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Joined by an admiring crowd of colleagues, former students, fellow alumni and well-wishers, SCO Professor Frank Gibson, OD ’68, retired after 19 years of service to Southern College of Optometry (SCO).
Dr. Gibson’s retirement reception was held on Wednesday, October 6. In his remarks, SCO President Richard W. Phillips, OD ’78, thanked Dr. Gibson for his passion for the profession of optometry. “Dr. Gibson has left a mark on our profession,” Dr. Phillips said.
Professor Emeritus Lisa Wade, OD ’84, delivered greetings from President Emeritus William E. Cochran, OD ’68, who recalled first meeting Dr. Gibson when they both arrived at SCO as first-year students in 1965. Dr. Wade credited Dr. Gibson for teaching her about leadership and professionalism. Dr. Glen Steele and Gary Snuffin, Director of Clinical Operations, also shared some of their memories and good wishes for Dr. Gibson.
Several of the speakers noted that Dr. Gibson graduated from SCO summa cum laude as class salutatorian. He then joined his father in private practice in Thomaston, Georgia. A third-generation optometrist, Dr. Gibson counts eight direct line relatives as optometrists, as well as a number of 2nd and 3rd cousins who chose the profession.
Dr. Gibson and his wife, Carole, are the parents of another optometrist in the family, Jennifer Gibson Uhl, OD ’97. The Gibsons are moving to live near their daughter in the Nashville area. He told the assembly at his reception that he plans to stay involved with optometry and his alma mater.
Dr. Gibson formerly served as SCO’s Vice President of Clinical Programs. Under his leadership, The Eye Center at SCO was designed and constructed. It remains one of the nation’s premier optometric clinical facilities.
Among his accomplishments that he’s most proud of, Dr. Gibson cited:
• The degree and quality of teaching in The Eye Center
• The Eye Center’s planning and implementation
• Developing ongoing relationships with lots of students
• Watching development of younger faculty members
Following the untimely death of Rich Goodson, OD ’66, in 2005, Dr. Gibson led SCO’s Externship Program. He plans to assist the program’s transition to new leadership as well as finding time for his family, developing new friends, trying to stay healthy and traveling.
Dr. Gibson served on a number of committees of the Georgia Optometric Association (GOA) and of the Southern Council of Optometrists (SECO). He chaired the GOA Legislative Committee during the years leading to passage of the expansion of the Georgia Optometry Law, providing Georgia optometrists the responsibility and authority to utilize pharmaceutical agents for diagnostic purposes.
In 1978 he served as President of the GOA, earning the state's Optometrist of the Year Award. He also served on the AOA third-party committee; SECO's continuing education committee, the AOA Public Health Committee and numerous state and national ad hoc working groups. Dr. Gibson served on the Georgia Board of Examiners in Optometry for seven years during which the state implemented its first clinical skills assessment.
During his tenure as editor of the Southern Journal of Optometry, SJO received the Best Journal Award presented by the Optometric Editor's Association. In 1988 Dr. Gibson was elected to the Southern College of Optometry Board of Trustees.
In 1991 Dr. Gibson joined SCO as Clinic Director. This position was subsequently expanded and Dr. Gibson became Vice President for Clinical Programs, a position he held until 2005, when he assumed his role as Director of Externships.
During his tenure at SCO, Dr. Gibson taught advanced Theory and Methods of Optometry and led numerous study groups. He has lectured at state and national meetings on subjects ranging from management of glaucoma to successful lens prescribing to utilization of computer-based office management systems. Congratulations to Dr. Gibson on his well-deserved retirement.