TROY-Wallace Dothan sign agreement to pave the way into the optometry field for Wiregrass students

TROY Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. and WCCD President Dr. Linda C. Young sign an agreement as Dr. Marnix Heersink watches.

TROY Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. and WCCD President Dr. Linda C. Young sign an agreement as Dr. Marnix Heersink watches.

Wallace Community College-Dothan (WCCD) and Troy University are pleased to announce the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two institutions for the purpose of providing students with a streamlined pathway from WCCD to TROY in preparation for the opportunity to apply for the UAB School of Optometry.

The official signing ceremony took place on Thursday, December 7th, 2023, at 2:00 PM in the Lobby of the Heersink Family Health Science Building on the WCCD Wallace Campus in Dothan. 

TROY Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. speaks during a ceremony to sign a new agreement between TROY and Wallace Dothan that will land students on a path to the UAB School of Optometry. (TROY photo/JOEY MEREDITH)
TROY Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. speaks during a ceremony to sign a new agreement between TROY and Wallace Dothan that will land students on a path to the UAB School of Optometry. (TROY photo/JOEY MEREDITH)

The MOU allows Wallace Community College Pre-Optometry majors to enter TROY’s Bachelor of Science in Biology/Biomedical Science Program after having completed their associate degree and prerequisite courses. It also provides that TROY will work with the students to meet the requirements needed for eligibility to apply to the School of Optometry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“We appreciate our strong relationship with Troy University & our new relationship with our University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) partner in creating a pathway that provides a step-by-step academic plan for students desiring to go into the optometry field,” said Dr. Linda C. Young, WCCD President. 

“This partnership highlights the value added when colleges work together to create pathways which lead to rewarding careers. We are grateful to Dr. Heersink and the Heersink Family Foundation for their generous support of this initiative.  Many Troy alumni are also graduates of the UAB School of Optometry. Our partnership with Dr. Linda Young, President of WCC and a Troy alumna, will add well qualified optometrists to the field of eye care,” said TROY Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr.

This partnership is supported by the Heersink Wiregrass Pathway to Optometry Scholarship established by Dr. Marnix Heersink. Two (2) scholarships are available to two (2) full-time WCCD students majoring in any pre-professional health program with a preference given to pre-optometry majors. These students will also be eligible to receive scholarships to attend TROY on a pre-optometry track upon completion at WCCD. 

The Wiregrass Pathway to Optometry Scholarship is designed to be a pathway from Wallace Community College to TROY while preparing students for the opportunity to apply for the UAB School of Optometry.

“We are profoundly grateful for the generous support of Dr. Marnix Heersink and his family whose commitment to the advancement of optometric education will make a tremendous impact on Wallace and Troy students,” said Dr. Young. “By fostering the next generation of optometrists through this scholarship, Dr. Heersink is creating a legacy of excellence in the field of optometry. We are always proud to be a recipient of his generosity on behalf of our students and value his partnership with the College.”

“Our community is rich in talent, potential and vibrant minds, and I believe it is crucial that we invest in the education of our local students,” said Dr. Marnix Heersink, Eye Center South co-founder. “Wallace Community College is the starting point for many of our local students’ educational journeys. By establishing an endowed scholarship here, we aim to support those who are taking their first steps towards higher education. This scholarship will provide a foundation upon which dreams can be built, enabling students to focus on their studies and personal growth.”

Sorrell College of Business Dean Dr. Judson Edwards, left, listens to Dr. Marnix Heersink at a ceremony to sign a new agreement between TROY and Wallace Dothan that will land students on a path to the UAB School of Optometry. (TROY photo/JOEY MEREDITH)
Sorrell College of Business Dean Dr. Judson Edwards, left, listens to Dr. Marnix Heersink at a ceremony to sign a new agreement between TROY and Wallace Dothan that will land students on a path to the UAB School of Optometry. (TROY photo/JOEY MEREDITH)
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