Skip To Main Content

President Howard Purcell, OD ‘84, FAAO

President Howard Purcell

Howard Purcell, OD ‘84, FAAO was named the College’s 13th president in July of 2018. Dr. Purcell brings to the position a wealth of experience in private practice, academia, and the optometric industry. He is well versed in evolving trends and technologies in healthcare and optometry in particular and brings this expertise to the presidency.


Prior to his appointment as President, Dr. Purcell served as the Senior Vice President, Customer Development for Essilor of America.  He was part of the Essilor team for 10 years.  Prior to joining Essilor he spent 13 years as Senior Director of Professional Affairs for Johnson & Johnson Vision Care.  

Dr. Purcell is a graduate of New England College, Class of 1984, and has long been involved in the school through presenting continuing education, supporting student development, and serving on the Board of Trustees.  Dr. Purcell began his optometric career by participating in a group optometric practice for eleven years with his father, NECO alumnus Saul Purcell, OD ’54, in Miami Beach, FL.

Beginning in June 1991, Dr. Purcell joined the faculty of Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry.  During his career at the college, he was a principle in the development of the Department of Cornea and Contact Lenses.  As Associate Professor, Dr. Purcell was responsible for both the didactic and clinical components of the program. He later reached the rank of Deputy Dean of the college. 

Dr. Purcell is a Diplomate in the Cornea and Contact Lens Section of the American Academy of Optometry. His energetic and enthusiastic style has made Dr. Purcell a popular lecturer internationally. Purcell’s unique philosophies and practices have often attracted the media to focus attention on current optometric issues and research in the industry.