2020 Distinguished Alumni announced

The New England College of Optometry is honored to recognize its 2020 Distinguished Alumni awardees.

The award is given annually to four exemplary alumni who have each changed the optometric profession and countless patients’ lives. These distinguished alumni have furthered the optometric profession through their leadership and belief in the role optometrists can play in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. They each have taken a different path, yet one theme is constant, they collaborated and worked with others to move our profession forward and influenced future optometrists growth and development.

The 2020 NECO Distinguished Alumni Awardees are:

  • Dr. Barbara Caffery, Class of 1977
  • Dr. Nancy Carlson, Class of 1977
  • Dr. Lu Fan, Class of 2002
  • Dr. Benjamin Lambert, III, Class of 1962

Dr. Barbara Caffery is currently the President of the American Academy of Optometry and is the first Canadian to serve as President. Dr. Caffery is a diplomate of the Academy’s Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses & Refractive Technologies. Dr. Caffery was instrumental in the formation of the Fellows Doing Research Special Interest Group, created to train and encourage the performance of clinical research by Fellows of the Academy. In addition to her work with the Academy, she is a Toronto optometrist who has worked in a group practice since 1977.

Dr. Nancy Carlson, Professor Emeritus of Optometry, was a faculty member at the New England College of Optometry for 37 Years. She was Chair of the Department of Primary Care from 2010 – 2014 and was the Chief of Staff at the New England Eye Institute from 1995 – 2000. Dr. Carlson was a recipient of the first Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry Lester Janoff Award for Writing Excellence in Optometric Education in 2007, as a co-author of the publication “Instilling Ethics in Today’s Optometry Students,” published in *Optometric Education*.

Dr. Lu Fan serves as President of Wenzhou Medical University (WMU) and was the first graduate of the joint MS/OD program offered by NECO and WMU. After her doctor of optometry degree in 2002, Prof. Fan returned to China to help pioneer the establishment of optometry as a medical discipline in the country. She was the recipient of the 2002 China National Award for Outstanding Women. After her graduation as an MD at WMU, she has been devoting herself in promoting the development of higher education, medical care and scientific research in the field of optometry and eye healthcare in China.

Dr. Benjamin Lambert’s distinguished career included optometry, community leadership and politics. Dr. Lambert served for more than three decades in both houses of the Virginia General Assembly (the first optometrist ever to serve in that body), initially in the Virginia House of Delegates and then in the Senate. He cared deeply about providing educational opportunities for all, regardless of background Sadly, Dr. Lambert passed away in 2014 but his impact will live on for years to come.

Join us in congratulating NECO’s 2020 Distinguished Alumni awardees. Their impact will continue on for years to come.