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In Memoriam: Former Optometry Dean and Provost Jerald W. Strickland

By Laurie Fickman 713-743-8454

Former University of Houston provost, dean of the College of Optometry and assistant vice chancellor for International Studies and Programs, Jerald W. Strickland, who served as an optometry officer in the U.S. Air Force Medical Service Corp, has passed at the age of 87.

Jerald W. Strickland 1936-2024

For more than 35 years, Dean Strickland served the University of Houston as the proudest of Cougars, building a career distinguished by a record of national accomplishment in optometry, vision science and community service.  

“Dean Strickland's career in optometric education is marked by his wisdom, institutional commitment and exceptional leadership,” said Michael Twa, current dean of the UH College of Optometry. “We strive to live up to his example every day.” 

Strickland began his career at UH in 1979, serving as professor of Optometry and Vision Science. Following his tenure as dean of the UH College of Optometry from 1991 to 2003, he was interim senior vice chancellor/senior vice president for academic affairs and provost of UH from 2003 to 2005 before assuming the role of associate vice chancellor/associate vice president for International Studies and Programs associate vice chancellor/associate vice president for International Studies and Programs. 

“Jerald Strickland’s remarkable contributions to the advancement of optometry and the University of Houston are simply unparalleled,” said UH President Renu Khator. “He stepped up when I needed him to serve as interim provost, and our College of Optometry, which is among the best in the country, today, stands on the incredible foundation he built as a professor, dean, compassionate optometrist and man of service. He will be sorely missed but never forgotten.” 

A native of Indiana, Dean Strickland received his undergraduate, professional and doctorate degrees from Indiana University, Bloomington.  

In 1995, he was appointed by the Texas Commissioner of Higher Education to the Health Professions Education Advisory Committee to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and also served as president of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry from 1997-98.  
In May 2001, Dr. Strickland was elected as the founding president of the board of trustees of the World Optometry Foundation, Inc., in which he also served as vice president until June 2006. Dean Strickland retired in August 2014 and was appointed Professor Emeritus of Optometry.   

Dean Strickland is survived by his wife, Rose Cecile, four children, five grandchildren and one great grandson. 

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