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Southern College of Optometry will honor the accomplishments of Drs. Allan Barker and Matt Jones during the institution’s annual Fall Homecoming and Continuing Education Weekend, October 3-6, 2019 in Memphis.
Receiving the college’s Lifetime Achievement Award will be Dr. Allan Barker, a 1975 graduate. A member of the American Optometric Association for 44 years, Dr. Barker is a past president of the Optometry Care Foundation.
A former President of the North Carolina State Optometric Society, Dr. Barker has also served as a VOSH State Director in North Carolina, on the Essilor Eye Care Practitioner Advisory Panel, and completed the Wharton Chief Executive Optometrist course. He worked at the Olympic Vision Center in Lillehammer, Norway, and is a charter member of the AOA Contact Lens and Cornea Section. He has lectured and published extensively throughout his career, including one of the first studies on hyperopic soft contact lenses in 1977 which was co-authored with Dr. Frank Fontana.
Dr. Barker has served as an SCO clinical preceptor, member of the SCO Alumni Council, and served on the college’s 75th Anniversary Celebration Committee. He and his wife Susan are the parents of three children and have one grandchild. The Barkers live in Rocky Mount and Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.
Receiving SCO’s Young Alumni Award will be Dr. Matt Jones, a 2009 graduate who is co-owner of Family Eye Care, located in Blytheville and Osceola, Arkansas.
Dr. Jones serves on several committees of the Arkansas Optometric Association including state legal legislative, national legal legislative, career guidance and AOP-PAC. While on the board of directors from 2011-2019, he served as President of the ArOA from 2017-2018. He is also a Treasurer of the board of directors for the Association’s charitable foundation, Vision Arkansas. Dr. Jones is a volunteer for the American Optometric Association currently serving on the Meetings Center Committee. He is also a volunteer for SECO International, serving on the Continuing Education Committee.
Politically, Dr. Jones serves as legislative keyperson for numerous state representatives and senators. He coordinates over 30 state legislative campaigns and works with other ODs to secure campaign contributions. On the national level, he is keyperson with his U.S. Congressman, Rick Crawford, and has secured his co-sponsorship on all AOA efforts.
Dr. Jones was recently named to serve on the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation board of directors. The primary program fo the foundation, Eyes of a Champion, provides eyewear and vision exams throughout Arkansas and surrounding states.
In June 2018 at Optometry's Meeting in Denver, Dr. Jones was awarded the American Optometric Association's Young Optometrist of the Year. In March 2017, Dr. Jones was recognized as the Young Optometrist of the South by SECO International. He also received the Arkansas Young Optometrist of the Year Award in 2012.
Dr. Matthew Jones received his undergraduate degree from the University of Evansville in 2005 with a B.S. in Biochemistry. From there, he attended the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN graduating with honors in 2009.
In the community, Dr. Jones is a member of the Blytheville Rotary Club where he previously served as treasurer. He now serves as chairman of the Blytheville Rotary Foundation. He is the secretary/treasurer of the Great River Charitable Clinic board of directors where he provides free eye care services and materials for the under-served. He also serves as a board member on the Greater Blytheville Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Jones practices in Blytheville and Osceola and is Board Certified by the American Board of Optometry. He and his wife, Allison, and daughters, Sutton & Elliott, live in Blytheville.
Congratulations to both of these outstanding alumni.