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SCO's Beta Sigma Kappa Optometric Honor Society has formally welcomed 60 new members. Yesterday evening, BSK’s officers held an induction ceremony and administered the organization’s oath.
Congratulations to the following new members:
After being delayed for a year and a half because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Class of 2020 celebrated with a formal commencement ceremony during Fall Homecoming and CE Weekend. Held on Saturday, October 2 at the Peabody Hotel, the ceremony saw nearly 100 graduates return in cap and gown for their deferred ceremony.
Dr. Lewis Reich, SCO President, noted in his address to the class that 25 percent of graduates had completed a residency, while 20 members of the class had married. In fact, several members of the class were in absentia as they attended the wedding of Haylee Taylor, OD ’20, on the same day.
Since receiving their diplomas by mail in May 2020, the class had welcomed four babies, with three on the way as of this year’s ceremony.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, who had been scheduled to speak to the class at its original ceremony, delivered short remarks by video. Class Vice President Cassandra Croy, OD ’20, and Class Secretary Hayley Vasilko, OD ’20, delivered class comments in which they celebrated the class’s historic distinction as the only optometry students to have graduated officially in the year 2020, a date with optometric significance.
In lieu of honorary degrees traditionally presented during commencement, alumni awards were bestowed on two outstanding individuals. Jon Reid, OD ’12, received the Young Alumni Award, while the late Jeff Foster, OD ’81, posthumously was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest honor awarded by the college.
Torrie Garner, OD ’20, was recognized as Class Salutatorian, followed by Callie Mashburn, OD ’20, being recognized as Class Valedictorian. A reception honoring the class followed the ceremony.
The ceremony was livestreamed and recorded:
Photo Gallery: click here for full gallery
For the 25th consecutive year, Southern College of Optometry’s student loan cohort default rates remains at zero percent. This is according to the U.S. Department of Education’s newly released numbers for FY2018.
The FY2018 student loan cohort default rates reveal that SCO graduates are successfully transitioning to optometric practice.
“This is great news,” said Cindy Garner, Director of Financial Aid. “Our graduates continue to have much success practicing optometry and doing what they least want to do, which is to repay their student loans.”
A cohort default rate represents the percentage of a college or university’s borrowers who have defaulted on their student loans.
“The cohort default rate is an important measure of a school’s overall quality. It reflects our success in preparing our students to practice optometry,” said Garner. “This is a great accomplishment and it reflects admirably on each member of the SCO family."
SCO’s Financial Aid Office actively works with students to provide them with strategies to manage their student indebtedness levels. From budgeting workshops to one-on-one sessions with a financial aid counselor, the college is committed to partnering with students to ensure their success in optometry. Student scholarships provided by SCO’s alumni and friends also play an important part in managing student debt levels.
Southern College of Optometry honored outstanding achievement by students, faculty, and staff at the college’s 35th annual Fall Awards Program on Wednesday, September 15. Award recipients were invited to receive their awards in person, with the program livestreamed and recorded for those who could not attend.
Because of the generosity of alumni, employees, ophthalmic partners, and other friends, the college presented students with more than $95,000 in scholarship and awards.
Inaugural awards included the Dr. Deborah Moy (’84) Theia VT/Low Vision Award and the Dr. Alicia Groce Scholarship in Neuro-Rehabilitation. Dr. Groce, who was recently diagnosed with ALS, was in attendance for the ceremony.
A program PDF is available here:
A video recording of the ceremony is available here:
2020-21 Faculty of the Year Awards
CLASS OF 2022
CLINICAL: Dr. David Hall
DIDACTIC: Dr. Stephen Wetick ’01
CLASS OF 2023
CLINICAL: Dr. Esla Speth ’10
DIDACTIC: Dr. Scott Ensor ’01
CLASS OF 2024
CLINICAL: Dr. Laurel Kelley ’18
DIDACTIC: Dr. John Mark Jackson ’99
BSK TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARDS
Voted on by the faculty, the Burnett Faculty Recognition Award was awarded to Dr. Lindsay Elkins, ’07, in recognition of her leadership to assist faculty, especially during the pandemic’s challenges.
STUDENT AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
Basic Science and Clinical Science
1ST YEAR CLINICAL SCIENCE AWARDS (Plaque)
1ST YEAR BASIC SCIENCE AWARDS (Plaque)
2ND YEAR CLINICAL SCIENCE AWARDS (Plaque)
2ND YEAR BASIC SCIENCE AWARDS (Plaque)
3RD YEAR CLINICAL SKILLS AWARDS (Plaque)
Military Services Scholarships
U.S. AIR FORCE: Tanner Harsin ’24
U.S. ARMY: Karli Boober ’23
U.S. NAVY: Joshua Aldridge ’25
CLASSES OF ’54, ’56, ’59 SCHOLARSHIP: Abigail Klick ’22
CLASSES OF ’60, ’61, ’63 SCHOLARSHIP: Andrew B. Murphy ’24
CLASSES OF ’64, ’65, ’66 SCHOLARSHIP: Nicole Wohlfort ’23
CLASSES OF ’68, ’69 SCHOLARSHIP: Haley Bolden ’22
CLASSES OF ’70, ’71, ’74 SCHOLARSHIP: Gabrielle Gafford ’22 and Jacqueline Malish ’23
CLASS OF 1977 SCHOLARSHIP: Gabrielle Magee ’22
CLASS OF 1978 SCHOLARSHIP: Suzanne Falkowski ’22
CLASS OF 1983 SCHOLARSHIP: Nithya Vemula ’24
CLASS OF 1984 SCHOLARSHIP: Tori Pierce ’24
CLASS OF 1986 SCHOLARSHIP: Andrew Sweeter ’24
CLASS OF 1997 JIMMY SHERIDAN MEMORIAL AWARD: Lauren Olmstead ’23
CLASS OF 1999 SCHOLARSHIP: Holly Pederson ’22
CLASS OF 2001 SCOTT WHITAKER MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP: Richard Milner ’24 and Rachel Swearingen ’23
CLASS OF 2002 SCHOLARSHIP: Madyson Locke ’23
SHAUNA WITT, OD ’01 MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP: Sarah Thrower ’23
Alumni and Friends
ALUMNI COUNCIL ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP: Erin Mozingo ’22
CHUCK AND CAROLE ALDRIDGE ENDOWED AWARD: Lindsay Thornton ’22
DR. ALLAN AND MRS. SUSAN BARKER ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP: Salman Bhatti ’22
DRS. BERGER & MOSCOW FAMILY ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP: Katelyn Fleischman ’23
CHARLES A. CALLAWAY ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP: Julie Pan ’22, Onyale Donloe ’22, Andrew Barrows ’22
DR. FREDDY WILFRED CHANG ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP: Stephania Carreno ’22
JERRY L. CLAY ENDOWED AWARD: Macy Sparks ’22
DR. STAN DICKERSON LEADERSHIP AWARD: Mia Taylor ’22
DRS. DAVID AND CHERRY COCKRELL SCHOLARSHIP: Anna Britt ’23
DR. JOHN A. GAZAWAY ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP: Kamden Badger ’22
DR. ALICIA A. GROCE SCHOLARSHIP IN NEURO-REHABILITATION: Logan Lineberry ’22 and Christopher Frampton ’23
DR. CHARLES L. HAINE HUMAN PHYSIOLOGY ENDOWED AWARD: Tori Pierce ’24
DR. RICHARD L. HOPPING ENDOWED ETHICS AWARD: Edgar Judd ’23
DR. LES MANNING ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP: Seth Jones ’23
WILLIAM D. MCAFEE, OD ’51 ENDOWED AWARD: Ashlee Hobson ’22
MAULDIN FAMILY MEMORIAL ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP: Nathan Keyes ’22
DR. DEBORAH MOY THEIA VT/LOW VISION AWARD: Allison Wirt ’22
NATIONAL BOARD OF EXAMINERS (PART 1): Nathan Declue ’22
WAYNE W. PYEATT ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP: Braden Sorensen ’22
DR. MOHAMMAD RAFIEETARY ACADEMIC AND CLINICAL EXCELLENCE AWARD: Molly McNally ’23
DR. LEWIS REICH SCHOLARSHIP: Rachel Steele ’22
PEGGY REMKE MEMORIAL ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP: Ethan Gerstein ’23
ROSEMORE FAMILY ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP: Patrick Schultz ’24, Joanne Nguyen ’23, Rachel Slater ’22, Lauren Dole ’24
DR. JACK SCHAEFFER SCHOLARSHIP: Kendra Raths ’23
W. DAVID SULLINS ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP FOR LEADERSHIP: Melisa Kalac ’23
KANSAS ALUMNI ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP: Tracie Thibault ’24
State and Professional Associations
AUXILIARY TO THE ARKANSAS OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION: Nathan Baggett ’23
KENTUCKY OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION SCHOLARSHIPS: Amy Cox ’23
MISSISSIPPI OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION, HONORING DR. WILLIAM E. COCHRAN: Charla Darby ’23
DR. WILLIAM H. TOWNSEND SCHOLARSHIP: Nathan Baggett ’23
OPTOMETRY’S CARES – THE AOA FOUNDATION BERNARD MAITENAZ SCHOLARSHIP: Ellilta Mezgebu ’22
OPTOMETRY’S CARES – THE AOA FOUNDATION DR. LARRY J. ALEXANDER SCHOLARSHIP: Aaliyah Cole ’22
Corporate Partners and Ophthalmic Industry
HEINE USA AWARD: Weronika Przepiora ’24
KEELER INSTRUMENTS, INC. AWARD: Mallory Gilmer ’24
OCULAR INSTRUMENTS AWARD: Jacob Allan ’23, Micah Bullock ’22, Lindsey Tillery ’23, Paige Willett ’24
REVIEW OF OPTOMETRY AND THE RICK BAY FOUNDATION FOR EXCELLENCE IN EYECARE EDUCATION AWARD: Phaedra Lipsey ’23
J. PAT CUMMINGS SCHOLARSHIP: Michelle Yan ’23
VISION SERVICE PLAN SCHOLARSHIPS: Alexandra Turner ’22 and Michael Wagner ’22
WELCH ALLYN CO. AWARD: Spencer Robertson ’24
Photos from 35th annual Fall Awards Program, held on Wednesday, September 15, have been uploaded to SCO's Flickr stream. See them all at: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmWPAkhf
In addition to setting a new record high for an average entering Optometry Admissions Test (OAT) score, the entering Class of 2025 broke several new records for scholarships.
Thanks to the generosity of SCO’s alumni, ophthalmic partners, and friends, a total of 83 students received a record 93 awards totaling nearly $750,000. When military and Indian Health Service scholarships are added to the total, these students were awarded more than $825,000.
When state contract seats are added to the mix, approximately 80% of SCO’s entering class received financial awards which help alleviate their student debt levels and graduate with more financial freedom to pursue practice excellence.
Congratulations to the following first-year students, with their undergraduate institutions noted, as first-year scholarship recipients:
Heather Adams, University of Maryland: Presidential Endowed Scholarship
Brianna Aheimer, Johns Hopkins University: Scholars Excellence Award
Josh Aldridge, Mississippi State University: Navy Armed Forces Scholarship
Hanna Badger, Washington State University: SCO Honors Endowed Scholarship and the Dr. Charlie Williams Memorial Endowed Scholarship
Elizabeth Beers, Ohio State University: VSP Endowed Scholarship
Austin Boice, University of Arkansas: Dr. William R. Jackson, Jr. Memorial Endowed Scholarship
Kaitlin Brannan, University of Mississippi: Dr. Wiley H. Mock Memorial Endowed Scholarship
JoAnndria Brown, University of Mississippi: Dr. Richard A. Goodson Memorial Endowed Scholarship
Calista Chastain, University of North Carolina: Board of Trustees Endowed Scholarship
Kendra Davidson, Lyon College: SCO Honors Endowed Scholarship
Kendyl Dewey, Texas A&M University: Dr. Spurgeon B. Eure Memorial Endowed Scholarship
Chris Distin, University of North Carolina: SCO Alumni Endowed Scholarship
Jessica Dye, University of Florida: Board of Trustees Endowed Scholarship and the Stern-Maronek Family Endowed Scholarship
Jeffna Elavumkal, Marquette University: SCO Alumni Endowed Scholarship and the Dr. Earl Lusk Memorial Endowed Scholarship
Natalie Fick, University of Florida: Presidential Endowed Scholarship
Tyler Fisher, Southern Adventist University: Edgar Family Scholarship
Heather Frank, Florida State University: Presidential Endowed Scholarship
McKenzie Friedman, University of Iowa: Board of Trustees Endowed Scholarship and the Elizabeth R. Bane Memorial Endowed Scholarship
Gaby Gibbon, Oregon State University: Presidential Endowed Scholarship
Meggan Gleneski, University of Central Florida: SCO Alumni Endowed Scholarship
Vince Goodman, Eastern New Mexico University: Indian Health Services Scholarship
Amanda Gorr, Michigan State University: SCO Honors Endowed Scholarship
Leah Grant, University of Louisiana-Lafayette: Dr. Mark W. Franks & Mary Franks Scholarship
Annie Gremillion, Louisiana State University: Dr. Mark W. Franks & Mary Franks Scholarship
Bryanna Hall, Ohio State University: Presidential Endowed Scholarship
Sharleen He, Virginia Tech: SCO Honors Endowed Scholarship
Michael Henderson, Drury University: SCO Honors Endowed Scholarship
Lea Heuer, Washington and Lee University: Presidential Endowed Scholarship
Savannah Hinzman, Charleston Southern University: SCO Honors Endowed Scholarship and the Oliver Family Endowed Scholarship
Jake Hirth, University of Texas-Dallas: Presidential Endowed Scholarship
Brandon Holliman, East Tennessee State University: Dr. Crosby Endowed Scholarship
Trevor Hollinsworth, University of Louisville: SCO Honors Endowed Scholarship
Nathan Hurst, University of Missouri: SCO Honors Endowed Scholarship and the SCO Alumni Endowed Scholarship
Leslie Ibarra, University of Virginia: Presidential Endowed Scholarship
Lauren Ivanoski, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse: Board of Trustees Endowed Scholarship
Travis Jensen, North Dakota State University: SCO Alumni Endowed Scholarship
Cayce Johns, Texas A&M University: Board of Trustees Endowed Scholarship
Jessica Jones, North Carolina State University: Faculty/Staff Endowed Scholarship
Kylie Kaylor, Aurora University: SCO Honors Endowed Scholarship
Rowan Kenee, Virginia Tech: SCO Alumni Endowed Scholarship
Tara Kinder, Ohio State University: Medivision-Omni Endowed Scholarship
Rachel Korver, Covenant College: SCO Honors Endowed Scholarship
Savannah (Sav) Krall, Grand Valley State University: SCO Honors Endowed Scholarship
Kammy Lin, University of California-Riverside: Board of Trustees Endowed Scholarship
Noah Linhart, Wichita State University: Presidential Endowed Scholarship
Ben Lowis, Illinois State University: Presidential Endowed Scholarship
Deema Mansour, University of Tennessee: Dr. John T. Leddy Endowed Scholarship
Hannah Marek, Ohio State University: Board of Trustees Endowed Scholarship
Sean McEntee, University of North Carolina: Medivision-Omni Endowed Scholarship and the Dr. Cheryl D. Johnson Memorial Endowed Scholarship
Alexis Mears, Towson University: SCO Honors Endowed Scholarship
Krish Muthiah, Rhodes College: Phillips Family Endowed Scholarship
Arya Newberry, Michigan State University: Board of Trustees Endowed Scholarship
Sai Oak, University of Michigan: SCO Honors Endowed Scholarship and SCO Alumni Endowed Scholarship
Amy Overland, Purdue University: Dr. J.J. Horton Memorial Endowed Scholarship
Grace Owens, The University of Alabama-Huntsville: Dr. William E. Cochran Endowed Scholarship
Dorcas Owusu, James Madison University: Presidential Endowed Scholarship and Virginia Endowed Scholarship
Rachel Peebles, University of Florida: Presidential Endowed Scholarship
Kate Petrinjak, Rhodes College: SCO Alumni Endowed Scholarship
Soham Phatak, University of North Carolina: Faculty/Staff Endowed Scholarship
Spencer Pritchard, Indiana University: Vistakon Endowed Scholarship
Amanda Raffa, Providence College: Presidential Endowed Scholarship
Edith Ramirez-Vazquez, University of South Carolina-Upstate : Dr. Crosby Endowed Scholarship
Katie Ricker, University of Arkansas: SCO Alumni Endowed Scholarship
Emily Riviere, Louisiana State University: Dr. Mark W. Franks & Mary Franks Scholarship
Raphael Sahayaraj, Ohio State University: SCO Alumni Endowed Scholarship
Andrea Salguero, University of New Mexico: Dr. Robert E. Federhan Memorial Endowed Scholarship
Joy Schnoebelen, Drake University: SCO Alumni Endowed Scholarship
Tanner Semones, Clemson University: SCO Alumni Endowed Scholarship
Logan Shettle, University of South Florida: Presidential Endowed Scholarship
Nicole Songy, Louisiana State University: Dr. Mark W. Franks & Mary Franks Scholarship
Sarah Soodeen, Florida Atlantic University: Dr. W.R. Cramer Memorial Endowed Scholarship
Meredith Steczkowski, Texas A&M University: Presidential Endowed Scholarship
Kristen Trainer, Mississippi College: Southern Council of Optometrists Endowed Scholarship
Calista Trenerry, MacEwan University: SCO Honors Endowed Scholarship
Nash Van Klompenburg, University of North Dakota: Presidential Endowed Scholarship
Claire Vinson, Smith College: SCO Alumni Endowed Scholarship
Siulley Vuong, Saint Louis University: Presidential Endowed Scholarship
Julie Wasack, Auburn University: SCO Alumni Endowed Scholarship
Sarah Weinburger, Bryan College: Alston & Bird Endowed Scholarship
Adam Werner, Saint Joseph's University: SCO Honors Endowed Scholarship
Mason Wilcox, Truman State University: Presidential Endowed Scholarship
Maria Witcher, Indiana University - Purdue University of Indianapolis: Presidential Endowed Scholarship
Connor Young, Arizona State University: Dr. M.E. Broome Memorial Endowed Scholarship and the Dr. Robert E. Federhan Memorial Endowed Schol