Notable Alumnus

Richard Ball, OD, PhD, FAAO
Class of 1955

After graduating in 1955, I spent two years in the Army at the Fort Carson Eye Clinic before returning to Ohio State for a Master’s degree in Physiological Optics with Glenn Fry. Working one-on-one with Dr. Fry was a truly memorable experience—learning from a true genius. I then returned to my hometown of Owosso, Michigan to join my father’s optometric practice that he established in 1916, but I also continued my graduate work at Michigan State University with Dr. Howard Barley, completing a PhD in experimental visual psychology.

I also stayed busy by being actively involved in inter-professional relations. I served as Inter-Professional Relations Chair for the Michigan Optometric Association (MOA) for 36 years and as a member and chair of the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) Interprofessional Relations Committee for nine years. I also served as a member of several state and national committees whose mission was to enhance cooperation between optometry and ophthalmology. I was a founding member of the State of Michigan Health Occupations Council and served on it for 11 years, along with being very active in the establishment of the Ferris State College of Optometry and chairing the Vision Division of the Michigan Public Health Association for ten years.

I served my community as a member and president of the Owosso School Board for 16 years and was a member of the Shiawassee County Health Board for nine years. I was awarded life membership in the MOA and received its Key Man, Optometrist of the Year, and Lifetime Achievement Awards along with life membership in the AOA. I am a life member of the American Academy of Optometry and received the Carel C. Koch Memorial Medal Award from the Academy in 1975 for contributions in the area of inter-professional relations. I am a distinguished practitioner and member of the National Academy of Practice in Optometry.

In 2004, I was the first optometrist ever elected to the Michigan state legislature, where I served in the House of Representatives until 2010; since then I have served as a board member for the Michigan League for Public Policy. Along the way, I managed to write 26 articles published in various vision-related journals.

Looking back at 55 years of optometric practice coupled with 41 years of teaching and research as an Associate Professor at MSU, it was been a wonderful trip with a great profession. I owe a tremendous amount of credit to the educational foundation I received at The Ohio State University College of Optometry.

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