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Honorary Degree Recipients Announced

Two individuals were selected to receive honorary degrees at Southern College of Optometry's May 8th commencement ceremony for their contributions to the profession of optometry.

American Optometric Association President David Cockrell, OD ’81, is this year’s recipient of the Doctor of Ocular Science degree. The 12th SCO alumnus to lead the AOA, Dr. Cockrell was also invited to deliver this year’s commencement address.

In addition to his duties as AOA President, Dr. Cockrell serves as chair of the AOA’s Agenda and Executive Committees and is a member of the Personnel Committee. Prior to his election to the AOA Board, Dr. Cockrell served as chair of the AOA State Government Relations Center, as well as AOA Primary Care and Patient Management, Statutory SCOPE, and Nominating and Resolutions committees.  He has also served in the AOA Federal Government Relations Center.

Dr. Cockrell is a past president of the Southwest Council of Optometry. He is a past President of the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians and a former Oklahoma Optometrist of the Year. He was named the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians Distinguished Optometrist of the Year in 2012. He has also served on the Oklahoma State Board of Examiners in Optometry since 1997.Dr. Cockrell practices in Stillwater, OK, with his wife, Cherry B. Cockrell, OD ’81.

Marty Wall, longtime Executive Director of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, is this year’s recipient of the Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Wall is retiring this year after a quarter century’s service in serving the nation’s optometry colleges. During his tenure, ASCO saw greater involvement of faculty involvement in Special Interest Groups, the implementation of a central admissions application process, and the establishment of the Partnership Endowment. He also organized two national symposia on optometric education involving a number of optometric organizations that resulted in strategic plans to guide the professional education of 21st century ODs.

A graduate of Ohio University, Wall earned a Master’s in Public Administration from American University and is a Certified Association Executive. He served as President of the Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions from 1999-2001.

Posted by Amy Dunbar at Wednesday, April 29, 2015 | 0 comments

SCO Leadership Changes Announced

Reich Named Interim President at Southern College of Optometry

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (April 2, 2015) –
Southern College of Optometry (SCO) announced today that Lewis Reich, OD, PhD, Professor and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, has been named Interim President following the resignation earlier this week of Richard W. Phillips, OD.

Dr. Reich joined SCO’s faculty in 2008 as Vice President for Academic Affairs following nearly a decade of service at Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry, where he served as Associate Professor and as Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. A 1988 graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, he completed a residency in low vision rehabilitation at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry and later joined the faculty. He received his PhD from the University of Houston in 1999.

J. Bart Campbell, OD, was named Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs. A 1987 SCO graduate, Dr. Campbell previously served as the Chair of Optometric Education, where his primary responsibilities included the design and implementation of the college’s optometric curriculum. Dr. Campbell completed his contact lens practice residency in 1988 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry. He also chairs the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education.

“SCO is extremely fortunate to have a dynamic and highly effective leadership team that will be working together to ensure a smooth transition over the next few months,” Dr. Reich said. “We collectively share such a strong commitment to continuing the outstanding results that have distinguished SCO over the last 83 years.” 

Dr. Richard Phillips submitted his resignation to the college’s Board of Trustees earlier this week after serving as president and CEO for eight years. 

Founded in Memphis in 1932, SCO is an independent, not-for-profit institution of higher education with more than 500 students and residents from 40 states. The college’s public clinic, The Eye Center at SCO, serves more than 60,000 patients annually as one of the nation’s top clinical optometric education. SCO’s Community Outreach program reaches more than 12,000 children throughout Shelby County. The college also operates University Eyecare, a full service clinic on the campus of the University of Memphis. 

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Posted by Amy Dunbar at Thursday, April 2, 2015 | 0 comments

SCO President Named SECO’S OD of the South

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (March 9, 2015) – Southern College of Optometry (SCO) President Richard W. Phillips, OD, 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.  

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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 Monday, March 9, 2015 | 0 comments

SCO Welcomes Dave Sattler to Board

Southern College of Optometry recently welcomed retired ophthalmic industry leader Dave Sattler to the college's Board of Trustees.

Sattler began his career with Alcon in 1986 as a Sales Representative for the Vision Care Group based out of San Diego, California. While living in Southern California, he held a number of positions with increasing responsibility including Regional Broker Manager, National Account Manager, and District Sales Manager.

In 1991, he was promoted to Director of National Accounts and relocated to Alcon’s Corporate Headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. In this position he was responsible for sales management and marketing activities for corporate optical chain accounts, HMOs and optometry schools.

In 2001, he assumed the role of Director Professional Relations and in 2008 he was promoted to Director Professional Relations – Global Optometry. Peer to peer professional marketing was added to his list of responsibilities in 2010. In 2011, Sattler became the Director Professional Relations overseeing Academic Development. After 28 years of service, he retired from Alcon in 2014.

Sattler is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and is currently serving as a volunteer board member for the American Optometric Association’s Foundation and The Pennsylvania College of Optometry Industry Advisory Board.

Prior to joining Alcon, Sattler spent four years with Oscar Mayer Foods Corporation as a Sales Representative. He attended college at the University of Colorado for two years and then completed his BA degree in 1981 with an emphasis in marketing at Cal State Fullerton. Between college experiences, Sattler was a professional ski instructor at Breckenridge, Colorado. He and his wife Denise reside in Colleyville, Texas. They have three grown daughters.    

Posted by Amy Dunbar at Monday, January 26, 2015 | 0 comments

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