Growth and Development

The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry (UABSO) has launched a student exchange program with the University of South Wales School of Optometry and Vision Science (UNSW). Two UAB optometry students will have eight-week externships in the UNSW clinic, while four UNSW students will be hosted in four-week clinical rotations at UAB Eye Care, UABSO’s clinical arm.

This fall, the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry (UABSO) proudly celebrates its 50th anniversary, a tremendous milestone that cements the school’s legacy as one of the premier programs in the nation.

The Heersink Family Foundation has endowed four scholarships at the UAB School of Optometry. The Heersink Family Foundation Scholarship Endowment in Optometry is a gift of $100,000 which will support up to four recipients who plan to serve the Southeastern Alabama region after graduation.

The Worrell Building, a significant part of the UAB School of Optometry’s history, was demolished in February 2019 to make way for the modernization of the university campus. The building housed the Department of Vision Sciences, the Vision Science Graduate Program, and the Vision Science Research Center (VSRC) for the school from 1988 to 2013.

For years, there has been a room on the third floor of the Henry B. Peters Building that reminded Dean Kelly Nichols of “the lost luggage section at the airport.” Large rolling bags were scattered across the floor, creating an obstacle course that students had to traverse in order to retrieve their optometry equipment.

Third-floor renovations of the Henry Peters Building began in December.

Third-floor renovations are underway at the UAB School of Optometry’s Henry Peters Building.

The updates, which are part of an overall renovation to the building, began in December and aim to bring a greater focus to the School of Optometry student experience.

Front of UAB Eye Care building

The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry received accreditation for the next eight years by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education—the longest time period permitted by ACOE policies.

The School of Optometry was visited by the ACOE in April 2017 and received a final report in July 2017. The next on-site visit will occur in April 2025.

Sommer Thompson smiling

The UAB School of Optometry announced that its new senior director of development will be Sommer Thompson, a development professional with more than nine years of experience at UAB.

Thompson, who most recently served as director of development at UAB’s Collat School of Business, will join the School of Optometry on July 10.

Robert and Sandra Wilson standing and smiling.

Improved eyesight is invaluable, but the cost for some can be prohibitive. With this in mind, Robert G. and Sandra Nichols Wilson have made a legacy gift to establish The Robert G. and Sandra Nichols Wilson Endowed Support Fund in Optometry.

HPB Second floor floor plan

Construction is underway for the Henry B. Peters Building exterior renovation project.