The N. Rex Ghormley Fund

In 2010 the AOF in consult with Dr. Ghormley's family established an annual student travel fellowship in his honor. These fellowships are designed to encourage optometry students to attend key national meetings and exchange scientific ideas and research for use in an everyday clinical environment.

Each year the Academy will offer a N. Rex Ghormley student travel fellowship of $750 to attend the annual meeting of the AAO. The fellowship will be awarded primarily for accomplishment and potential in optometric research  and education. Academic abilities, including clinical abilities if relevant, are considered. Being a presenter of a paper or a poster is required.

Student Travel Award Recipients:

2016: Samaneh Delshad
2015: Jakaria Mostafa
2014: Kristina Haworth
2013: Vinod Maseedupally 
2012: Christopher Putnam
2011: Kimberly Lust

(2015 award recipient, Jakaria Mostafa (left), is congratulated by AOF Board Member and AAO Research Committee Chair, Jason Nichols.)

Please consider using the AOF pledge form to make an ongoing contribution to the Rex Ghormley Fund.


Dr. N. Rex Ghormley Past-President of the American Academy of Optometry passed away November 4, 2009. He graduated from the Southern California College of Optometry in 1964. During the Vietnam War he served as a Lieutenant in the Medical Service Corps of the U.S. Navy from 1964 to 1967. He began the private practice of optometry in St. Louis in 1970.

Regionally, Dr. Ghormley served on the Advisory Committee of the UM-St. Louis School of Optometry and as an Adjunct Assistant Professor continued yearly to educate students at the school and in his private practice. He served on the Heart of America Contact Lens Society Board of Directors from 1976 to 1982 and was President in 1980. During his years of leadership on the Board the meeting grew from a local event to the major regional meeting it is today.

Nationally, Dr. Ghormley served 14 years on the Executive Council of the American Academy of Optometry from 1980 to 1994 where he helped make the Academy’s Annual Meeting one of the top educational meetings in Optometry. While serving as President from 1991-1992, he was instrumental in the genesis and execution of International Academy Meetings. From 1994 to 1999 he was Chair of the Academy's Corporate Financial Support Committee.

Dr. Ghormley was a Diplomate of the Academy's Section on Cornea and Contact Lenses and a charter member of the AOA Section on Contact Lenses. His educational contributions to Optometry include being Co-Editor of International Contact Lens Clinic for over a decade. He performed clinical research with every major corporation in the pharmaceutical and contact lens field. He educated the profession nationally and internationally as a welcomed lecturer in the field of contact lenses and anterior segment.

Dr. Ghormley was named "Optometrist of the Year" in 1985 by the Heart of America Society and recognized as Distinguished Practitioner by the National Academy of Practice in Optometry in 1987. He received the St. Louis Optometric Society's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002, the 2003 AOA Contact Lens and Cornea Section Achievement Award and the 2006 American Academy of Optometry Emminent Service Award.

Friend and practice partner David B. Seibel, OD, FAAO offered this personal reflection:

"Rex leaves in his wake countless optometrists and ophthalmologists world wide enabled with his knowledge and passion for caring for patients. This commitment never wavered as he continued to provide exceptional care to his patients up until just weeks before his passing. I was truly blessed to have the opportunity to work day after day with him for over 22 years. Without Rex's guidance I am sure I would not be a Diplomate of the Academy today--an achievement that continues to give back to my patients and me each day. In his last days he only wanted to be with friends, family and to heal his patients. His passion of healing patients lives on in his request for charitable donations to be given to the American Optometric Foundation. My mentor, my friend, you will be dearly missed."

Dr. Ghormley is survived by his loving wife Sandy, his children, Scott, Erin, Kerry and his grandchildren Kylie, Caden and Logan. Dr. Ghormley's wish is that memorial donations be made to the Rex Ghormley Fund of the American Optometric Foundation. Donations can be mailed to the Foundation or made online.