What a Wonderful World
Lee Dickerson Establishes School of Optometry Scholarship
|Rod Nowakowski and Lee Dickerson|
Businessman Lee Dickerson recently summed up his career by saying he has been privileged to “live in a beautiful world, where every minute detail is an intricate part of God’s master plan, and if a person is deprived of all the beauty around them, even if they have only one diopter of myopia, to some extent they are blind. It has been my honor and privilege to manufacture contact lenses that help doctors of optometry enable their patients to see all the beautiful things God has placed on earth.”
Dickerson’s passion for helping others to see “all the beautiful things” led him to establish an endowed scholarship in the School of Optometry at UAB through his former business, ABBA Optical. Dickerson’s contributions to the advancement of optometric education and the optometric profession and the provision of outstanding optometric care will be forever remembered through the Lee Dickerson Endowed Optometry Scholarship.
During his five-year naval career, Dickerson graduated from the Naval Ophthalmic Support and Training Activity in Williamsburg, Virginia, where his interest in the optical profession began. After graduation from the University of Florida, he began his ophthalmic career with Milton Roy, selling contact lenses, and later became the first salesman with Syntex Ophthalmics to introduce rigid gas permeable lenses in the United States. Dickerson quickly rose through the ranks, becoming manager of a large territory that spanned the majority of the United States, but he maintained close personal relationships with all of his clients, including the School of Optometry.
In 1986, Dickerson founded ABBA Optical with his wife, Marie, and the School of Optometry became one of his first customers. Under Dickerson’s direction, ABBA Optical grew into a highly successful business, creating several proprietary lens designs that were popular with optometrists and users. In early 2009, Dickerson sold ABBA Optical.
“We are fortunate to have friends like Lee and Marie Dickerson,” says Rod Nowakowski, O.D., interim dean of the School of Optometry. “Their passion for our educational mission, and especially for our students, is reflected in their generous gift of an endowed scholarship that will perpetually assist future optometrists-in-training in achieving their educational dreams.”
Maintaining the Momentum / Winter 2011