Two outstanding SCO graduates – James Boucher, OD ‘61, and SCO President Emeritus William E. Cochran, OD ‘68, were among the five inductees into this year’s National Optometry Hall of Fame. They were inducted in a special ceremony held during the American Optometric Association’s meeting in Chicago.
Dr. Boucher is a 1961 graduate of the Southern College of Optometry (SCO). After graduation, he served in the United States Air Force until 1964. Since 1966, he has been in practice at the Snowy Range Vision Center in Laramie, Wyo.
Dr. Boucher has held leadership positions with several optometric organizations. He was on the AOA Board of Trustees (1979-1982), chair of the Education and Manpower Division, Executive Committee (1973-1974), chair of the Contact Lens Section (1986-1987), and chair of the Commission on Ophthalmic Standards (1977-1979). Dr. Boucher served as Wyoming Optometric Association president from 1976-1978.
Dr. Boucher has taught at numerous institutions, including: Illinois College of Optometry; University of Houston College of Optometry; and Pacific University College of Optometry. Dr. Boucher has received many honors, among them are Lifetime Achievement Award (SCO) in 1999, The Harvey W. Wiley Medal/ Food and Drug Administration Commissioner’s special citation in 1995, and the AOA Optometrist of the Year in 1978.
Dr. William “Billy” Cochran
Dr. Cochran, a third-generation optometrist, graduated from SCO in 1968. He then served as a captain in the U.S. Army’s Medical Service Corps. After completing his military service, Dr. Cochran spent 13 years in a private-practice, primary care optometry partnership in Mississippi.
In 1984, Dr. Cochran was named president of SCO, and he began to make changes to move the college beyond its regional image and into the national arena of optometric education. Under Dr. Cochran’s leadership, SCO began working to fund scholarships and to improve academic standards. He implemented a student recruitment program that saw student enrollment grow from 90 to 120 entering students per year.
By his second decade as SCO president, Dr. Cochran had improved and stabilized the college’s finances. This strengthened the college’s ability to meet the educational, clinical and technological needs of the students.
By the late 1990s, the college had outgrown its clinical facilities. SCO launched capital campaign to construct The Eye Center at SCO, a freestanding clinic designed as a long-term teaching and patient care facility. The Eye Center at SCO opened in 2002 as the largest facility of its kind in the United States.
Within the AOA, Dr. Cochran served on the Task Force on Negotiations in 1974. He also served on the Nominations Committee and in the House of Delegates. He spent four years on the AOA’s Leadership Development Committee and five years as AOA Keyperson.
Dr. Cochran was active in the Mississippi Optometric Association (MOA). He served as the MOA’s Legislative Committee chairman from 1972-1974. He spent three years on the MOA’s board before becoming president in 1978.
Dr. Cochran was also on the board of ASCO. He spent nine years on ASCO’s Executive Committee and served as president in 1991. Additionally, Dr. Cochran served on the Board of Directors of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO).
Congratulations to both of these outstanding alumni!