By Rene Scheys
This year the American Optometric Association and Optometry Cares – The AOA Foundation bestowed their highest honor on one of Marshall B. Ketchum University’s most distinguished leaders, President Emeritus Lesley Walls, OD, MD, DOS, whom they inducted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame at a special ceremony on June 21, 2018. Dr. Walls’ tenure as the President of Southern California College of Optometry from 1997-2008 was the capstone to a brilliant career as an educator, administrator, optometrist and medical doctor, and his induction into the National Optometry Hall of Fame is a fitting honor among the many he has received.
“I am privileged to be distinguished by the American Optometric Association in this way, just as I have been privileged to serve the profession of optometry in my career,” said Dr. Walls while reflecting on his selection into the Hall of Fame and his time at SCCO. “At SCCO, I had the advantage of working with exceptional students, faculty and administrators. And as I am honored to be chosen for the Hall of Fame, I count as equally gratifying the continued achievements, successes and growth of Marshall B. Ketchum University.”
While President of Southern California College of Optometry, Dr. Walls presided over a period of tremendous growth, financial stability, and campus improvement, laying a firm foundation for the College’s new home under the MBKU umbrella. His strong presidency was certainly empowered by his many years in academic leadership prior to his arrival at SCCO. He served as the Dean of three different optometry programs: Northeastern State University, Oklahoma College of Optometry, Pacific University College of Optometry, and MCPHS University School of Optometry, and he was a long-time faculty member before becoming an administrator. In addition to receiving many awards and honors during the course of his career, Dr. Walls served on the committees and boards of numerous professional organizations, including the American Optometric Association, National Board of Examiners in Optometry Board of Directors, Special Medical Advisory Group to the Veterans Administration Surgeon General, and the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, for whom he was President in 1994-1995.
In a career spanning more than 40 years, Lesley Walls has influenced the profession of optometry and the many men and women whom he helped to educate. His induction into the National Optometry Hall of Fame is a tribute to his hard work and his great leadership of the institutions he served and the many capacities in which he served them.