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Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Joyce L. Urbeck have been selected as recipients of honorary degrees at SCO's commencement ceremony on May 4, 2021. Mayor Strickland is currently in his second term of office and will also deliver the commencement address. Ms. Urbeck devoted 46 years to the profession of optometry before her retirement last summer.
Jim Strickland was sworn in as mayor of Memphis for a second term on January 1, 2020. Mayor Strickland is a 1982 graduate of Christian Brothers High School, a 1986 graduate of the University of Memphis, and a 1989 graduate of the School of Law at the U of M. He practiced law at Glankler Brown PLLC from 1990 to 1998, when he began practicing at Kustoff & Strickland PLLC, where he remained until becoming mayor. Mayor Strickland was elected to the Memphis City Council in 2007, and served as its chairman in 2014. In eight years representing District 5, then-councilman Strickland became known for fighting for government transparency and public safety. Community service has long been a part of Mayor Strickland’s life. He has served with various organizations, such as the St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen, where he continues to volunteer. He is a gold life member of the NAACP.
Joyce L. Urbeck devoted her 46-year career to the profession of optometry. A 1974 graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, she began her association with optometry in 1974 as Placement Service Coordinator and Quarterly Editor for the American Optometric Association. In 1978, she was named Associate Director of the AOA’s Education and Manpower Division, where she directed the AOA’s Student Recruitment program to improve the quality of optometry school applicants. She was later named Manager of the AOA’s Low Vision Section. In 1986, Ms. Urbeck was named Director of the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education, a critically important role for assuring an effective accreditation process in optometric education. After nearly 35 years of leading the ACOE, she retired in August 2020.