Dr. Betty Harville, Vicki Farmer and Dr. James Kirchner
MEMPHIS, Tenn.—Southern College of Optometry (SCO) recently announced the addition of Dr. Betty Harville, Vicki Farmer and Dr. James Kirchner, to its board of trustees. “SCO has made a concerted effort to improve diversity on our campus, and that effort extends to our board,” said Lewis Reich, OD, president of SCO. “Dr. Harville, Ms. Farmer and Dr. Kirchner will bring valuable insights from different racial, professional and geographic perspectives. We look forward to drawing on their talents to further improve the quality education we provide to our future optometrists.”

Harville, who retired from SCO in August 2020 after 36 years, was the first female, Black professor of optometry in the nation when she began working at the college in 1984. Additionally, she was the first Black female optometrist in the state of Tennessee when she began her career.

In her time with SCO, she was heavily involved with campus life, including as an advisor for the college’s chapter of the National Optometric Student Association. She was also named Outstanding Teacher of the Year, Instructor of the Year, Clinical Faculty of the Year and Outstanding Faculty of the Year; and she received special recognition awards for her dedication to service.

A graduate of Arkansas State University, Farmer is the executive director of the Arkansas Optometric Association. She is also a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management and is a Certified Association Executive. She is a past president of the International Association for Optometric Executives and has chaired Arkansans for Healthy Eyes, a ballot question committee formed to lobby for better access to eyecare in the state.

Kirchner, also an optometrist, founded EyeCare Specialties, a multi-location optometric clinic in Nebraska. He subsequently served as president and CEO of SynergEyes, a global manufacturer and distributor of specialty contact lens products. Since retiring in 2018, Kirchner has served as president of GlobalAssist, an international Christian ministry. He is a past president of the Nebraska Optometric Association and the North Central States Optometric Council.