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SCO Announces Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree Recipients

Two notable women were selected as recipients of Southern College of Optometry’s honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees. Diane Rudner and Marion Rosemore were selected to receive the degrees awarded at SCO’s commencement ceremony on May 4, 2017.

About Diane Rudner

Raised in Memphis, Diane Rudner graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1972 when she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Maryland. Her professional career began as a management trainee at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Bank in New York City, where she became Vice President of Corporate Planning during her 11-year tenure.

In the late 1980s, she resided in Tokyo, Japan, where she served on the board of the Tokyo Women’s Club. Additionally, she chaired the American Orientations Committee and was a consultant to the Tokyo Community Counseling Service, the only English-speaking agency of its kind at the time.

She returned to Memphis and in 1991 began Insight Associates, which specializes in corporate and strategic planning for family businesses and partnerships. Her active support of Memphis includes supporting projects and programs that improve services and opportunities for Memphis residents.

She has served on the board of the Plough Foundation, a private philanthropic organization, since 1990 and as board chair since 1997. The Plough Foundation makes grants in Memphis and Shelby County to serve a wide variety of needs, including support of healthcare, families and seniors in crisis, public education, homelessness, arts and culture, and public safety.

Ms. Rudner has chaired the Memphis Arts Council (ArtsMemphis) and WONDERS: The International Culture Series. She also served as vice chair of the Memphis/Shelby Crime Commission. In 2002, she was selected for Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government’s Inaugural Class of Women and Power: Leadership in a New World.

She currently serves on the boards of Memphis Tomorrow, Overton Park Conservancy, SunTrust Bank-Memphis, and Argent Financial Group. She has additionally been honored as a recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from LeMoyne-Owen College and a 2013 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award from Rhodes College.

About Marion Rosemore

Marion Goldstein Rosemore’s long history of involvement in optometry began in 1946 when her husband, Fredric Rosemore, a WWII Army Air Corp veteran, began his education at Southern College of Optometry. Their partnership solidified an optometry legacy. Mrs. Rosemore’s husband, brother, brother-in-law, daughter, and seven grandchildren all earned Doctor of Optometry degrees.

Early in her marriage, Mrs. Rosemore became a driving force in establishing a culture of philanthropy within her family. As Dr. Rosemore succeeded in his Alabama practice, Mrs. Rosemore joined her husband in looking for ways to share their success with others. Her personal commitment to philanthropic giving stems from the desire she shared with her late husband in which they made decisions together about causes worth supporting.

In the 1980s, the Rosemores made one of the first endowed gifts to SCO during an era in which the college worked to demonstrate the importance of supporting optometric education. Through the Rosemore Family Foundation, Mrs. Rosemore has supported not only SCO, but a number of optometric institutions and organizations with scholarship, research funding, and capital improvements.

In addition to SCO, Mrs. Rosemore and her family have supported the Optometric Extension Program, Optometry Cares – the Foundation of the American Optometric Association, the American Academy of Optometry, the New England College of Optometry, the University of Houston School of Optometry, Indiana University School of Optometry, and the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Optometry.

As family matriarch, Mrs. Rosemore has set the standard for supporting optometric education. Her philanthropic support additionally includes more than 25 organizations that promote programs and services to improve resources that support children and families within her community.

at Thursday, April 20, 2017 | 0 comments

Southern College Optometry to renovate dining and study spaces

MEMPHIS, Tenn., April 17, 2017 – Southern College of Optometry today announced the upcoming renovation and expansion of the fourth floor of its 11-story tower in the Memphis Medical District.

The significant renovation calls for modern upgrades to the space, originally built in the 1970s, which currently houses the school’s diner, student lockers and study areas.

“This project is part of Southern College of Optometry’s long-term commitment to its students and to the local medical district as a whole,” said Dr. Lewis Reich, president of SCO. “SCO is strongly invested in the Memphis Medical District Collaborative and its efforts to improve the area. These renovations will help facilitate community development and create a top-tier learning environment for our students.”

The specific renovation plans include the considerable task of closing in balcony spaces to add 1,000 square feet of usable floor space. The changes, in addition to more efficiently using the space, will improve line flow at peak times. Additionally, the Blink Diner will be upgraded with an expanded kitchen. Its existing furniture will be replaced with new furnishings that can serve both dining and studying functions. Student lockers will be moved to the sixth floor. Lastly, the existing floor plan will be reconfigured to fill the space with more natural light.

“This project will provide students a centralized area to eat, study and meet,” Reich said. “By improving amenities and maximizing the building’s use of natural light, this floor will offer students a relaxing place to recharge between classes and labs.”

During the renovation, the Blink Diner will temporarily relocate to the sixth floor and offer a reduced menu available only for pick-up from May 4 through Sept. 29. Additionally, the second floor lobby, the third floor breezeway and the breezeway between the tower and The Eye Center will be completely closed off, with access to some classrooms and the third floor available from the south side of the building. Finally, one of the tower’s four elevators will be dedicated to construction use.

This architect behind the renovation and expansion design is Formus, Inc. Grinder Taber Grinder will lead construction, which is scheduled to begin in April 2017 and is set to be completed in fall 2017. 

at Monday, April 17, 2017 | 0 comments

New Gold Key Members Announced

SCO’s chapter of the Gold Key Society has announced its member selection from the Class of 2018, based on leadership and service demonstrated to the community, SCO, and optometry. Gold Key International is an honor society whose membership is restricted to ten percent of the fourth-year class. Congratulations to these newest life-time Gold Key members: 

Executive Officers

President: Elizabeth Perch
Vice President: Linh Van
Secretary: Haley Kincannon
Treasurer: Laura Brown


Sneha Bagavandoss
Julia Ham
Brehana Hawkins
AJ Hickman
Lauren Plewes
Shelby Rogers
Chelci Schade
Rachel Sossaman
Jessica Ward

at Monday, February 20, 2017 | 0 comments

A Message from SCO's President regarding executive order on immigration

Last Friday’s executive order suspending immigration from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen raised legitimate concerns for many members of the higher education community across the nation. SCO is working to identify and assist any of our students impacted by the travel ban by providing information and guidance to appropriate service agencies and other organizations. We are supportive of all our students no matter their country of origin.

As president, I share these concerns of students or employees impacted by this action. Like many colleges across the nation, members of the SCO family are impacted by these measures. We are coordinating with the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry as the ASCO schools collectively co-sign two letters to the President describing the challenges and hardships this ban creates for academic institutions, their students, and families.

One letter is from the Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions and the other one is through the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Additionally, the American Council of Education has also organized a joint letter of 46 different organizations sent to the President.

SCO advises nationals and their families born in the affected countries to avoid international travel until additional clarification is made about the situation. This includes citizens, nationals, passport holders, and dual nationals from the impacted countries.

In recent years, American optometry has made great advances in sharing our knowledge and expertise with healthcare professionals around the world. Together, the colleges and schools of optometry are populated by students, faculty, and staff from a wide range of backgrounds, similar to the vast array of the general public served as our patients.

SCO is committed to working with colleagues throughout the academic and healthcare communities to raise these concerns to policymakers. The college invites impacted students or employees to reach out to the administration for guidance or assistance with questions about immigration or travel-related issues.

As an institution committed to educating students without respect to their nationality or country of origin, and as healthcare provider to patients from all backgrounds, I want to stress that accessibility is one of the values that SCO will continue to advance and that SCO is open to all, no matter of your country of origin, the color of your religious beliefs, skin color, political leaning, gender, or sexual orientation. SCO appreciates the contributions of all who make up the SCO family.

Lewis Reich, O.D., Ph.D.
Southern College of Optometry

at Thursday, February 2, 2017 | 1 comments

SCO Board Appointments Announced

Southern College of Optometry recently welcomed two new members to the college’s Board of Trustees. Joining the board are former American Optometric Association President David Cockrell, OD ’81, and former SECO International President Stuart Thomas, OD ’84. Additionally, Board member Cristie Upshaw Travis was named Board Chair for a one-year term.

SCO Board Appointments Announced

About David A. Cockrell, OD ’81

Dr. David Cockrell completed his Bachelor’s degree in Zoology at Oklahoma State University and his Doctor of Optometry degree from SCO in 1981. He and his wife, Cherry Cockrell, OD ’81, opened their practice in Stillwater, Oklahoma, which became known as Cockrell Eyecare Center.

In addition to serving as AOA President, Dr. Cockrell is a Diplomate and Past Chairman of the American Board of Optometry. Since 1996, he has served as a member of the Oklahoma State Board of Examiners in Optometry and in all of the organization’s officer positions, including president. He is also a past president of the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians and the Southwest Council of Optometry.

A Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, he is a member of the American Public Health Association’s Vision Section.

A founding board member of Optometry Cares, he has received a number of awards at the local, regional, and national levels, including Heart of America’s OD of the Year award and an honorary degree from SCO.

About Stuart J. Thomas, OD ’84

Owner of Thomas Eye Center in Athens, Georgia, Dr. Thomas is a past chairman of the VSP Global Board of Directors. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Georgia in 1979. He went on to earn his Doctor of Optometry degree from the SCO in 1984, the same year he opened Thomas Eye Center.

He is a long-standing member of the AOA and the Georgia Optometric Association, serving in various leadership positions, including president. Dr. Thomas has also served as President of SECO, International, an organization that provides continuing education for optometrists and their staff.

One of the key initiatives Dr. Thomas has championed as chair of VSP is the inclusion of standalone vision plans such as VSP Vision Care in state health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.  His wife, Sharon Thomas, OD ’83, is a research optometrist.

About Cristie Upshaw Travis, SCO Board Chair

Cristie Upshaw Travis has been Chief Executive Officer of the Memphis Business Group on Health since 1994. She earned her Master of Science degree in Health Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

She launched her career serving in health administrative and planning positions in Tupelo, Miss., and Tuscaloosa, Ala. She progressed to consulting with continuing care retirement communities, hospitals, and physicians with Ernst & Whinney in Memphis, Atlanta, Georgia, and Washington, D.C. She continued her rise in the health care arena as Vice President for a Washington, D.C.-based health care consulting firm.

Travis has served on several national boards and commissions. She is the past Chair of the Board of Governors for the National Business Coalition on Health. She served for two years as Chair of the Board of Directors for The Leapfrog Group. She joined the Consensus Standards Approval Committee for the National Quality Forum in 2012 and also serves on its Measures Application Partnership Hospital Workgroup. She serves on the NCQA Purchaser Advisory Committee, the National Commission on Prevention Priorities, and the National Transitions of Care Coalition.

She is former Chair of the Healthy Memphis Common Table; President of the Community Advisory Board for the University of Memphis Graduate Program in Health Administration; a member of the Deans Advisory Council for the University of Memphis School of Public Health; former President of the Board of Volunteer Midsouth; former Vice Chair of Lifeblood; former member of the National Technical Advisory Panel for the Midsouth eHealth Alliance, and a former officer of the Greater Memphis Employee Benefits Council. She also served as a subcommittee Chair on Shelby County Mayor A.C. Wharton's Blue Ribbon Panel on the Regional Medical Center at Memphis.

She represents Memphis and employers on several State of Tennessee committees including the Tennessee Health Information Committee, Health Information Partnership-Tennessee, and the State Health Plan Advisory Committee.

at Wednesday, February 1, 2017 | 0 comments