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Volume 71, Issue 147, Thursday, June 29, 2006

News

Strickland gets national honors

Former interim provost awarded for work in optometry, 
both at home and internationally

by Resha Thomas
The Daily Cougar

After contributing years of service helping people with their vision and teaching students around the world, professor Jerald Strickland was honored with two awards for his outstanding service in the field of optometry.

Strickland was honored by The New England College of Optometry with a Doctor of Humane Letters and was given the Distinguished Service Award from the American Optometric Association. "I was humbled by being honored by my peers," Strickland said.

Besides receiving the doctoral degree, he was given the chance to speak to 90 students at NECO's graduation in Boston.

NECO is the oldest operating optometry school in the United States. Strickland was nominated by his peers and chosen by NECO to receive the Doctor of Humane Letters. The AOA is the national organization with which most optometrists are associated. It is equivalent to the American Journal Association, Strickland said.

"I was honored there for the things that I have done throughout my career. It's not something I did last year. That was incredible to have your peers honor you," Strickland said.

Strickland has traveled the world to establish optometry schools and improve eye care. But his greatest achievement has come from what he has been able to accomplish in the United States.

The Partnership Foundation for Optometric Education is an endowment program that was created by Strickland to fund the future of the optometry profession. The foundation charges students $1 for each credit hour of continuing professional education.

The money will be untouched until it reaches $25 million. The program has been implemented by various optometry associations and at 17 optometry schools.

"The idea was to have a small amount coming from a lot of people all of the time. That was what I was able to put on paper and start selling to each of these groups," Strickland said.

Strickland has served as interim senior vice chancellor/senior vice president for academic affairs and the interim provost. He is the director of UH reaffirmation of accreditation for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and works on the board of directors for the International Organization. 

"The idea of taking advantage of another culture gets the student away from the isolation society that we have been so happy with," Strickland said. 

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