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Southern College of Optometry honored the academic and professional achievements of students, alumni and faculty at its 29th annual all school Convocation ceremony held on Friday, October 11 at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis. First-year students received their white coats, signed SCO's honor code and took the Optometric Oath as they were formally welcomed into the profession.
Scholarships and other awards were presented in recognition of academic excellence, leadership and and service. Many of SCO's scholarships were made possible by the generous support of SCO's Annual Campaign and Endowed Scholarship funds. Among those recognized at Convocation:
Military Service Scholarships
The following Endowed Class Scholarships recognize outstanding leadership and professionalism by members of the Classes of 2015, 2016, and 2017.
Alumni and Friends Scholarships
SCO alumni and friends generously support and recognize academic accomplishments and leadership within the student body. As such, the following endowed scholarships and awards have been established in support of SCO students.
State and Professional Associations
Corporate Partners and Ophthalmic Industry
Basic Science and Clinical Science Awards
Faculty of the Year (2013-2014)
BSK Teacher of the Year Awards
Class of 2017
Class of 2016
Class of 2015
Burnett Faculty Recognition Award
Established by Charlene Burnett, OD ’83 and Fred Burnett, OD ’80, in recognition of an outstanding faculty member as selected by his or her peers:
Board of Trustees Resolution:
SCO Lifetime Achievement Award
Joe Ellis, OD ’86, was 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 EyeCare 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 2014Optometrist 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.
Young Alumni Award
Lindsay Elkins, OD ’07, is 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.
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.
Class of 2018 members who received their white coats:
Photos from the ceremony will be made available shortly through SCO's Flickr photo galleries. A DVD of the ceremony may be ordered directly from Mississippi Boulevard Church by calling (901) 722-6222.