Former SCO Board member Richard “Dick” Powell, OD ’68, died on Thursday, November 3. Dr. Powell practiced optometry for more than a half-century in Lincoln, Nebraska.
During optometry school, Dr. Powell was President of the Gold Key Honorary Optometric Society, an honors program recognizing students in the top ten percent of their class. He served as editor of the college yearbook and worked part-time as an assistant in the computer center while doing optical research for the physiologic optical department.
During the Vietnam War, Dr. Powell served as an optometry officer in the Medical Service Corp and received the Bronze Star Medal for “meritorious achievement in ground operations against hostile forces” in Vietnam from August 1969 to August 1970.
His optometry leadership included serving as president of the Nebraska Optometric Association, chair of the Nebraska Optometric Association Political Action Committee, director of the Heart of America Contact Lens Society, and as founder and director of the Sports Vision & Reading Clinic of Lincoln. He was appointed to the state’s Board of Health in 1990.
In 1992, Dr. Powell was named Nebraska Optometrist of the Year. He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and an active advocate for the profession in lectures, publications, and at the national and regional levels. He was awarded diplomat status in the National Board of Examiners in 1971.
Dr. Powell became an Adjunct Assistant Professor in 1982 and served for several decades as a preceptor.
In 2004, Dr. Powell was one of only 24 ODs nationally to be awarded the AOA’s Continuing Optometric Recognition Award as a 25-year recipient. That same year, he became the first Nebraska optometrist to be appointed to service on SCO’s Board of Trustees and served through 2012.
At the community level, Dr. Powell’s extensive civic involvement included the Jaycees, wildlife and nature preservation organizations, state politics, and an optometrist for the University of Nebraska Athletic Department. In 1980, he was named one of Nebraska’s Outstanding Young Individuals.