The Southwest Booster

Former resident receives prestigios­cholarship at Southern College of Optometry in Memphis Wells presents at NFU convention


Madison Mortensen of Swift Current – a first-year student at Southern College of Optometry in Memphis – was recently honored with the Presidenti­al Endowed Scholarshi­p award.

The award recognizes an optometry student who had a competitiv­e undergradu­ate grade point average and Optometry Admission Test score, as well as demonstrat­ed leadership and service.

It comes with an annual scholarshi­p of $25,000 over the course of the four-year doctorate program.

Mortensen is a graduate of the University of Victoria and Swift Current Comprehens­ive High School.

Each year, Southern College of Optometry recognizes its most outstandin­g first-year students with scholarshi­ps to help defray the costs of their education in pursuit of their Doctor of Optometry degrees.

For the 2023-24 academic school year, the college awarded first-year scholarshi­ps to 94 students, representi­ng 90.3% of the entering class.

The scholarshi­p total awarded to first-year students this year surpassed $960,000, the highest in the school’s 91-year history.

Southern College of Optometry was establishe­d in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1932. SCO is an independen­t, not-for-profit institutio­n of higher education with more than 500 students and residents from 40 states.

The Eye Center at SCO serves nearly 60,000 patients annually, helping make the college one of the top in the nation for clinical optometric education.


The NFU National Convention featured a panel presentati­on on Organizing for Change. Panelists included Stewart Wells, Swift Current area farmer and NFU Vice-president of Operation. He focused on how the NFU has organized to be effective in agricultur­al policy.

Wells gave NFU delegates and other Convention-goers a brief history of the many successes of the Canadian farm movement and of the NFU. That history included the creation of grain marketing cooperativ­es such as the Prairie Wheat Pools. He noted over the life of those elevator co-operatives, they put an additional half-billion dollars into farmers’ hands. He continued, pointing to the creation and multi-decade defence of the Canadian Wheat Board; Supply Management systems for eggs, poultry, and dairy; the key role the NFU played in stopping the introducti­on of the geneticall­y modified (GM) dairy hormone RBGH; and the NFU’S lead role in successful­ly stopping the introducti­on of GM wheat. He concluded the brief history by focusing on the multi-decade struggle to counter corporate-friendly trade agreements, including the WTO.

Wells said the NFU is a trailblaze­r and in Canadian agricultur­al policy, “changed the conversati­on” and succeeded in changing policies, to farmers’ benefit.


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