planning, budgeting and increasing profitability.

Dr. Wade is a 1984 SCO graduate who spent 20 years on the college’s faculty, including service as SCO’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement. Under her leadership, the college expanded scholarships for students and raised the funds for constructing The Eye Center at SCO. She earned a master’s in public administration from the University of Memphis.

In 2005, Dr. Wade retired to become the Dealer-Principal of Southern Thunder Harley-Davidson, one of the southeast region’s most successful motorcycle dealerships, a $20 million enterprise with 50 employees. Dr. Wade oversaw a $9 million expansion to additional locations and a complete rebranding of dealership’s new flagship store. Prior to selling the dealership in 2013, Harley-Davidson Motor Company named it one of the top six in the U.S. based on customer satisfaction scores and other business metrics such as growth and profitability.

“In returning to the SCO family, Dr. Wade brings a unique level of business experience that will benefit our students and alumni,” said SCO President Richard W. Phillips, OD '78. “In addition to providing our students the best clinical education in the nation, the Hayes Center is well positioned for Dr. Wade to teach them the concepts involved in providing a strong foundation of the financial fundamentals important to the business principles of our profession. The Hayes Center’s oversight of our Career Counseling and Placement Services programs will also benefit from Dr. Wade’s prior networking with generations of alumni in supporting SCO’s success.”

“The entire Hayes family joins me in expressing our confidence in Dr. Wade’s enthusiasm for growing The Hayes Center’s programs at SCO,” said Jerry Hayes, OD '84. “Dr. Wade shares our vision of enhancing the value of providing students and alumni with the resources and business tools they need to ensure successful practices of optometry.”

A 2009 recipient of SCO’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Dr. Wade also was named Executive of the Year by the Memphis Business Journal in 2011 and to the Top 50 Mississippi Business Women list in 2012. She was named Professor Emerita following her initial retirement from SCO.

Joining Dr. Wade in administering the Hayes Center’s initiatives will be newly hired Program Coordinator Anthony Hubbard, who previously served as Career Services Coordinator for Davenport University. A graduate of Delta State University, he has worked in similar roles with higher education, recruiting, career counseling and community organizations to attract job and internship opportunities for students and college graduates.

Hubbard serves on several community and educational committees, including the Memphis Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, and previously served on West Coast Chamber Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Logistics Chairperson for the West Coast Chamber’s Ambassador Committee in Holland, Michigan.

Visit and social media to learn more about the Hayes Center.

Posted by Amy Dunbar at 1/8/15 | 0 comments

AOA President, '81 Graduate, Visits Campus

David Cockrell, OD '81, American Optometric Association President, visited SCO on Wednesday, September 4 to address a campus-wide assembly of students, faculty and staff. 

The SCO graduate and AOA leader spoke on the importance of advocacy for the profession.In his remarks, he outlined scope of practice advances in recent years, including Tennessee and Louisiana. Dr. Cockrell urged students to become involved sooner in their careers and noted the changing landscape of health care delivery as a key reason to become engaged in the advocacy process.

Dr. Cockrell observed that by his count, SCO has produced more state association leaders than any other optometry school. Dr. Cockrell is the 13th SCO alumnus to lead the AOA.

Posted by Amy Dunbar at 9/4/14 | 0 comments

Ellis, Elkins to Receive Alumni Awards

Former American Optometric Association President Joe Ellis, OD ’86, has been named Southern College of Optometry’s 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, and SCO faculty member Lindsay Elkins, OD ’07, has been named the college’s Young Alumni Award recipient. SCO will present the awards at this year’s Convocation ceremony on Friday, October 10.

In receiving SCO’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Dr. Joe Ellis is being recognized for his significant contributions to the profession of optometry. In June 2010, Dr. Ellis was inaugurated as president of the American Optometric Association. In addition to his successful practice in Kentucky, Dr. Ellis has served as president and legislative chair of the Kentucky Optometric Association’s Board of Trustees.

He led Kentucky’s fight in 1996 for optometrists to obtain oral therapeutic privileges. He’s also been involved in other legislative victories, including a 2000 law requiring children’s school entrance exams and the Access to Quality Eye Care Bill in 2010.He served on the board of the Kentucky Optometric Association from 1990-1996 and as president in 1994-95.

He was named Kentucky’s Young Optometrist of the Year in 1992, and in 1995, Kentucky’s Optometrist of the Year. He also has received three President’s Awards from the KOA. Dr. Ellis currently serves as Chairman of the Board for AOA Excel. Dr. Ellis is board liaison to the American Academy of Optometry. He was named the 2014 Optometrist of the South at SECO in Atlanta.

At the community level, he serves on the Marshall County Hospital Staff and the Marshall County Health Department Board, is a board member of Kentucky’s Local Health Department, serves on the advisory board for the Kentucky Health Insurance Exchange, and is active in the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.

As this year’s recipient of SCO’s Young Alumni Award, Lindsay Elkins, OD ’07, becomes the first SCO faculty member to receive the honor. After her graduation, she also completed a Primary Care Residency at the Memphis VA Center.  One year after joining the college’s faculty in 2008, she began leading SCO’s School Screening Program. Dr. Elkins has played an important role in ensuring the program’s success and stability through a school system merger and increased outreach program growth. More than 12,000 students receive screenings each year in the program that she oversees.

Dr. Elkins has supervised SCO students on multiple Remote Area Medical outreach events to provide eye services to those in need. In addition to her role as a clinical educator, Dr. Elkins has also served as Coordinator of the Part I NBEO Review at SCO and as the current lab director in The Eye Center. She has attained her Fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry and presented posters at Academy, AOA, and SECO meetings.

She was the primary investigator for a research study partnering with AEL Laboratories involving culturing methods for corneal ulcers.  In addition to lecturing in continuing education programs, she has published articles in Eye Care Review.

Dr. Elkins serves as the faculty advisor for the SCO BSK chapter, has recently been selected as Vice Chancellor of the BSK World Council, and will be inducted at this fall’s Academy meeting. She served as President of the West Tennessee Optometric Physicians Society in 2010-11 and serves as an Advisory Board Member for Southern Eye Associates.

She’s served as faculty advisor to the Virginia and North Carolina Optometric Student Associations and is currently the advisor to the South Carolina Optometric Student Association. Dr. Elkins also has received the Outstanding SGA Club Advisor Award from students.

Posted by Amy Dunbar at 8/25/14 | 0 comments

Sandefur Named Executive Director of the Year

James Sandefur, OD '65, Executive Director of the Optometry Association of Louisiana was recently selected as the 2014 recipient of the Virgil Deering Optometric Executive Director of the Year Award. Dr. Sandefur received the prestigious award at the 2014 American Optometric Association (AOA) Congress in Philadelphia.

The award, presented annually since 2000 by the North Central States Optometric Council to an outstanding state optometric executive director, recognizes the dedicated, capable leadership and support that state optometric associations receive from their executive directors. The award is named in honor of Virgil Deering, long-time Executive Director of the Iowa Optometric Association.

Dr. Sandefur was recognized for his leadership in restructuring the Optometry Association of Louisiana, his work in the legislature, and his service to optometry on the local, state and national levels. In recognition of a lifetime of service to optometry, he has also been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from Southern College of Optometry, the highest honor the college bestows on its alumni, and the AOA’s Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Sandefur serves on SCO's Board of Trustees.

North Central States Optometric Council is a regional council of 8 state optometric associations whose purpose is to enhance the vision and health of the public and to promote the art and science of the profession of optometry among member states.To learn more about NCSOC, visit

Posted by Amy Dunbar at 8/12/14 | 0 comments

SCO Accepting Nominations for Lifetime Achievement and Young Alumni Award

SCO is now accepting nominations for the college's 19th 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 a PDF form linked here, 2014 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, 2014.

Nominations for the Young Alumni Award are also being accepted. Alumni may nominate any graduate from 2004-2013. Service to the profession, leadership and other criteria are to be provided in the nomination. Use this PDF form linked here, 2014 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, 2014.

The awards will be presented at this fall's Convocation ceremony on Friday, October 10, 2014. Contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at (901) 722-3216 for additional information.
Posted by Amy Dunbar at 5/22/14 | 0 comments