Since 1998, the Hall of Fame has stringently selected optometrists according to their national stature, significant and enduring impact on the profession, scholastic accomplishments, state and national leadership contributions, and community service. In a co-written letter, the company’s President, T. Joel Byars, O.D., together with its selection committee chair, William E. Cochran, O.D., wrote, “It is no small achievement to be selected for this national honor. The dedication and commitment to your students, your community and the profession of optometry as a whole are evident by an impressive collection of activities and responsibilities you have held throughout your career. Our profession is fortunate to be represented by luminaries like you.”
Smith completed his Doctor of Optometry and Ph.D. from the University of Houston and began teaching at the College of Optometry in 1978. During his time as an educator, Smith has held the position of chair of the Basic Sciences Department, associate dean for Graduate Studies and Research, and was even appointed college dean from 2003 to 2013. He is also the holder of the Greeman-Petty Professorship in Vision Development. At present, he is the interim chief health officer of the University, and spearheads the institution’s steps in expanding and implementing the UH Health initiative, and the anticipated inauguration of a new UH Health Sciences Center.
When it comes to Smith’s contributions to research in optometry, he is most known for his sub focus on the eye’s optics. His pivotal work on the importance of vision in modulating refractive development and eye growth earned him the Glenn Fry Award in 1996, the Prentice Medal in 2010 from the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), the Korb Award for Excellence from the Contact Lens and Cornea Section of the AOA in 2011, and was recognized as a Distinguished Scholar and Fellow by the National Academy of Practice in Optometry. He has also authored over 180 papers, and conducted 33 years of research funded by the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Eye Institute (NEI).