William C. Ezell Fellowships



Since 1947 the American Optometric Foundation has offered Ezell Fellowships to encourage talented persons to pursue full-time careers in optometric research and education. These fellowships support graduate students enrolled in a full-time program of study and training in vision-related research that leads to a Master's or PhD degree.

The Ezell Fellowships have become the flagship program of the AOF. Fellowships are for one year and the current amount of the award is $8,000. Each student also receives travel grants to the annual meetings of the American Academy of Optometry and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, which are $750 each.

The American Optometric Foundation has awarded more than 250 Fellowships to students pursuing graduate studies. Among the list of former Ezell Fellows are over 20 deans and presidents of optometric schools and colleges, over 100 faculty members and over 100 Fellows of the American Academy of Optometry, including three of its presidents.

Award and Eligibility

Graduate students, in a full-time program of study and training in vision-related research that leads to a Master's or PhD degree.

Fellowships are $8,000. Distribution is to the individual and released in the Fall. Reapplication can lead to funding for an additional year with repeat applicants encouraged to show significant research progress in their application, however, only under exceptional circumstances will recipients be funded for a third year.

Application Procedures

Next deadline is Saturday, March 1, 2014

  • New and renewal applications, including associated materials, must be received by Friday, March 1, 2014
  • Applications and supporting materials should be emailed to AOF@aaoptom.org
  • Include the words Ezell Fellowship (+applicant last name) in the subject line of the email.
  • Attachments should preferably be saved as pdfs, although MS Word is acceptable. A few attachments containing multiple documents is preferred to multiple attachments.
  • All attachments must be saved with a unique file name. The first word in the file name should be the applicant’s last name.
  • Letters of recommendation should be emailed by the recommender to AOF@aaoptom.org

All submissions receive a confirming email within 1-3 business days of receipt. You will receive an additional message only if any of the supportive letters are not delivered. If you do not receive a confirmation your submission file may have been too large to pass security measures.

The following items constitute a complete submission for candidacy:

1. Complete the 2014 William C. Ezell Fellowship Application.

2. Three letters of recommendation from persons qualified to comment on your educational qualifications, research abilities, potential, and current plus future teaching capabilities. These should be emailed separately from your application by the recommender.  (Renewal applicants: one of the three letters must be from your advisor commenting on your progress.)

3. A one-page statement in which you describe your educational objectives, future research and/or teaching interest, and career objectives. (Renewal applicants: also include your description of last year's progress.)

4. A copy of maximum three key papers that best represent your scientific publications (do not include abstracts, theses, or other applications). May include copies of papers in press.

Review Procedures

The Research Committee of the American Academy of Optometry reviews all fellowship applications and sends its recommendations to the Foundation which approves and funds the Ezell Fellowships through endowments and corporate sponsorship.

Program Notes

In accepting an AOF Ezell Fellowship, students agree to:

  • submit annual progress reports
  • notify AOF of changes in their program
  • acknowledge the AOF in written and oral presentations
  • attend the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Optometry, the AOF Celebration Luncheon and perform volunteer service at the AOF Booth.
  • pursue a full-time career in optometric education and research in a school or college of optometry
  • consider support of the AOF through the Ezell Club and work towards Fellowship
  • submit a W-8 form (Non-U.S. residents) or W-9 form (U.S. Residents).

All award recipients by application and acceptance of an award agree to allow the AOF and/or the sponsor of the program to which they applied to publish their name, image, institution information, and any statement or quote provided by the recipient. These may appear in a variety of media formats that will announce and promote the program including, but not limited to, the AOF and/or sponsor annual report, website, annual meeting promotional materials.

For further information contact:

American Optometric Foundation
2909 Fairgreen Street
Orlando, FL 32803, USA
Tel 321-710-3936


American Optometric Foundation 2013–2014 William C. Ezell Fellowships

(June 10, 2013) – The American Optometric Foundation (AOF) proudly announces the 2013-2014 recipients of its prestigious William C. Ezell Fellowships. The Ezell Fellowship program, named after the founding AOF President, William C. Ezell, OD, was established to provide opportunities to talented graduate students who wish to pursue careers in optometric research, education and vision science. To date over 250 fellowships have been awarded since the inception of the program in 1949. Funding for this program is provided by many individuals and/or organizations that support several endowments as well as our corporate partners including: The Alcon Foundation, Bausch + Lomb, Essilor of America, VISTAKON®, and the Vision Care Institute, LLC, both divisions of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.

Beginning this year, the AOF will be honoring a former Ezell Fellow with a named Fellowship. This year’s honoree is Dr. Alfred Rosenbloom, Jr. Dr. Rosenbloom received his Ezell Fellowship in 1952.

Each Ezell Fellow will be honored at the AOF Celebration Luncheon, Saturday, October 26th, during Academy 2013 Seattle. AOF President, Kathy Dumbleton, PhD, MCOptom, FAAO, commented: "I am looking forward to meeting this year’s Ezell Fellows at Academy 2013 Seattle and am confident that each of these talented and dedicated recipients will continue the legacy of former Ezell Fellows in their contributions to optometry and vision science research. Many congratulations to the 2013 Ezell Fellows and thank you to all the donors and corporate partners whose generosity has allowed us to award eleven Ezell fellowships this year."

The 2013-2014 AOF- William C. Ezell Fellows are:

Alcon Foundation Ezell Fellow: 
Eda Altiok, BS
University of California, Berkeley, School of Optometry 

American Academy of Optometry Ezell Fellow: 
Edward Lum, B Optom, BlndDes, FAAO 
University New South Wales

Alfred A. Rosenbloom, Jr. Ezell Fellow: 
Daniel R. Coates, MS
University of California, Berkeley, School of Optometry 

AAO Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses & Refractive Technologies Ezell Fellow: 
Tan Ngoc Truong, OD, MPH 
University of California, Berkeley, School of Optometry 

Bausch & Lomb Ezell Fellow: 
Debarun Dutta, B Optom
University New South Wales

Irvin M. Borish - Essilor Ezell Fellow: 
Naveen K. Yadav, BSc, (H) Optom, MS
SUNY College of Optometry

Mike Daley – Essilor Ezell Fellow:
Ayeswarya Ravikumar, BS Optom 
University of Houston, College of Optometry

Merton C. Flom Leadership Ezell Fellow: 
William Scott Tuten, OD, MS
University of California, Berkeley, School of Optometry 

Michael G. Harris Ezell Fellow: 
Wing (Eric) Li, OD, FAAO
University of California, Berkeley, School of Optometry 

Optometric Glaucoma Society Ezell Fellow: 
Kevin M. Ivers, BS
University of Houston, College of Optometry 

Visionary Ezell Fellow: 
Rose Y. Reins, BA 
University of Houston, College of Optometry

To date, over 200 William C. Ezell Fellowships have been awarded since the inception of the program.

Endowed Ezell Fellowships

The Michael G. Harris Ezell Fellowship

The Foundation has received a $240,000 commitment to establish the Michael G. Harris Ezell Fellowship. This award will provide support for an optometrist pursuing graduate work in education, public policy, public health, or related areas. Michael has a history of leadership and philanthropy, further demonstrated by this magnificent gift. The Foundation will award the first Harris Ezell in 2010.

The Optometric Glaucoma Society Ezell Fellowship

The Optometric Glaucoma Society (OGS) has pledged to endow an Ezell Fellowship to support a graduate student in optometry and vision science working on glaucoma-related research. Under the leadership of Murray Fingeret and Tom Lewis, OGS will work with the Foundation to raise the $200,000 necessary to endow the award. They have set an ambitious goal of raising the funds within the next three years. While some of the funds will come for the Society’s corporate sponsors, the OGS membership will make individual three-year pledges to the fund. They invite all doctors interested and engaged in the management of glaucoma to join them by making a gift or pledge to the fund.

The Merton Flom Ezell Fellowship in Leadership

Mert Flom is a former Ezell Fellow, a former Academy President, and an academic leader of our profession in every sense. His passion for training, research, and leadership has led the Flom family to make significant lead pledges to establish an Ezell Fellowship with an emphasis on leadership, hopefully to include participation in courses and an internship. Mert and his wife Pene, Mert’s daughter Roanne and son-in-law Tom Raasch, and Mert’s son Walt and daughter-in-law Gail have all pledged their support for the fund. Friends of Mert have also pledged substantial support with the goal of reaching the $200,000 to endow the Fellowship. We invite all Academy Fellows who have been touched by Mert’s influence and passion to support the fund by making a five-year pledge or a one-time gift.

AOF Pledge Form in PDF format