Notable Alumnus

H. Ward Ewalt, Jr., BS
Class of 1929

Dr. Ewalt began his outstanding optometric career just before the Great Depression of 1929, when he graduated from OSU with a BS degree in Applied Optics. After his graduation, he entered private practice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and conducted research in the areas of vision training, low vision, contact lenses, and aniseikonia. He was a member of the American Optometric Association (AOA) for 66 years and held at least 48 different positions in that organization, from committee member to the 41st President (1962-63).

A study of AOA records shows that in the period from 1940 through 1971, almost nothing of consequence within the profession of optometry took place without Dr. Ewalt's active involvement. He served as vice-chairman of the Tri-State Conference on Vision and Reading through three decades and was the founder of the Optometric Extension Program's (OEP's) Middle Atlantic Congress. He was the editor of the "Manual of Optometric Tests and Requirements," Chairman of the AOA Journal committee (1960-61), the author of numerous professional papers and monographs, and a presenter of more than 100 lectures in the US and throughout the world. As Chair of the AOA Education Council (a forerunner of the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education-ACOE), he established a high standard of academic excellence in optometry by directing preparation of the "Manual on Accrediting," which was accepted by the National Commission on Accrediting and followed by all optometry schools and colleges. The AOA formally thanked him and recognized his service to humanity in 1965 with its highest award, the Apollo Award.

On April 1, 1977, Dr. Ewalt established a permanently endowed fund at the College, the H. Ward Ewalt, Sr. and Jane S. Ewalt Permanent Endowment Fund, to honor his parents. This gift continues to provide the College with critical funds in support of projects related to children’s vision.

In 1990, he received the OSU Alumni Association’s Citizen Award. When asked what was most important to him outside of his family and work, he said, "the effort to make the College of Optometry at The Ohio State University the top optometric program in the world." Optometric Educators, Inc. also established a medal in his honor that same year, which is given in recognition of exemplary service to the College and the profession.

Dr. Ewalt continued to practice optometry in Pittsburgh until November of 1994. He passed away on May 8, 1995, at the age of 88.

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