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Southern College of Optometry has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the Assisi Foundation to support the college’s "Envision Our Progress" campaign and the $9.4 million academic building project that was announced in March 2012. The grant, which will be paid in a single lump sum before the end of the year, is the second major gift to the school’s campaign in as many months.
"The Assisi Foundation’s confidence in our vision to lead the profession of optometry by enhancing our academic facilities is a statement to SCO and our hard work and continuing success," said Dr. Richard W. Phillips, president of SCO. "This second major gift reinforces what we already know - for 80 years, optometry students have come to Memphis for a top quality education. The Assisi Foundation’s support will strengthen our ability to continue to recruit top students and encourage interdisciplinary work between Memphis’ health care professions."
The grant, which comes on the heels of a $300,000 grant from the Plough Foundation in September, will support SCO’s academic expansion efforts. Announced in March, the expansion plans include a 23,016-square-foot classroom and instructional facility under construction on the school’s former patio space. The college made plans to expand after outgrowing its current 11-story tower. The new facility, made possible in part by support from the Assisi Foundation, is expected to open in August 2013 and will allow SCO to expand its technology and instructional capabilities.
"SCO is such an asset to the Memphis health care and higher education communities," said Dr. Jan Young, executive director of the Assisi Foundation. "The Assisi board is happy to pledge their support to expanding SCO’s already impressive reach to improve optometric education."
In conjunction with the March announcement of the expansion, SCO launched a five-year $4 million capital campaign to finance the project. An advance phase has raised over $2.25 million, and grants from the Plough and Assisi Foundations have provided the school with an additional $550,000 in funding. SCO’s board of trustees will finance the remainder of the project through investments and cost-savings measures over the five-year period.
About the Assisi Foundation: The Assisi Foundation of Memphis, Inc. serves nonprofit organizations that work to improve Memphis and the Mid-South. Through the foundation’s partnerships, it addresses pressing challenges while searching for root causes with the goal of creating community-wide transformation. The Assisi Foundation’s focus areas include health and human services; education and literacy; social justice and ethics; and cultural enrichment and the arts. For more information, visit www.assisifoundation.org.
About Southern College of Optometry: Southern College of Optometry was established in Memphis, Tenn., in 1932. SCO is an independent, not-for-profit institution of higher education with more than 500 students and residents from 40 states. The college’s clinical programs serve nearly 80,000 patients annually, helping make SCO one of the top colleges in the nation for clinical optometric education. SCO’s Community Outreach Program reaches more than 12,000 children through vision screenings provided annually to Shelby County students in public, private and charter schools. For more information on SCO, please visit www.sco.edu.