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Southern College of Optometry will present honorary degrees to two distinguished alumni at this year's commencement ceremony on Friday, May 6 in Memphis.
U.S. Senator John Boozman, a 1977 SCO graduate, and SCO President Emeritus William E. Cochran, a 1968 graduate, will be recognized.
Senator Boozman will deliver the commencement address to the Class of 2016 as they graduate. In addition to speaking, Senator Boozman will also be formally presented with SCO’s honorary Doctor of Ocular Science degree.
In 2014, Senator Boozman was scheduled to receive the degree and speak at commencement but illness prevented his participation. The only optometrist serving in the U.S. Senate, Senator Boozman is running for a second term this year.
He previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives following decades of practice as an optometrist in Arkansas. He received SCO’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.
Receiving SCO’s honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree is Dr. Cochran, who served as SCO President from 1984 until his retirement in 2007. Under his leadership, SCO constructed The Eye Center and increased the college's reserve fund from $2.8 million to $37 million.
Following his retirement, Dr. Cochran has served on a number of boards. He previously served as president of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, as president of the Memphis Association of Colleges and Universities, and on the National Board of Examiners in Optometry.
A Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, Dr. Cochran was inducted into the American Optometric Association's National Optometry Hall of Fame in 2012.
SCO's commencement ceremony will be held at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Memphis. Visit SCO's commencement page to learn more details about this year's ceremony and special events.