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Clifford Scott, OD, MPH, Named President Emeritus of New England College of Optometry

President Clifford Scott President Emeritus Clifford Scott, OD 68, MPH

New England College of Optometry (NECO) is pleased to announce that former president Clifford Scott, OD, MPH, has been appointed with the title of President Emeritus, New England College of Optometry. This honor comes in recognition of his accomplishments during a significant decade of leadership and fifty years of service to the College.

Pano Yeracaris, MD, MPH, Chair of the Board of Trustees for New England College of Optometry notes, “Dr. Scott has been associated with the New England College of Optometry for his entire 50 year stellar career, serving as president from 2009 to 2018. During the last 10 years, Dr. Scott, with visionary leadership, has guided NECO to continued excellence in strengthening our unique clinical and academic programs. The Board of Trustees unanimously voted to bestow the emeritus title to Dr. Scott at the December 5th2018 meeting to recognize the vital contributions he has made through the years.”

Dr. Scott served as the twelfth president of the College from 2009-2018. His spirit of innovation helped shape a curriculum and clinical program for NECO's graduates to be successful in the tumultuous world of health care reform.  Dr. Scott was instrumental in implementing the clinical campus concept where all NECO's clinical functions - patient care, learning, and clinical research - are brought together under one roof, sharing space and incorporating high-tech instrumentation.  The final phase of this clinical campus was completed earlier this year with the opening of NECO’s state-of-the-art student clinical training center.

Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (MA) says, “Congratulations to my friend Clifford Scott on his well-deserved appointment to President Emeritus at the New England College of Optometry. For over 50 years, Clifford has been an invaluable leader in the New England eye care community and a catalyst for change and innovation in his field, dedicating his life’s work to improving the lives of his patients, students, and fellow optometrists. His extraordinary legacy will be felt for generations of eye care patients in the Merrimack Valley and my hometown of Lowell as evidenced by his instrumental support for and partnership with the new vision center at the Lowell Community Health Center that opened earlier this year. As someone who has benefitted from the care of extraordinary eye care specialists, I know that the blessings of vision are manifold and never to be taken for granted. On behalf of the countless New Englanders who have benefitted - and will continue to benefit - from your work and your commitment to the common good, we thank Dr. Scott!”

“Dr. Scott has been a positive presence at the College for over 50 years,” notes former President Alan Lewis, ”serving as a member of the faculty, as dean, and as president.  As unpretentious as he is capable, he embraced the long tradition of valuing NECO as a family and community rather than just as a workplace.  Above all, he was dedicated to the welfare and the professional success of the students. This signal honor recognizes his many contributions to the College and to the profession as well as the deep respect with which he is held by his colleagues.”   

Former President Larry Clausen agrees, “President Scott stands as one of NECO’s greatest champions of the College and leaves a legacy of exceptional service to both the college and the optometric profession. Throughout his fifty-year career, he was an ever-present, positive influence on the college’s advancement. It was fitting that he was named president in 2009; it is fitting that he is to be honored as President Emeritus in 2018.”

During his tenure as President, Dr. Scott worked as a community leader, building partnerships locally, nationally, and internationally.  James T. Brett, President and CEO of The New England Council notes, ”Dr. Scott’s contributions over five decades of service to the New England College of Optometry have left behind an incredible legacy, and I cannot think of a more fitting way to honor this remarkable leader than by naming him President Emeritus.” 

Throughout his fifty years in the profession, Dr. Scott also worked tirelessly to advocate for optometry. Executive Director Jay Gardiner, Massachusetts Society of Optometrists (MSO), explains, ““Dr. Clifford Scott's inclusive leadership style and forward thinking vision of optometry has profoundly advanced the profession. Dr. Scott has played an influential role shaping the future impact of optometry at both a state and national level.” 

“Dr. Scott’s entrepreneurial spirit has helped mold and change the profession for the better during his time as professor, department chair, academic dean and President,” notes Professor Bina Patel, Faculty Chair and Director of International Programs at NECO. “Throughout his career, he worked to strengthen our relationships with community partners, pushed for optometric legislation on a state and national level, helped to establish optometry within the VAMC (Veteran’s Administration Medical Center) system, and supported the wider scope of optometry internationally.  While helping to advance the profession, he also remained a huge advocate for students at the College.”

“I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to help lead the College in becoming a such a dynamic institution that produces knowledgeable, caring optometrists fully prepared for success in the rapidly changing world of health care,” explains President Emeritus Clifford Scott, OD '68, MPH.  “It is personally very gratifying that Dr. Howard Purcell was selected to accelerate that momentum with the support of the NECO community.  I'm truly honored by the Board of Trustees' recognition and will continue to be a resource for the College.”

Current President Howard Purcell is proud to build upon Dr. Scott’s achievements. “The impact Dr. Scott (Scotty) has had on NECO is far reaching and significant,” he explains. “His legacy is only surpassed by his passion for the profession and for every graduate that has been part of the NECO family.  We are forever indebted to his unwavering support and countless contributions.  We look forward to his continued contributions to the Board of Trustees, the College leadership, and the faculty in years to come.”

About President Emeritus at New England College of Optometry

The honor of President Emeritus at NECO is given in recognition of significant contributions and dedication of a retiring college president, New England College of Optometry’s Board of Trustees may confer the title of President Emeritus. Recipients must have at least 10 years of service to the College and a history of outstanding contributions and exemplary service to higher education, the College community and the overall profession of optometry. 

About New England College of Optometry

New England College of Optometry is an independent graduate college of optometry that educates students for careers in eye care delivery, research and education. NECO was founded in 1894 as the Klein School of Optics, and is the oldest continuously operating school of optometry in the United States. NECO prepares the next generation of eye care providers, educators, leaders, and innovators through a rigorous curriculum and extensive clinical experiences.   Through a vast network of clinical affiliations, our students put patient care first, providing vision care to children, older adults, the homeless, and individuals with disabilities through our mobile eye clinic, satellite clinics in schools, homeless shelters, community health centers, and VA medical centers.

Media Contact: Ingrid Hoogendoorn, Director of Communications
phone: 617-587-5722