Seeing Is Believing
Worrells Support School of Optometry
The legacy of exemplary philanthropic service left by the late Paul Worrell, a successful Birmingham-based optometrist, and his wife, Sylvia, will be magnified by two new scholarships in the School of Optometry at UAB. The establishment of the Dr. Paul S. Worrell Optometry Scholarship Endowment and the Sylvia D. Worrell Optometry Vision Science Scholarship Endowment allows their charitable spirit to live on. The endowments are made possible by a significant gift from the namesake benefactors—stemming from the creation of a series of endowments from funds made possible by the charitable remainder trust that Dr. Worrell established through his estate.
Dr. Worrell first practiced optometry in Missouri and later opened a branch office in Topeka, Kansas, where he met Sylvia, whom he married in 1928. That same year, the Worrells moved to Texas, where Dr. Worrell practiced alongside his wife, who became his lifelong assistant, before moving with her to Birmingham in 1929. In Birmingham, Dr. Worrell practiced in space leased from Parisian department store until 1953, at which point he moved his practice to a private office downtown. For the next two decades, he served the community faithfully until his death in 1973.
Through the charitable remainder trust, the Worrells have aided the university in the purchase of a former office building on 18th Street that is now called the Paul S. Worrell Building,home to the UAB School of Optometry’s Vision Science department and UAB’s Vision Science Research Center. For years following her husband’s death, Mrs. Worrell gave generously to the School of Optometry to support renovation and beautification of the building and to support other initiatives of the school, and she remained a faithful supporter until her death in 2008.
For her outstanding commitment to the optometric profession, Mrs. Worrell received the Southern Council of Optometrists Award of Merit in 1997. In addition to her support of the School of Optometry, she was active in the Birmingham community for many years, serving as a volunteer at the Veterans Administration Medical Center Library, where her more than 15,000 hours of volunteer service were recognized with an Exceptional Honor Award.
“It was my pleasure to know Mrs. Worrell >personally,” says Rod Nowakowski, O.D., Ph.D., dean of the School of Optometry. “She was an energetic and vibrant person and a great supporter of our school in many ways in addition to her philanthropy. The legacy of the Worrells will live on through their exceptional generosity to our program as evidenced in these new scholarships.”
Maintaining the Momentum / Summer 2011