Alumni Feature: 2018’s Second Oldest Living Alumnus: Dr. Morey Powell

Since graduating in 1936, the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) has almost been a way of life for Dr. Morey X. Powell. The centenarian who turns 103-years-old later this month, still has a sharp memory and mind and can vividly recall moments from his days at PCO.
Morey Powell and MittelmanIt was during a visit to Florida in the beginning of 2017 with Salus University President Dr. Michael Mittelman and Lynne Corboy, MS, director of Institutional Advancement that Dr. Powell reminisced about his days as a student – talking about his favorite teacher – physiology professor William J. Tait, OD - and retelling a funny lab moment. “He was a physiology teacher, and I loved him,” he said. “I also loved Dr. [Isador] Kaplan, he was a very good physician to begin with - he taught anatomy.” He also referenced attending classes alongside Lawrence Fitch, OD ’36 who was President of PCO from 1960 through 1972.
Dr. Powell has remained a very active alumnus, a dedication that began while he was a student more than 80 years ago. He was involved in clubs, initially served as president of his class and later as president of the Alumni Association and chairman of the Planned Giving Committee.
He has also maintained an equally steadfast commitment to the profession and to vision causes nationwide. He was an active member of the American Optometric Association’s Social and Health Care Trends Committee for ten years and is a past president of the Pennsylvania Optometric Association (POA) and the Central Pennsylvania Optometric Society. Indeed, in 1977, he was the recipient of the POA’s Optometrist of the Year award.
Powell Yearbook PhotoDr. Powell is also one of the founders of the Vision Conservation Institute and has served as vice chairman of the Governor’s Advisory Committee for the Blind. “Dr. Powell was a pioneer in fitting contact lenses (glass and plastic) and was one of the first doctors to actually fenestrate (make holes) in lenses to allow oxygen to get to the cornea,” said Dr. Mittelman following his visit last year.
The notable health enthusiast was well respected among his peers, patients and the community at large now and during his nearly 70 years of dedication to the optometric profession. He also once served as an examiner for the National Board of Examiners in Optometry; as a merit badge examiner for the Boy Scouts of America, and his memberships included the Lions Research Committee of Pennsylvania; the Royal Society of Health; the American Public Health Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 
His world has encompassed many fascinating hobbies as well. An avid jewelry maker, he has actually excavated, polished and finished the stones he has used. From sports car racing, to hi-fi electronics, photography, flying airplanes, parachuting, and sky diving, Dr. Powell is the embodiment of the modern Renaissance man - he even played semi-pro baseball.
In recognition and appreciation of Dr. Powell’s dedication and generosity, PCO in 1967 named one of the dormitory buildings on the Oak Lane Campus in his honor. Ten years later, he was honored with the Alumni Association’s Albert Fitch Memorial Alumnus of the year. In 1998, when PCO moved from the Oak Lane campus to Elkins Park, Pa., the first level of the South Wing in the main building was dedicated in appreciation of his leadership support to the New Horizons Capital Campaign for his many contributions to the life and the vitality of PCO. Beside his plaque is a portrait of him and his late wife, Dorothy.

Group Photo from  Yearbook
Back Row: Kramer, Sobel, Powell, Fitch, Wagner
Additionally, one of the University’s newest classrooms, which is adjacent to the optometric Clinical Skills Lab, will be dedicated this summer. “We spent two hours talking about his time at PCO and beyond. The high point of the day was conducting a virtual dedication ceremony, over FaceTime, as we named the classroom in the new clinical procedures suite after Dr. and Mrs. Powell in honor of their service to the profession and philanthropic support to PCO,” Dr. Mittelman said about his time with Dr. Powell.
From his humble beginnings to achieving the “American dream” and becoming extremely successful – he said, “it all started with the school - I loved it because I learned a lot. I am grateful for the education I received from PCO, which allowed me to have such a fulfilling career, and I am impressed with the institution,” Dr. Powell said in 2004. 

Powell Reunion 2005
Powell at the 2005 Alumni Reunion