Dr. Warren G. Morris – Class of 1949 – Notable Alumnus

Dr. Warren G. Morris lived in the Ohio State Buckeye scholarship dormitory while he was a student in mechanical engineering. During his senior year, he met Ruth Penrod, who was one of very few women in optometry at that time and whom he married six months later, just prior to entering the armed forces as an Army sergeant. He saw battle in Germany during World War II as a machine gunner. While he was fighting in the European theater of WWII, his wife opened her optometry practice in Toledo. She wrote to him daily, and in those letters, she shared with him her thrill of providing vision care to patients in northwest Ohio. Upon his return to the states, Dr. Morris told his wife that he also wanted to become an optometrist so they could practice together. After he graduated from Ohio State Optometry in 1949, he joined his wife in her Toledo practice, where he specialized in pediatric optometry. He told his colleagues that his wife examined adult patients so he could play with children. He not only helped his little patients see better, he also stressed the importance of a good education to them and to their parents. Dr. Morris was so dedicated to children and education that he also worked with special education teachers in the Toledo area to help them understand the role of vision in reading performance.

Dr. Morris served as President of both the Ohio Optometric Association and the Ohio State Board of Optometry. In his honor, a memorial fund for children’s vision research was established at The Ohio State University College of Optometry in 1990.Warren G. Morris

Dr. Ruth Morris – Class of 1943 – Notable Alumna

Ruth MorrisWhile a student at Ohio State, Ruth Penrod funded her optometric education by working for 25 cents an hour at the White Haines Optical Company in Columbus. In her last year of optometry school, she married Warren G. Morris (BS’49). While her new husband was in the Army, she began her practice of optometry in Toledo with an established optometrist who, unfortunately, passed away only nine weeks after her arrival. For the next three years, Dr. Ruth Morris worked hard to learn the business side of an optometric practice; her efforts were so successful that her husband was able to join her after he returned from WWII and later earned his optometry degree from Ohio State.

Drs. Ruthie and Warren Morris practiced together for 37 years, until his sudden death in 1986. They served five generations of patients in Northwest Ohio. Their division of labor and love in the office was to have Dr. Ruth care for the vision needs of adolescent and adult patients, including contact lenses, while Dr. Warren cared for the children. Both emphasized visual performance and said, “Our patients must be able to use their vision comfortably and effectively at work and play or we have not done our jobs as optometrists.” Together, they assured that each child received vision care regardless of his or her parents’ finances. They educated their patients, as well as the teachers in their community, about the importance of eye safety, vision care, and reading performance.

They also “adopted” many optometry students who visited their office and provided invaluable counsel and resources to assure that each of their “optometry kids” achieved his or her own professional goals. Dr. Kevin Alexander, who was an Ohio State faculty member and then went on to become President of both the Ohio Optometric Association and the American Optometric Association, Dean at the Michigan College of Optometry, and (now) President of the Marshall B. Ketchum University in Fullerton, California, said the Morrises loaned him some money to open his private practice in Columbus; he was told at the time, “Just pay us back whenever you can.”

Dr. Ruth served her community as well as her profession on the boards of Toledo civic and performing arts organizations. She participated vigorously at local, state, and national levels in Business and Professional Women (BPW). In her early BPW years, she developed a program to educate the public about seat belts and driver safety. In her later years, she established a vision clinic for indigent patients in Toledo. She chaired the education committee of the Ohio Optometric Association for many years and established the Optometric Recognition Award at the state and national levels for optometrists who attend a higher number of continuing education courses than the minimum necessary for annual licensure renewal. She also served on the American Optometric Association’s Council on Clinical Optometric Care, during which time she helped to establish quality assurance measurements for the profession.

One of the college’s most distinguished alumni, Dr. Ruth gave the Convocation address on June 13, 1991, to that year’s graduating class. She said, “Follow your dream. Be prepared to take some risks. Risk and change will be with you all your life. Both are synonymous with opportunity. Only you can know, shape, and control the dream you have in your heart tonight.”

Also in 1991, Drs. Ruth and Warren Morris (posthumously) were awarded the H. Ward Ewalt Medal for Service to Optometry by The Ohio State University College of Optometry. Because of the enduring legacy that Ruth and her beloved husband, Warren, gave to Ohio optometry, the Ohio Optometric Association’s highest annual award is named “The Warren G. and Ruth P. Morris Optometrist of the Year” for outstanding contributions to the profession of optometry and public service. The recipient of this high honor has the privilege of keeping Dr. Warren Morris’s mounted spot retinoscope for one year and then presenting it to the next year’s honoree at the OOA annual convention.

Marjorie Rah, OD PhD FAAO – Class of 1995 – Notable Alumna

Marjorie RahDr. Marjorie Rah received her Doctor of Optometry degree from The Ohio State University College of Optometry in 1995. She remained at Ohio State as a Cornea and Contact Lens Advanced Practice Fellow and received her MS and PhD degrees in Physiological Optics in 1997 and 2000, respectively. Following completion of her PhD, Dr. Rah joined the faculty at the New England College of Optometry, in Boston, Massachusetts in the fall of 2000. Dr. Rah also was a staff optometrist at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary from 2002 to 2010. She became a Diplomate in the Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies of the American Academy of Optometry in 2004. Dr. Rah has conducted research in specialty contact lenses and has written and lectured extensively.

Currently, Dr. Rah is employed by Bausch+Lomb Incorporated, a division of Valeant Pharmaceuticals, where she Senior Manager, Medical Communications. In addition, she is near completion of a Master of Science degree in regulatory affairs at Northeastern University in Boston.

Nicklaus Fogt, OD PhD – Class of 1992 – Notable Alumnus

Nicklaus FogtDr. Nick Fogt has been a Buckeye since 1985, when he began his college education at The Ohio State University. Nick graduated from The Ohio State University College of Optometry in 1992. Upon graduation, he completed a residency in hospital-based optometry at the Cleveland Veterans Administration Medical Center. Following his residency, Nick returned to Ohio State and completed his PhD in 1996. In July of 1996, Nick became Assistant Professor of Optometry and Physiological Optics at The Ohio State University College of Optometry.

Nick is well known for his teaching and has received numerous awards as a result. Nick was named The Ohio State University Inter-Professional Council Professor of the Year in 1999 and was awarded the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching at Ohio State in 2003. He was awarded the Graduate Teaching Award for Vision Science at the college in 2008 and has won the Herbert Mote Award at the College of Optometry five times. Nick is now a full professor at the college.

Nick’s current research involves eye and head movement in baseball. He is named as the inventor on a patent for a device that monitors these movements, and he is currently conducting research with baseball players of all levels.

Nick is married to Jenny Swingle Fogt, who is also a Buckeye and optometrist. They have two children, Mallory and Zachary, who make every day fun! Nick enjoys playing the drums, riding bikes with his family, and cheering for the Buckeyes.

Jason J. Nichols OD MPH PhD FAAO Class of 1999

Jason J. NicholsJason J. Nichols was the Kevin McDaid Vision Source Professor at the University of Houston College of Optometry from 2011-14. He received his undergraduate degree in Biology from Hope College (1995), and Doctor of Optometry (1999), Master’s in Public Health (2003, epidemiology), and PhD (2004) from The Ohio State University. He was on the faculty at Ohio State between 2004-2011 where he was an associate professor.

Dr. Nichols has trained numerous graduate students and fellows and has received research funding from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health to study dry eye diseases including meibomian gland disease, dry eye, and contact lens-related dry eye. He has also received funding from the American Optometric Foundation, in addition to a variety of industrial partners. He has authored 90 peer-reviewed manuscripts and 150 abstracts on these topics. He is currently Editor of Contact Lens Spectrumand Contact Lenses Today®, which reach 50,000 eyecare practitioners worldwide. Dr. Nichols also serves as an associate editor for Eye and Contact Lens and is a diplomate in the American Academy of Optometry’s sections of Public Health and Environmental Optometry and Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technology. He is also Chair of the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Board and Contact Lens Discomfort Workshop.

Dr. Debbie Hettler Class of 1980

Debbie HettlerDr. Hettler is the Clinical Director, Associated Health Education at VA Headquarters in Washington, DC, where she is involved with the policy and oversight for 40 clinical education disciplines. She is the first optometrist to work in the Office of Academic Affiliations at the Central Office and still sees patients at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD, and carries an appointment as Adjunct Associate Professor at Salus University. Prior to this position, she established and developed an optometric education program in the VA, which evolved into optometric externships and residencies with four optometry schools, internal medicine rotations, nurse practitioner observations, and interactions with an ophthalmology teaching program.

Dr. Hettler previously was a full- time educator and has also worked clinically in interdisciplinary settings including VA, HMOs, contact lens research clinics, union occupational health offices, and private practices. She is a Regional Quality Assurance Representative conducting office inspections and record audits and consulting with eye care practitioners on improving clinical skills and documentation of patient care. Additional accreditation activities include acting as a consultant for the Council on Optometric Education and the Council on Education for Public Health and as a National Board of Optometry Examiner.

Dr. Hettler is recognized as an expert in optometry-related public health as demonstrated by her Diplomate status and leadership position in the American Academy of Optometry’s Public Health and Environmental Optometry Section and her Distinguished Practitioner in and Co-chair of the Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Practice in Optometry. She has served as chair of several committees and sections of the American Optometric Association, including the Multidisciplinary Practice Section and the Public Health Task Force. She has been an elected leader in local optometric societies in New York, Illinois and Missouri. Currently, she is a VA representative to the Federal Education and Training Interagency Group working on public health and medical education training standards for disaster medicine. She has also been an active leader with APHA and served in all offices of the Vision Care Section and has been the Chair of the APHA Education Board, Co-Chair of APHA Joint Policy Committee, Treasurer of the Metropolitan Washington Public Health Association, and an ex officio member of the APHA Executive Board and the Affiliate Representative Governing Councilor for Region 3 representing Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and District of Columbia in the Council of Affiliates.

Nadine Forché, OD MS – Class of 1997 – Notable Alumna

Nadine ForchéDr. Nadine Humen Forché graduated in 1997 with her Doctor of Optometry and Master of Science in Physiological Optics and then completed a Veterans Affairs residency in Columbus and Chillicothe. During that year she married another optometrist, Dr. Jon Forché, and they moved to Birmingham, AL where she was an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry. Although she loved teaching, she and Jon decided to join a private practice in Athens, GA, Five Points Eye Care. Early in her career she became a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and lectured on clinical cases and coding. She has been actively involved in the Georgia Optometric Association (GOA) where she was the President of the Northeast Georgia District and is now the Trustee for her district and Chairperson of the Board of Trustees. She is also the GOA Third Party Coordinator for Georgia. Dr. Forché became a Diplomate in the American Board of Optometry in 2013. She is the preceptor for the extern program at Five Points Eye Care which has students from The Ohio State University College of Optometry and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry. She truly enjoys teaching fourth-year optometry students and watching them grow during their rotations in her practice. Besides running a private practice, she is also mom to boy-girl twins named Hayden and Adelyn “Addie” and is the Chairperson of the Advisory Council and the Development and Marketing Committees for their school.

Dr. H. Edward Welton – Class of 1938 – Notable Alumnus

H. Edward WeltonDr. Welton was a self-made Renaissance man and visionary optometric leader. He was born on February 11, 1911, in Nicodemus, Kansas. He received his high school education in Zanesville, Ohio, where he graduated from Lash High School. After receiving his BS and MS degrees from Tennessee State University, he applied to The Ohio State University School of Optometry and, in 1938, was the first African American graduate in optometry. He was also the first African American optometrist to become a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry. After his graduation, he left Ohio to begin a private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Eight years later, he returned to the Buckeye state to establish a practice in Cleveland. According to the BuckEYE alumni newsletter from August 1994, “He made house calls and put back together eyeglass frames that had been long targeted for the trash. He made good use of everything. Nothing was to go to waste, not a frame, not even a greeting card.” In 1967, Dr. Welton became supervisor of the Eye Clinic in the Hough-Norwood Family Health Care Center in Cleveland and served in that capacity for 22 years.

Dr. Welton was a leader and a pioneer in all of his endeavors, and he strived to pave the way for all who were to follow in his footsteps. He always stressed the value of obtaining an education, and he and his beloved wife, Maxine, established scholarships at both The Ohio State University College of Optometry and Tennessee State University to further minority pride and education. The interest from his $100,000 endowment to Ohio State in 1989 goes to the assistance of minority students who want to become optometrists.

Dr. Jacqueline Davis (OD’81, MPH) was inspired by Dr. Welton during her years as a student, “I will say that he was a true inspiration to me when I was in school. I did not meet him until after my graduation, but there were many days during my optometric training that I stood under the stairs in the basement of Fry Hall, looking at his graduation picture, saying to myself ‘If he could do this in 1938, then I can do it too!’”

Dr. Kefla George (OD/MS’01), one of the recipients of a Welton scholarship, said, “Not only did this scholarship enable me to come to Ohio State, but it made me more aware of the college’s efforts to recruit more minority students to a career in optometry and the need for adequate eye care in underprivileged communities.”

Dr. Welton died on July 20, 1994, but his memory and generosity live on at The Ohio State University College of Optometry.

Dr. Herbert Mote – Class of 1935 – Notable Alumnus

Herbert MoteDr. Herbert Mote earned his optometry degree from Ohio State in 1935. He, along with Dr. Howard Haines, received the first MS degrees in physiological optics under Dr. Fry in 1938. He had a private practice in downtown Columbus for many years but also taught on a part-time basis at the Ohio State University School of Optometry. For more than three decades, from the 1940s to the 1960s, he served the profession with distinction as an Ohio State optometry student recruiter, registrar, counselor, clinic instructor, placement director, and beloved “father figure.” The annual Epsilon Psi Epsilon professional fraternity’s Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year award is named after Dr. Mote. He was president of the Ohio Optometric Association (1948–1950) and was a Fellow in the American Academy of Optometry. He was president of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry 1959–1961.

In addition to his many academic duties at Ohio State, he was a consultant on vision to the Ohio State Highway Patrol from 1951 to 1969 and received an honorary badge of Captain from the OSHP. In 1973, he was named “Optometrist of the Year” by the Ohio Optometric Association. He was also an active contributor to local chapters of the United Way, Camp Fire Girls, the Columbus Recreation Commission, and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Mote passed away in 1974 at the age of 71.

Jon Forché, OD FAAO – Class of 1998 – Notable Alumnus

Jon ForchéJon Forché OD, FAAO graduated magna cum laude from Miami University in 1993 and from The Ohio State University College of Optometry in 1998. He completed a fellowship in ocular disease/low vision rehabilitation at the Birmingham, Alabama VA medical center in 1999 while his wife, Dr. Nadine Humen Forche, was on the faculty at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry. Dr. Forché is in group practice at Five Points Eye Care in Athens, GA with Nadine Humen Forche, OD/MS’97, FAAO and Meg Brya, OD, FCOVD. Jon was named Georgia’s Young Optometrist of the Year in 2004 and became a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry in 2006. He is Diplomate in the American Board of Optometry. Dr. Forché has worked as consulting low vision rehabilitation optometrist for Vision Rehabilitation Services in Atlanta, GA since 2001 and with VISTAS in Athens, GA since 2006. Dr. Forché also enjoys teaching students. He is a preceptor for The Ohio State University College of Optometry’s externship program. Dr. Forché is the current Georgia Optometric Association PAC chairm having served in that position for the past seven years. In his free time, Dr. Forché spends time with his wife and 11-year-old twins. They enjoy gardening, soccer, skiing and hiking.