The life of Dr. J. Davis Armistead, our building's namesake, encompasses broad and significant accomplishments to the country, the optometric profession, the community and higher education.
A veteran of World War II, Dr. Armistead went on to establish a successful optometry practice in Lubbock. A firm believer in the importance of giving back, he served on a variety of civic, professional, service, and business boards and organizations, including membership in the prestigious National Academy of Practice, an advisory group to the U.S. Congress.
A champion and advocate for the profession of optometry and higher education in Texas, Dr. Armistead's efforts on behalf of UHCO spanned five decades. A true visionary, his quest for an optometry school in Texas led to the establishment of UHCO in 1952. From 1971-1983, during the time the Armistead Building was being completed, he served the UH System as a Regent, the first and only optometrist to date to serve two terms. During the 1990’s he was elected President of the Foundation for Education and Research in Vision (FERV) helping to raise critical funds for optometry student scholarships and program support. During the 2000’s and up until his passing, he remained involved in the life of the college and the optometric profession and visited Houston regularly to see friends, colleagues and students.
Armistead’s life encompassed broad and significant accomplishments to the country, the optometric profession, the community and higher education. Amid all this service, he established a successful optometry practice in Lubbock in 1948 until his retirement in 1991. Armistead is known as the “image maker” of Buddy Holly for the dark-rimmed glasses he prescribed and prepared for Holly, who was his patient from junior high up until the time of the rock star’s death in 1959.
In September 1993, the UH College of Optometry Building was named the J. Davis Armistead Building in honor and recognition of his tireless and enduring efforts benefiting the college, the university and the profession.
Dr. Armistead passed away at the age of 98 in June 2014 and his wife, Cora passed away at the age of 99 in spring 2016.
The Cora and J. Davis Armistead Faculty Teaching Award Endowment, created in 2000, honors UHCO faculty who exemplify excellence in education. The J. Davis Presidential Endowed Scholarship, established in 2000, provides scholarships for students in the optometry program who demonstrate clinical and academic excellence.