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Optometry Hall of Fame announces 2012 inductees

May 29, 2012

Dr. Alexander

The National Optometry Hall of Fame, administered by Optometry Cares® —The AOA Foundation, will induct five new members into the elite group of optometrists during a ceremony at Optometry’s Meeting® on Thursday, June 28 at 7 p.m.

This year’s inductees include Kevin Alexander, O.D., Ph.D., James A. Boucher, O.D., William “Billy” Cochran, O.D., Frank Fontana, O.D., and Thomas L. Lewis, O.D., Ph.D.

Kevin Alexander, O.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Alexander is a 1976 graduate from The Ohio State University College of Optometry. After receiving his graduate degrees, he taught at his alma mater for seven years.

In 1987, Dr. Alexander became the center director for The Eye Center of Toledo. While there, he created an optometric co-management network. In 2000, he left clinical optometric care to become dean of the Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University. His leadership there led to full accreditation of the doctor of optometry program, an increase in the number of residency programs and the beginning of a capital campaign.

Dr. Alexander became president of the Southern California College of Optometry in 2008 where he established a graduate degree program leading to an MS degree.

Dr. Alexander has also spent countless hours volunteering for optometric organizations. For six years he served as a regional consultant for the Council on Clinical Optometric Care. He served on the AOA Board of Trustees for 10 years and was president in 2007-2008. Dr. Alexander has also been a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) since 2000. He is the 2011-2012 ASCO president.

James A. Boucher, O.D.

Dr. Boucher

Dr. Boucher is a 1961 graduate of the Southern College of Optometry (SCO). After graduation, he served in the United States Air Force until 1964. Since 1966, he has been in practice at the Snowy Range Vision Center in Laramie, Wyo.

Dr. Boucher has held leadership positions with several optometric organizations. He was on the AOA Board of Trustees (1979-1982), chair of the Education and Manpower Division, Executive Committee (1973-1974), chair of the Contact Lens Section (1986-1987), and chair of the Commission on Ophthalmic Standards (1977-1979). Dr. Boucher served as Wyoming Optometric Association president from 1976-1978.

Dr. Boucher has taught at numerous institutions, including: Illinois College of Optometry; University of Houston College of Optometry; and Pacific University College of Optometry.

Dr. Boucher has received many honors, among them are Lifetime Achievement Award (SCO) in 1999, The Harvey W. Wiley Medal/ Food and Drug Administration Commissioner’s special citation in 1995, and the AOA Optometrist of the Year in 1978.

William “Billy” Cochran, O.D.

Dr. Cochran

Dr. Cochran, a third-generation optometrist, graduated from SCO in 1968. He then served as a captain in the U.S. Army’s Medical Service Corps.

After completing his military service, Dr. Cochran spent 13 years in a private-practice, primary care optometry partnership in Mississippi.

In 1984, Dr. Cochran was named president of SCO, and he began to make changes to move the college beyond its regional image and into the national arena of optometric education.

Under Dr. Cochran’s leadership, SCO began working to fund scholarships and to improve academic standards. He implemented a student recruitment program that saw student enrollment grow from 90 to 120 entering students per year.

By his second decade as SCO president, Dr. Cochran had improved and stabilized the college’s finances. This strengthened the college’s ability to meet the educational, clinical and technological needs of the students.

By the late 1990s, the college had outgrown its clinical facilities. SCO launched capital campaign to construct The Eye Center at SCO, a freestanding clinic designed as a long-term teaching and patient care facility. The Eye Center at SCO opened in 2002 as the largest facility of its kind in the United States.

Within the AOA, Dr. Cochran served on the Task Force on Negotiations in 1974. He also served on the Nominations Committee and in the House of Delegates. He spent four years on the AOA’s Leadership Development Committee and five years as AOA Keyperson.

Dr. Cochran was active in the Mississippi Optometric Association (MOA). He served as the MOA’s Legislative Committee chairman from 1972-1974. He spent three years on the MOA’s board before becoming president in 1978.

Dr. Cochran was also on the board of ASCO. He spent nine years on ASCO’s Executive Committee and served as president in 1991. Additionally, Dr. Cochran served on the Board of Directors of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO).

Frank Fontana, O.D.

Dr. Fontana

Dr. Fontana is a 1949 graduate of the Illinois College of Optometry. He specializes in contact lenses. Throughout his career, he has been involved with clinical investigations, consulting, writing and lecturing.

Dr. Fontana has shared his knowledge by authoring more than 60 articles and through his many speaking engagements. He has been a contributing editor for the Contact Lens Forum. Since 1999, Dr. Fontana has been a consulting editor for Review of Optometry.

Dr. Fontana served as chair of the AOA’s Contact Lens Committee from 1979-1981, was co-founder of the AOA’s Contact Lens Section in 1981 and a member of the Communications Committee from 1985-1986. Dr. Fontana was also the chair of the Third Party Committee for the Missouri Optometric Association and an optometric examiner for the Federal Trade Commission.

Dr. Fontana has been an adjunct assistant professor and a member of the research panel of the Center for Corneal and Contact Lens Research at the University of Missouri at St. Louis College of Optometry.

Dr. Fontana continues to give back to optometry. In 2011, he established the “Dr. Frank & Mrs. Dorris Fontana Optometry” endowment scholarship at the University of Missouri at St. Louis.

Thomas L. Lewis, O.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Lewis

Dr. Lewis is a 1970 graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO). He had various administrative and teaching positions at the college including dean of Academic Affairs.

In 1989, Dr. Lewis was named president of PCO. Under his leadership, the college grew to university status, including three different professional degree programs.

Dr. Lewis has served in leadership positions in nearly every national optometric organization. He served as president of the American Academy of Optometry, Partnership Foundation for Optometric Education, National Board of Examiners in Optometry and ASCO.

Dr. Lewis’ achievements have impacted both the profession of optometry and patients around the world. In Europe, he has developed postgraduate programs in optometry and vision science.

He championed board certification for optometry, served on the Joint Board Certification Project Team and formulated the model that was implemented to bring board certification to the profession.

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