History

UAB School of Optometry - Over 40 Years of Excellence

The UAB School of Optometry was established due to the leadership of numerous outstanding Alabama optometrists. After just more than forty years, the UAB School of Optometry is considered by many experts to be the best in the country.

  • Dr. Henry B. Peters was appointed the first Dean and the UAB School of Optometry was "officially" started on September 1, 1969
  • In 1969 the School became the first optometric program designed specifically to be part of a university-based academic health sciences complex
  • The charter class matriculated on September 27, 1969
  • The school’s first O.D. degrees were awarded to seven students at their graduation on June 4, 1973
  • The Vision Science Graduate Program ( formerly Physiological Optics Graduate Program) was approved in 1975
  • The School was the first to establish optometric residency programs within a school of optometry in 1978
  • The Vision Science Research Center (VSRC) was established in 1979 as the first located in a school or college of optometry
  • Dr. Bradford W. Wild was appointed as the second Dean of the UAB School of Optometry in 1986
  • A faculty member, Dr. Larry DeLucas was the first and only optometrist astronaut in 1992, and was recognized on January 10, 1999 by The London Times as one of twenty scientists in the world who will revolutionize our lives in the 21st century
  • Dr. Arol Augsburger was appointed the third Dean of the UAB School of Optometry in 1994
  • Dr. John F. Amos was appointed interim Dean of the UAB School of Optometry in 2000 and permanent Dean in 2003
  • The VSRC at UAB is now in its 30th year of consecutive funding from the National Eye Institute
  • The School receives more outside research funding ($18 million) than any other school in the country
  • The UAB faculty has authored more textbooks (28) than any other school or college of optometry faculty. These textbooks are used for teaching purposes in all optometry schools and colleges
  • The faculty leads the country in the number of periodicals and papers published by a school or college of optometry faculty
  • UAB has the only doctoral level program in optometry that has had three former American Optometric Association National Optometrists of the Year awardees on the faculty
  • The School is one of the leaders nationally in the percentage of students who pass the national board exams.
  • UABSO completed a $6,000,000 renovation of the clinical teaching facility in 2004
  • The School was named the best for 2006 by the NOA (National Optometric Association) for having made significant strides to advance minority student recruitment, enrollment and retention
  • UABSO had its’ first graduate elected president of the AOA in June of 2006 when C. Tommy Crooks, III, O.D. was installed at the annual meeting 
  • The School graduated its’ 1,233rd Doctor of Optometry in May of 2009
  • Dr. Rodney W. Nowakowski was appointed interim Dean of the UAB School of Optometry in 2010 and permanent Dean in 2011
  • Dr. Kelly K. Nichols was appointed the 6th Dean of the UAB School of Optometry on June 1st, 2014