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By Caleb Jones

Drs. John and Catherine Amos, former UAB School of Optometry (UABSO) Dean and alumna, respectively, have established the Dr. John F. Amos Endowed Faculty Scholar in Optometry. This is the first named faculty endowment in the School’s 52-year history.

The gift will be used to enhance the existing John F. Amos Endowed Support Fund for the purpose of creating an endowed faculty scholar fund. There is an option to grow the fund to an endowed professorship or an endowed chair to support the research, scholarly, and/or clinical efforts of a distinguished faculty member in the School of Optometry.

“We feel it is important to support optometric education through endowed gifts of any type deemed appropriate by those giving the gift,” John said. “We have endeavored, in the past, to support endowed student scholarships and now welcome the opportunity to expand our giving through the establishment of a faculty endowment. We encourage others to consider supporting optometric education in the manner that best suits their passion and situation.”

The Amoses are highly regarded by colleagues for their outstanding commitment to the optometric profession and the UAB School of Optometry. Each has been influential in the lives of countless patients who have benefited from their care, and the couple has served as exemplary role models for the students, residents, and alumni of the school. Their generosity contributes to the advancement of optometric education, commemorating their remarkable careers and dedication to UAB.

"John and Cathie are longtime members of the UABSO family,” said Dean Kelly Nichols. “Because of their generosity and other benefactors like them, the School is able to recruit the best and brightest students and faculty. I am grateful for their steadfast commitment to the advancement of optometric education.”

John joined the UABSO faculty in 1972, where he went on to publish two major textbooks and papers in every major optometric journal, as well as present hundreds of continuing education courses across the country. Dr. Amos was appointed as the first director of the UABSO residency programs in 1978. He served six years as the chair of the department of optometry and director of the professional program for UABSO. He was named interim dean in 2000 and dean in 2003, a position he held until 2010, shortly before he retired. In 2015, John was honored as an emeritus professor and dean by The Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama.

Cathie has made her mark on history at UABSO and in the optometric profession. She became the first female to graduate from the School in 1974. In 1981, she became the first female president of the Alabama Optometric Association (ALOA). Cathie also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the UABSO Alumni Association and served as its first female president from 1985 to 1986. She currently serves the UAB National Alumni Society board as its president-elect.

After the passing of their son, Clark F. Amos, five men who were friends and colleagues helped establish the Clark F. Amos Endowed Optometry Presidential Scholarship. Over 700 gifts in support of the scholarship came into the School. The scholarship is awarded to a fourth year optometry student who has an interest in pursuing post-graduate education and whose stated intent is to choose optometric education as a career or is doing a residency. The first scholarship was awarded in the spring of 2005.

The couple has been generous enough to provide multiple gifts to the School throughout the years. The Drs. John and Catherine Amos Endowed Scholarship was created in 2007 to provide financial assistance to deserving students in the UAB School of Optometry.

The Amoses’ most recent scholarship, the Dr. Catherine S. Amos Endowed Optometry Scholarship, was created in 2020 in honor of Cathie's remarkable career. The impact she has had on the field of optometry will forever be remembered through this generous gift and the students it will support.

“Every year, for many years, deserving students benefit from the Amoses’ generosity,” Nichols said. “Now, by naming an endowed scholar, there is the opportunity for their gifts to affect other areas of the School for years to come. I am incredibly grateful for their kindness, passion and commitment to optometry and I know I also speak for our School and the entire profession.”