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SCO Accepting Nominations for 2015 Lifetime Achievement and Young Alumni Award

SCO is now accepting nominations for the college's 20th Annual Lifetime Achievement Awards. The highest honor presented to alumni, this award recognizes outstanding achievement to the profession, college and the graduate's community. Any SCO graduate may nominate fellow alumni by using the PDF form linked here, 2015 Lifetime Achievement. Completed forms may be mailed, emailed, or faxed to the designated information listed at the end of the form. All nominations must be received by June 30, 2015.

Nominations for the Young Alumni Award are also being accepted. Alumni may nominate any graduate from 2005-2014. Service to the profession, leadership and other criteria are to be provided in the nomination. Use this PDF form linked here, 2015 Young Alumni Award, to nominate graduates. Completed forms may be mailed, emailed, or faxed to the designated information listed at the end of the form. The deadline is June 30, 2015.

The awards will be presented at this fall's Convocation ceremony on Friday, September 25, 2015. Contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at (901) 722-3216 for additional information.

Posted by Amy Dunbar at 3/20/15 | 0 comments

SCO President, ’78 Graduate, Named SECO’S OD of the South

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (March 9, 2015) – Southern College of Optometry (SCO) President Richard W. Phillips, OD, ’78, 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.


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 3/9/15 | 0 comments

Wade to Lead SCO's Hayes Center for Practice Excellence

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 Richard W. Phillips, OD '78. “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 Jerry Hayes, OD '84. “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 and social media to learn more about the Hayes Center.

Posted by Amy Dunbar at 1/8/15 | 0 comments

AOA President, '81 Graduate, Visits Campus

David Cockrell, OD '81, American Optometric Association President, visited SCO on Wednesday, September 4 to address a campus-wide assembly of students, faculty and staff. 

The SCO graduate and AOA leader spoke on the importance of advocacy for the profession.In his remarks, he outlined scope of practice advances in recent years, including Tennessee and Louisiana. Dr. Cockrell urged students to become involved sooner in their careers and noted the changing landscape of health care delivery as a key reason to become engaged in the advocacy process.

Dr. Cockrell observed that by his count, SCO has produced more state association leaders than any other optometry school. Dr. Cockrell is the 13th SCO alumnus to lead the AOA.

Posted by Amy Dunbar at 9/4/14 | 0 comments

Ellis, Elkins to Receive Alumni Awards

Former American Optometric Association President Joe Ellis, OD ’86, has been named Southern College of Optometry’s 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, and SCO faculty member Lindsay Elkins, OD ’07, has been named the college’s Young Alumni Award recipient. SCO will present the awards at this year’s Convocation ceremony on Friday, October 10.

In receiving SCO’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Dr. Joe Ellis is being 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 Eye Care 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 2014 Optometrist 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.

As this year’s recipient of SCO’s Young Alumni Award, Lindsay Elkins, OD ’07, becomes 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. More than 12,000 students receive screenings each year in the program that she oversees.

Dr. Elkins has supervised SCO students on multiple Remote Area Medical outreach events to provide eye services to those in need. 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.

Posted by Amy Dunbar at 8/25/14 | 0 comments