Joseph M. Babcock Sr., O.D.

Joseph M. Babcock Sr., O.D. Joseph M. Babcock, Sr., O.D., of Ohio, has often been referred to as "Mr. Optometry" and was considered one of the most dedicated, humble, and hardworking optometrists. For his years of leadership and work with the AOA, he was honored with the formation of the Babcock Memorial Archives.

He began his career in 1916 when he formed a partnership with James Bennett. Dr. Babcock maintained a strong local, state and national leadership role, serving as secretary for the Ohio Optometric Association for 20 consecutive years, and as Vice President. The American Optometric Association appointed him as the Director of National Affairs during and following World War II. Dr. Babcock was well-respected by not only his peers, but leaders in Washington, DC, including President Franklin Roosevelt, who selected him as advisor to the Healing Arts Educational Advisory Committee.

Because Dr. Babcock understood the need for optometry's representation within the military, he worked to gain parity within the Armed Services, and was successful in securing draft deferments for optometric students. He was instrumental in the Optometry Corps bill presented to the House of Representatives, and the formation of an optometry section in the Medical Service Corps within each branch of the armed services. Additionally, he helped win optometrists the status of Commissioned Officer.

Dr. Babcock's other contributions to the AOA include serving on the Board of Trustees for several years, including Trustee Advisor to the Professional Advancement Program; Member, Committee on Social and Health Care Trends; Member, Department of Legal Affairs; Trustee Consultant, Committee on Occupational Vision; Trustee Consultant, Committee on Post-War Planning for Visual Care; and Third Vice President.

His rewards and recognition include Honorary Life Membership to the AOA and the Gold Medal Award by Beta Sigma Kappa in 1949. He was a founding and contributing member to the Sheard Foundation, established for the purpose of erecting an optometry building at The Ohio State University.

His leadership also led to victories within the social security law, and many of the privileges given to optometrists today were made possible by Dr. Babcock's tireless devotion to and passion for the profession.