Zachary McCarty awarding Douglas Clark a plaque for alumnus of the year

The UAB School of Optometry Alumni Association named Douglas Clark, O.D., its alumnus of the year at the annual Continuing Education and Alumni Weekend, held Aug. 18-20 on the UAB campus.

Clark, who graduated from the School of Optometry in 1982, was named the alumnus of the year based on his service to the School of Optometry, to the profession and to his community. Each year, the board members of the Alumni Association select a member as the alum of the year based on these criteria.

“It is always an honor to be recognized by your peers for doing something you enjoy,” Clark says. “I consider them my optometric family and enjoy staying connected with them.”

Clark is owner of three primary eye care practices in Alabama: Calera Family Eye Care, Clanton Eye Care and Pelham Eye Care.

He was president of SECO International, a globally-recognized association for optometry, in 2007. He also served as an international ambassador for SECO International.

He was president of the Alabama Optometric Association, the Birmingham Optometric Society, and he serves on the Southern College of Optometry Board of Trustees. Clark is a member of the American Optometric Association and the Alabama Optometric Association -- the latter of which named him the Alabama Optometrist of the Year in 2000.

Zachary McCarty, O.D., immediate past-president of the Alumni Association, says Clark has been a strong advocate for the profession of optometry and a distinguished graduate of the School of Optometry.

“He has sought tirelessly to advance the profession at both the state and national level,” he says. “He has always sought to ensure that the UAB School of Optometry provides the best education to the students, who are at the forefront of the profession.”

Clark has provided clinical education experiences for fourth-year students at the School of Optometry by allowing his practices to serve as externship sites. He was a part time clinical instructor for the School of Optometry, and he served as a lecturer for many years. He has also served on the Alumni Association Board.

“Everything Doug has done in his career has been done with a consideration for giving back to the School of Optometry and to the profession,” says Virginia Rogers, alumni relations specialist at the School of Optometry.

Clark and his wife Connie Clark established Douglas & Connie Clark Endowed Optometry Leadership Scholarship in 2008. The scholarship is awarded to a student who has demonstrated leadership within the School of Optometry and on a regional or national level.

“Whenever I have asked for help or guidance (from the UAB School of Optometry) over the last 35 years, it was received,” he says. “Hopefully, I have been able to return the favor. Practicing so close by, I have enjoyed seeing and hearing about all the exciting changes that are happening on campus. Participating in the externship program has been the most rewarding. It keeps you feeling young watching these bright future optometrists hone their skills.”