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Successful fundraising over the last several years by SVOSH – Student Volunteers in Optometric Service to Humanity - has enabled the popular student organization to increase the amount of money in the Dr. L. Allen Fors SVOSH Endowment Fund, bringing it to term.
SCO President Richard W. Phillips, OD '78, is pictured accepting a $30,830 check from SVOSH for an endowment fund honoring the late Dr. Al Fors. Joining him are Kaeleen Franson, '15, Madeline Bost, '15, Fallon Cone, '15, Craig Hossenlopp, '15, SVOSH Treasurer Jordan Dau '15, SVOSH President Alanna Khattar '15, SVOSH Advisor Dr. Beth Sparrow, Virgilio Gozum, '15, and Ashlee Henderson, '15.
SVOSH established the fund in 2009 in honor of Dr. Al Fors, a 1969 SCO graduate, long-time SCO faculty member and devoted supporter of SVOSH. Dr. Fors served as SVOSH’s Faculty Advisor for more than 30 years. During that time, he traveled to 10 different countries with SVOSH students and spent countless hours sorting glasses, creating awareness, and preparing students for their trips.
When it was created, the fund was intended to establish an award to honor Dr. Fors’ contributions and continue to help offset travel costs for the student organization’s growing membership,” said SVOSH President Alanna Khattar, ’15. “It is hoped that SVOSH continues to grow each year, allowing SCO students to provide as much vision care and to touch as many lives as possible. The hard work and dedication of SVOSH members past and present is why SVOSH was able to provide this gift, which will in turn continue to help SVOSH grow in the future. “
With the passing of Dr. Fors on February 2, 2014, the award bearing his name enables SVOSH to help sustain his legacy for years to come in recognition for his many contributions to the organization’s success.
SVOSH has grown greatly since its foundation in 1975. The first SVOSH trip was composed of 12 optometry students and three optometrists who went to Costa Rica. The previous two years have seen approximately 100 students and 14 doctors traveling to eight different locations each year, and 2014 trips will have approximately the same in number.
The Dr. L. Allen Fors SVOSH Endowment Fund is a manner for individuals, alumni or organizations to make a tax-deductible donation to SVOSH. While a donation to the endowment fund cannot go to an individual SVOSH member’s fundraising goal for the year, it benefits the SVOSH group as a whole.
“As a non-profit organization, the endowment fund is a way to provide security for the future of SVOSH,” Khattar said. “Each year SVOSH will receive a percentage of the amount in the endowment fund to put towards travel costs and new portable equipment that will help us provide the best vision care possible on our trips. “
SVOSH is very grateful for donations in any form, and Dr. Fors’ family requested memorials to be made to this particular fund as one of two in which his memory can be honored.
To make a tax-deductible donation to the Dr. L. Allen Fors Endowment Fund, a check can be written to Southern College of Optometry, with “Dr. L. Allen Fors Endowment Fund” written in the memo. Donations can also be made to the endowment fund online; instructions are available at www.svoshsco.org. If you would like to make a donation to an individual SVOSH member, a check may be written to SVOSH at SCO with the name of the member in the memo.
Learn more about the life and legacy of Dr. Fors in this news release about his passing.
SCO Professor Emeritus L. Allen Fors, OD '69, MEd, died Sunday, February 2. One of the longest-serving members of the Southern College of Optometry faculty, he taught from 1969 through 2011.
Dr. Fors devoted his career to teaching optometry, working with children to help them overcome learning disabilities, and to helping bring sight to the disadvantaged in countries around the globe. After his 1969 graduation from SCO, he received the E.B. Alexander Fellowship to Gesell Institute of Child Development in 1970 and 1971. Dr. Fors later received his master’s degree in education from Memphis State University, where his emphasis focused on learning disabilities in children.
In 1989, he became a Fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD). Dr. Fors was a charter member of the Mid-City Lions Club and served on the Board of Directors for the West Tennessee Lions Clubs Foundation. In 1986, he was named Mid-City Lions Club “Lion of the Year.”
He notably served as the long-time faculty advisor to Student Volunteers in Optometric Service to Humanity (SVOSH) at SCO since its inception in 1975. Under his leadership, SVOSH made more than dozens of trips to foreign countries in the Caribbean, Central America and South America. During his years, students in SVOSH performed more than 250,000 examinations and prescribed approximately more than 200,000 pairs of glasses, services valued conservatively at more than $16 million.
As faculty advisor and a charter member of SVOSH, Dr. Fors donated countless hours to organizing trips, preparing eyeglasses, working with Lions Clubs, helping students and ensuring that this organization’s mission of helping others succeeded year after year. He was a multiple recipient of the annual SVOSH Humanitarian Award.
In 2003, Dr. Fors was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from Southern College of Optometry. The Lifetime Achievement Award honors SCO alumni who have demonstrated exemplary leadership skills and made outstanding contributions to the college and the profession of optometry. Following his retirement in 2011, Dr. Fors was named a Professor Emeritus by SCO’s Board of Trustees.
A memorial service was scheduled for Saturday, February 8, from 2-4 pm at the Shelby Farms’ Visitor’s Center. His family requested that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to one of the two SCO funds named in Dr. Fors’ honor: the SVOSH endowment fund or the Glen T. Steele, OD and L. Allen Fors, OD, Developmental Vision Endowment.Contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at (800) 238-0180, ext. 4., or make a gift online at https://sco.sitewrench.com/givetosco. Select “other” as your category and enter the name of one of these two funds.
Many alumni and former colleagues of Dr. Fors have also left their remembrances on SCO’s Facebook page announcement of his passing. You may read these or add your comments here.