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by Caleb Jones

The UAB School of Optometry Alumni Association named Rob Pate, OD, class of 2007, 2021 Alumnus of the Year.

“UABSO has produced and is home to a myriad of exceptional graduates that are doing and have done some incredible things,” Pate said. “To be recognized alongside them is a tremendous blessing.”

Pate has held numerous positions in professional optometry organizations, including Alabama Optometric Association (ALOA) president, Southern Council of Optometrists International (SECO) trustee, and zone president. He served as the chair of the American Optometric Association (AOA) Special Olympics Opening Eyes Program and speaker for the InfantSEE® Program. In the past, he has also been selected as the Young OD of the Year for the AOA, ALOA and SECO. He is currently in private practice in Auburn, AL. 

“UABSO prepared me well for what was to come in private practice,” Pate said. “I’ve never had a day in practice I didn’t feel proficient and adequately trained to care thoroughly for the patients in my community. The foundation that was laid at UABSO by some remarkable faculty, my classmates that helped to keep difficult days in perspective with humor and fellowship, and the opportunities afforded in some terrific clinical settings made UABSO special.”

Pate said he believes that the future of optometry in Alabama is bright.

Rob pate and family“The young doctors and students in this state are determined to make it so by standing on the shoulders of the many ODs that have fought for the scope of practice we currently have,” he said. “We will pass additional scope expansion in Alabama. We will continue to have a high level of students decide to stay in our state and practice to the full scope of their UABSO education. We will continue to serve in big cities, rural outposts, and everywhere in between; caring for and loving our neighbors.”

The father of five added that he and his family are grateful that he has a job he can enjoy, all while being fully present in their lives.