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SCO Students, Alumni Lead National Organizations

Southern College of Optometry (SCO) student Hunter Chapman, ’16, pictured at center, was recently elected president of the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA) at the AOSA Board of Trustees meeting in San Francisco. The largest student organization in optometry, AOSA’s 6,500 student membership includes more than 95% of all students in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada.

Chapman becomes the first SCO student to serve as AOSA President since Jeffrey Dunn, OD ’94, was elected in 1993; prior to that, Michael Goins, OD ’81, led the AOSA in 1980-1981. A native of Monroe, Louisiana, he is a 2012 graduate of Louisiana State University. Chapman’s other leadership includes service as an AOSA Trustee, AOA-PAC National Liaison to the American Optometric Association, and as an SCO Student Ambassador.

The election of an SCO student to lead the nation’s largest student optometry organization culminates a period over the last five years that has seen a new generation of SCO students assume leadership roles at AOSA, including Megan Moll, OD ’09, as treasurer in 2008-2009, Matt Willis, OD ’11, as secretary in 2010-2011, and Elizabeth Turnage, OD ’12, as treasurer in 2011-12.

Chapman’s election also underscores the fact that three leaders of national optometry groups enjoy ties to SCO. In addition to Chapman’s service, fellow student Brittany Tounsel, ’15, pictured at left, currently serves as president of the National Optometric Student Association (NOSA). A number of optometry colleges maintain NOSA chapters, each dedicated to the organization’s mission of promoting diversity in optometry, serving members of underprivileged communities, and providing support to multicultural students in the optometric profession.

Tounsel, a graduate of Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, is currently spending her optometry externship at the practice of SCO Board of Trustees member Chris Wroten, OD ’02, a former president of the Optometry Association of Louisiana. Chapman will enter an externship rotation at the same practice in the fall. Dr. Wroten was named Young Optometrist of the Year by the AOA in 2012 and has received numerous other accolades in recognition of his leadership to the profession.

Elsewhere at the national level, the American Optometric Association’s current president is an SCO alumnus, David Cockrell, OD ’81, pictured at right. During a recent visit to address SCO students, Dr. Cockrell noted that a significant proportion of state optometry associations are led by SCO alumni as presidents or executive directors.

Dr. Cockrell’s national leadership, along with other alumni before him, helps in fulfilling one of SCO’s strategic goals in which SCO’s alumni are encouraged to serve as role models to future young leaders through service to their profession and communities. That strategic plan vision was developed and led by SCO’s President, Richard W. Phillips, OD ’78, the incoming president of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO). Dr. Phillips also is a former president of Tennessee’s optometry association and SECO International, the regional organization representing membership in the country’s southeastern states.

The call to service and leadership at the national level seems to have a bright future with incoming students. Mike Robertson, SCO’s Director of Admissions & Enrollment Services, noted that several presidents of undergraduate pre-optometry clubs have enrolled or deposited as incoming students for the fall of 2018’s entering class at SCO.

“SCO’s leadership from students, faculty, and alumni in recent years have helped cement the college’s reputation as a leader in optometric education,” added Sunnie Ewing, SCO’s Director of Student Recruitment.

Posted by Amy Dunbar at Thursday, January 15, 2015 | 0 comments

Wade to Lead Hayes Center at SCO

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 Dr. Richard W. Phillips. “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 Dr. Jerry Hayes. “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 sco.edu/hayescenter and social media to learn more about the Hayes Center, including new blog posts and other content to be added on a regular basis throughout the year.

Posted by Amy Dunbar at Thursday, January 8, 2015 | 0 comments

SCO Acquires S.A.V.E. Mobile Eye Exam Unit

Memphis, Tenn., November 5, 2014 – Southern College of Optometry (SCO) today announced that it has officially acquired a mobile eye exam unit from S.A.V.E. (School Advocates for Vision and Education), a nonprofit organization founded by Henry Lindeman in 2008 to increase access to services for children failing to follow-up for needed care following in-school vision screening failure.

Prior to the acquisition, the unit was funded by support from The Plough Foundation and other sponsors.  SCO provided doctor coverage through a collaboration with SAVE.

“S.A.V.E.’s mission has always been to provide access to eye health and vision care services for schoolchildren in Shelby County,” said Christine Weinreich, director of corporate and foundation relations at SCO. “SCO has enjoyed a working relationship with S.A.V.E. since its inception, and our dynamic, expanding community outreach programs have enabled us to absorb the operation and expand its potential.”

The mobile unit, a customized recreational vehicle with two exam rooms and a children’s optical dispensary, has provided on-site vision care in conjunction with the clinical programs of SCO at Shelby County schools since 2009. SCO plans to continue the work of S.A.V.E. and further increase the number of Shelby County residents benefiting from the mobile unit by expanding its reach to additional schools, public health fairs, senior and other programs.

For the next several months, SCO will send doctors out into the community with the unit three days per week to provide eye health and vision care to residents who need it most. SCO anticipates increasing the mobile care unit’s use to five days per week beginning in 2015.

"The transition, one supported by The Plough Foundation, will continue these much needed services to area children and to the additional people who will be served by the increased capacity brought on by SCO’s amplified involvement," said Dr. James E. Venable, SCO's Vice President for Clinical Programs.

For more information on S.A.V.E. or to inquire about bringing it to your site, contact Bailey Gurley, Coordinator of Mobile Vision Care Services, at 901-722-3274/ bgurley@sco.edu.

About Southern College of Optometry: Southern College of Optometry was established in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1932. SCO is an independent, not-for-profit institution of higher education with more than 500 students and residents from 40 states. The Eye Center at SCO serves nearly 60,000 patients annually, helping make the college one of the top in the nation for clinical optometric education. SCO’s Community Outreach Program reaches more than 12,000 children through vision screenings provided annually to Shelby County students in public, private and charter schools. Additionally, SCO opened a second clinic, University Eye Care, on the campus of The University of Memphis in 2013 and TearWell, a Dry Eye Center of Excellence, on its Midtown Memphis campus in 2014.

About S.A.V.E.: S.A.V.E. (School Advocates for Vision and Education) was founded in 2007 by Amy and Henry Lindeman after their son was diagnosed with vision-related issues. The organization provides vision screenings and comprehensive follow-up care to schoolchildren throughout Shelby County, Tennessee, through a mobile unit funded by the support of organizations like The Plough Foundation and operated by doctors from Southern College of Optometry. As of October 2014, the mobile unit has officially been acquired by SCO as part of an expanded community outreach program in the Mid-South. For more information, visit http://memphisvision.org. # # #

Posted by Amy Dunbar at Wednesday, November 5, 2014 | 0 comments

Convocation Honors SCO Achievement

Southern College of Optometry honored the academic and professional achievements of students, alumni and faculty at its 29th annual all school Convocation ceremony held on Friday, October 11 at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis. First-year students received their white coats, signed SCO's honor code and took the Optometric Oath as they were formally welcomed into the profession.

Scholarships and other awards were presented in recognition of academic excellence, leadership and and service. Many of SCO's scholarships were made possible by the generous support of SCO's Annual Campaign and Endowed Scholarship funds. Among those recognized at Convocation:

Military Service Scholarships

  • U.S. Air Force: Marc Musto '15
  • U.S. Army: Kyle Anderson '15, Kelly Bain '15, Trent Gaasch '16, Emy Thompson '16
  • U.S. Navy: Katherine Allen '16

Class Scholarships

The following Endowed Class Scholarships recognize outstanding leadership and professionalism by members of the Classes of 2015, 2016, and 2017. 

  • CLASSES OF ’54, ’56, ’59 SCHOLARSHIP ($1,000): Feyi Aworunse '16
  • CLASSES OF ’60, ’61, ’63 SCHOLARSHIP ($1,500): Erik Henderson '17
  • CLASSES OF ’64, ’65, ’66 SCHOLARSHIP ($1,500): Frank Carusone '16
  • CLASSES OF ’67, ’68, ’69 SCHOLARSHIP ($1,000): Amy Puerto '15, Michael Bingham '15
  • CLASSES OF ’70, ’71, ’74 SCHOLARSHIP ($1,000): Craig Hossenlopp '15, Alanna Khattar '15
  • CLASS OF 1977 SCHOLARSHIP ($3,000): Trent Gaasch '16
  • CLASS OF 1978 SCHOLARSHIP ($2,000): Hunter Chapman ’16
  • CLASS OF 1984 SCHOLARSHIP ($1,500): Ben Roach ’17
  • CLASS OF 1997 JIMMY SHERIDAN MEMORIAL AWARD ($1,000): Gabriel Fickett ’16

 Alumni and Friends Scholarships

SCO alumni and friends generously support and recognize academic accomplishments and leadership within the student body. As such, the following endowed scholarships and awards have been established in support of SCO students.

  • ROSEMORE FAMILY ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP ($2,000): Heather Atcherson, ’15, Alison Bozung ’15, Crystal Stone ’15
  • MAULDIN FAMILY SCHOLARSHIP ($1,000): Michael Cole ’15
  • WAYNE W. PYEATT ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP ($2,000): Aja Kimrey ’15
  • DR. JOHN A. GAZAWAY ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP ($1,000): Jacob Muller ’15
  • KANSAS ALUMNI ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP ($1,000): Hannah Holtorf ’16
  • FRED FARIAS, III, OD ’87, FAAO ENDOWED AWARD ($1,000): Brenda Flores ’15
  • JERRY L. CLAY ENDOWED AWARD ($1,000): Brett O’Connor ’16
  • DON E. WILLIAMSON MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP ($3,000): Madeline Bost ’15
  • DR. STANLEY M. DICKERSON ENDOWED LEADERSHIP AWARD ($1,000): Elizabeth Fioravanti ’15 

State and Professional Associations

  • KENTUCKY OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION SCHOLARSHIPS ($1,000): Celia Baker ’17, Michelle Glass ’15
  • ARKANSAS OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION ($1,500): Wesley Dunnam ’16 (2013 recipient); Darah McDaniel-Chandler ’16 (2014 recipient) 

Corporate Partners and Ophthalmic Industry

  • J. PAT CUMMINGS SCHOLARSHIP ($1,000): Feyi Aworunse ’16
  • VISION SERVICE PLAN SCHOLARSHIPS ($4,000): Andrew Brown ’15 (Missouri), Lisa Muiller ’15
  • UNITED PARCEL SERVICE SCHOLARSHIP ($2,425): Brittany Tounsel ’15
  • WAL-MART PROJECT FORESIGHT TEAM AWARD ($1,500): Frank Carusone ’16, Kay Powell ’16
  • PRECISION OPTICAL LABORATORIES ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIPS ($2,000): Barbara Jodoin ’15, Mark Miriello ’15
  • OCULAR INSTRUMENTS AWARD ($250 Product Certificate): John Moonan ’15, Laura Prindeze ’17, Chelsea Wahl ’16
  • WELCH ALLYN CO. AWARD (Panoptic Ophthalmoscope and Lithium Icon Handle): Meagan Williams ’17
  • HEINE USA AWARD (Hand-held Slit Lamp): Scott Ronhavde ’15
  • KEELER INSTRUMENTS AWARD (Streak Retinoscope and Mini Charger): Ryan Wilkerson ’16 

Basic Science and Clinical Science Awards

  • 1st Year Basic Science Awards: Celia Baker '17, Timothy Bass '17, Jordan Hamric '17, Derek Hennig '17, Caroline Lambeth '17, Clinton Prestwich '17, Laura Prindeze '17, Ben Roach '17, Lisa Russell '17, Meagan Williams '17
  • 1st Year Clinical Science Awards: Leslie Alitz '17, Emily Eisenhower '17, Erin Keim '17, Caroline Lambeth '17, Matthew Page '17, Hallina Portner '17, Anna Prier '17, Keith Slayden '17, Bryan Truong '17, Meagan Williams '17
  • 2nd Year Basic Science Awards: Daniel Brigham '16, Eric Brinkley '16, Kevin Davis '16, Gabriel Fickett '16, Trent Gaasch '16, Sarah Jones '16, Andrew Neighbors '16, Logan Oliver '16, Monica Perry '16, Amy Sickman '16
  • 2nd Year Clinical Science Awards: Brennan Berwald '16, Alex Compton '16, Angela Haas '16, Dahlia Haddad '16, Daniel Kelly '16, Marla McNutt '16, Winn Meredith '16, Andrew Neighbors '16, Whitney Seltman '16, Brent Smith '16
  • 3rd Year Clinical Skills Awards ($500):  Autumn Adams '15, Andrew Brown '15, Mark Curtis '15, Jessica Haynes '15, Alanna Khattar '15, Aja Kimrey '15, Lisa Muiller '15, Landon Sherrill '15, Brittany Tounsel '15, Sherry Wei '15

Faculty of the Year (2013-2014)

BSK Teacher of the Year Awards

  • Didactic: Alan Kabat, OD
  • Clinic: William Kress, OD

Class of 2017

  • Didactic: John Mark Jackson, OD '99
  • Clinic: Carrie Lebowitz, OD '06 

Class of 2016

  • Didactic: Alan Kabat, OD
  • Clinic: William Kress, OD

Class of 2015

  • Didactic: Gerald Eisenstatt, OD '84
  • Clinic: Lindsay Elkins, OD '07

Burnett Faculty Recognition Award

Established by Charlene Burnett, OD ’83 and Fred Burnett, OD ’80, in recognition of an outstanding faculty member as selected by his or her peers:

  • John Mark Jackson, OD '99

Board of Trustees Resolution:

  • Scott Ensor, OD '01

SCO Lifetime Achievement Award

Joe Ellis, OD ’86, was 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 EyeCare 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 2014Optometrist 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. 

Young Alumni Award

Lindsay Elkins, OD ’07, is 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.

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. 

Class of 2018 members who received their white coats:

  • Kevin Ables
  • Daniel Adams
  • Ethan Adkins
  • Laura Aelvoet
  • Leah Akin
  • Jonathan Allee
  • Harrison Amburn
  • Kelly Arnhart
  • Sneha Bagavandoss
  • Andrew Belknap
  • Jacob Bowen
  • Ann Marie Brahan
  • Tiffany Brawner
  • Laura Brown
  • Lauren Bruehl
  • Logan Brunner
  • Jamie Buckingham
  • Kalah Burchfield
  • Caitlin Byrne
  • Michelle Chan
  • Caitlin Condron
  • Madeline Coughlin
  • Anne Czelusniak
  • Melinda Dang
  • Thuan Dang
  • Marcus Daniel
  • Catherine Danko
  • Kristen Davis
  • Nathan Dederman
  • Ashlyn DeHoogh
  • Elora Dittmar
  • Jillian Duhon
  • Hanna Ellis
  • Jennifer Eng
  • Elizabeth Fahy
  • Meagan Fazzio
  • Katherine Fontenot
  • Jason Foote
  • Whitney Fransen
  • Lizabeth Frontino
  • Danny Garcia
  • Alison Gottlieb
  • Carlos Grandela
  • Julia Ham
  • Kendra Harbison
  • Chase Harter
  • Muqdisa Hashmi
  • Nathan Haverkamp
  • Brehana Hawkins
  • Bryce Heffington
  • Cindy Heng
  • Andrew Hickman
  • Kathryn Hutchins
  • Devin Jackson
  • Tiffany Jackson
  • Jamie Jacobs
  • Shanelle Jenkins
  • Bryce Johnson
  • Emily Johnson
  • Joseph Johnson
  • Kathryn Johnson
  • Ashlyn Jones
  • Brooke Jones
  • Morgan Kickliter
  • Haley Kincannon
  • Nicole Lamb
  • Misty Lane
  • Newton Lee
  • Alexander Leong
  • John Lindsey
  • Alexandra Lord
  • Alyssa Louia
  • Jacob Luthman
  • Trent Martin
  • Sarah Maxey
  • Allan McCleary
  • Michael McCullough
  • Dalton Miller
  • Luke Moix
  • Amanda Moore
  • Ashley Morneau
  • Kristian Mostert
  • Mary Nethaway
  • Leon Nguyen
  • Paul Nguyen
  • Taylor Nicks
  • Hilarie Nixon
  • Corey Ommen
  • Austin Pace
  • Anisha Patel
  • Leena Patel
  • Elizabeth Perch
  • Ryan Piche
  • Lauren Plewes
  • Emma Pope
  • John Popham
  • Kinsey Powell
  • Julie Rallo
  • Theresa Reed
  • Chelci Reynolds
  • Stephanie Reynolds
  • Laurel Roberts
  • Luke Robin
  • Caleb Robinson
  • Mallory Robinson
  • Gustavo Rodriguez
  • Shelby Rogers
  • Nicholas Roovers
  • Nicholas Sachse
  • Keisha Sands
  • Bradley Schuster
  • Laura Schwartz
  • Sarah Scoggin
  • Wen Ping Shiau
  • Robert Smith
  • Ty Smith
  • Monique Smyth
  • Alex Soliz
  • Rachel Sossaman
  • Alyssa Sowell
  • Anna Claire Spradling
  • Victoria Stewart
  • William Stringer
  • Anh Ta
  • Robin Thomas
  • Molly Tonos
  • Mong Linh Van
  • Sandra Vu 
  • Tyler Wadzinski
  • Jessica Ward
  • Tessa Wellsandt
  • Kelsey White
  • Mason Williams
  • Eric Woodward
  • Laura Wooten
  • William Wooten

Photos from the ceremony will be made available shortly through SCO's Flickr photo galleries. A DVD of the ceremony may be ordered directly from Mississippi Boulevard Church by calling (901) 722-6222.


Posted by Amy Dunbar at Friday, October 10, 2014 | 0 comments

Student Loan Default Rate at 0% for 18th Year

Newly released numbers from the U.S. Department of Education show that SCO’s graduates are performing exceedingly well in their transition to optometric practice. Student loan cohort default rates for Southern College of Optometry remained at zero percent for the 18th consecutive year.

A cohort default rate represents the percentage of a college’s borrowers who have defaulted on their student loans. The national average was 13.7%, up from last year’s rate of 9.1%, yet SCO’s default rate remained at zero percent, an indication of the strong ability of SCO’s graduates to pay back their loans.“

This is great news,” said Cindy Garner, SCO’s Director of Financial Aid. “Our graduates continue to have great success practicing optometry and repaying their student loans. The cohort default rate is an important measure of a school’s overall quality. It reflects our success in preparing our students to practice optometry. This is a great accomplishment and it reflects admirably on each member of the SCO family.”

SCO’s Financial Aid Office actively works with students to provide them strategies to manage their student indebtedness levels. From budgeting workshops to one-on-one sessions with a financial aid counselor, the college is committed to partnering with students to ensure their success in optometry. Student scholarships provided by SCO’s alumni and friends also play an important part in managing student debt levels. 

Posted by Amy Dunbar at Friday, October 3, 2014 | 0 comments