Jan. 22, 2010 | Stepping out of the UAMS Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute first-floor elevator doors and around the corner, its founding director was greeted by more than 200 family, friends and colleagues and a hearty round of applause.
The unveiling of the John P. Shock, M.D., Welcome Center near the entrance to the structure he’s credited with building had been kept a secret until that point, but then the celebration was on.
“Oh my word,” said a surprised Shock, as he meandered through the crowd toward the freshly built welcome center bearing his name. “What in the world? This is fantastic.”
The words were muffled by the cheers and applause of those crowded into the first-floor lobby to pay tribute to Shock, who stepped down from his position after more than 30 years at UAMS making his Jones Eye Institute dream a reality. On Jan. 1, Shock handed the reins to the Jones Eye Institute to Christopher Westfall, M.D., but he will still work in a supportive and clinical role full time.
Read more about the history of Shock’s career and legacy.
The John P. Shock Welcome Center is near the first-floor entrance to the Jones Eye Institute, directly opposite the optical shop. It will act as an extension of the nearby patient waiting area and features:
Speakers at Thursday’s event included Dan Rahn, M.D., UAMS chancellor; Romona Davis, M.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology; Richard Harper, M.D., professor of ophthalmology and director of the Low Vision Clinic; and Westfall, who explained the day’s event.
“We all gathered to try to come up with a fitting way to pay tribute to the first 30 years of Dr. Shock’s amazing career,” Wesfall said. “I think we’ve succeeded in doing that and we look forward to what the next 30 years will bring.”
Westfall credited Harper with the idea for the tribute, and Harper explained the relevance of the patient welcome center.
“Patient care has always been a hallmark of Dr. Shock’s career,” Harper said. “He led and taught by example, and that will always stick with me and many others who have trained in his presence. … Perhaps this room can be a symbol to the very real effort made at JEI to connect with its patients.”
Davis read a letter written by Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, who could not be in attendance but wanted to pay tribute to Shock. In the letter, Beebe thanked Shock for setting a “powerful example of leadership, commitment and compassion to which we can all aspire.”
Rahn said Shock’s contributions stretched far beyond his ophthalmologic contributions.
“He’s made quite a name for himself and for UAMS as an ophthalmologist, but this is also a celebration of everything he contributed to the College of Medicine and to education and to everyone he’s touched during his career,” Rahn said. “I’m glad he’s staying around and I will get a chance to continue building our relationship.”
Westfall then turned the podium over to Shock, who thanked many, including the monumental contributions from the likes of Bernice Jones and Pat Walker, and his family and colleagues.
“I’ll say this, today is a total surprise and I can’t think of anything nicer that can be done,” Shock said. “Out of everything we’ve accomplished, I can easily sum it up by saying I’m most proud of the people who work here and what we do every day to contribute to education, patient care and research. I’m very lucky to be surrounded by such a talented group of people.”