KYCO Student Brennan McArthur Awarded Mississippi Vision Foundation’s Helen Allison St. Clair Scholarship

Submitted by the Mississippi Optometric Association and Mississippi Vision Foundation

Brennan McArthur, a 2017 graduate of the University of Mississippi, has been named a 2020 recipient of the Mississippi Vision Foundation’s (MVF) Helen Allison St. Clair scholarship for students of optometry.

“We are proud to have a young man of Mr. McArthur’s character, scholarship and leadership to represent the future of the field of optometry as the recipient of the St. Clair scholarship,” said Dr. Kimberly Ragan, president of the Foundation.

McArthur, a third-year student at the University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry, is a graduate of Ridgeland High School and the University of Mississippi earning a BS in Biology while minoring in Chemistry, Psychology and Classics.  He completed over 120 hours of research as a student.  At Kentucky College of Optometry, he is in the top of his class and is a sought-after tutor for 1st and 2nd year students.  He was inducted into Beta Sigma Kappa Optometric Honor Society in 2019 and is involved in the American Optometric Students Association and the American Society of Optometry Surgeons student organizations, among others.  He has worked with the KYCO faculty during the COVID-19 pandemic to transition tutoring services to an online format.

“I am honored to be a recipient of the 2020 Helen St. Clair scholarship and will do my best to be a great doctor and leader in our profession as she was throughout her career! I would also like to give a special thank you to the MVF for considering and selecting me for this scholarship, and to the Dean and faculty at Kentucky College of Optometry for pushing me to be the doctor that I one day hope to be!” said McArthur.

McArthur, the son of Joseph and Shane McArthur of Ridgeland, has known since early high school that he wanted to be in a health care profession.  Classes in neuroscience and physics moved him toward optometry.  After shadowing Dr. Ryan Wally, an optometrist in Oxford, McArthur said his decision was solidified.  “Knowing that I wanted to help people on a day-to-day basis, along with my later fascination with sensory systems and the physics behind them, resulted in the increasingly obvious decision to start pursuing a career in the field of optometry.  Now, after two years of optometry school, my interest has peaked more than ever and I cannot wait to get into the field!” he said.

The Helen Allison St. Clair Optometry Scholarship was established to honor the memory of long-time Mississippi Optometric Association (MOA) Executive Director Helen Allison St. Clair. Mrs. St. Clair served the MOA for more than 28 years and had a passion for optometry students and doctors. Her family and friends want her passion and service to optometry to live on in the awarding of annual stipends from the scholarship established in her name at the Mississippi Vision Foundation.

About the Mississippi Optometric Association (MOA):

The Mississippi Optometric Association, founded in 1947, represents more than 1,000 doctors of optometry, optometry students and paraoptometric assistants and technicians in 77 counties across the state.  Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures as well as diagnose related systemic conditions.  The mission of the profession of optometry is to fulfill the vision and eye care needs of the public through clinical care, research and education, all of which enhance the quality of life of patients.

About the Mississippi Vision Foundation (MVF):

The Mississippi Vision Foundation was first established in 1960 by the Mississippi Optometric Association. Its purpose is to engage in and work for the improvement of vision and eye care programs by establishing research and educational programs, providing scholarships for those seeking to join the optometric profession, and indigent eye care programs for the improvement and betterment of vision and eye care in Mississippi. Through the generosity of many Mississippi Doctors of Optometry and other contributors, underserved Mississippians are able to receive the eye care they need. Studies show that children who do not regularly receive eye exams and vision care are more likely to leave school without graduating, which contributes to the rise in Mississippi’s poverty rates.