College of Optometry Associate Professor Bennett McAllister, OD, FAAO

College of Optometry Associate Professor Bennett McAllister, OD, FAAO, joined WesternU in 2010.

What is your fondest memory of the College of Optometry professionally and/or personally? What do you love about the College? 

Each day at the College of Optometry is an opportunity to make that next favorite memory; a hallway chat with a colleague, exploring a student’s thinking, cheering a patient, asking how a staff member is doing… I am always on the lookout for my next favorite moment.

Why did you choose the College? 

I felt it was my time to give back more when I reached my mid-50s. I looked for a place with a culture that, while maintaining scientific excellence, the essential foundation of our profession, also strove to emphasize the aspects of humanity and caring that complete the triad of healthy, successful professionalism. The College of Optometry is that place.

Why did you choose the profession of optometry? 

That’s an easy question. Optometry is THE helping profession wherein one can positively change lives while still having a life of one’s own.

What are your passions outside optometry?  Passion projects? 

Music! Making music with my cello, singing throughout the day and using music to tap into a core where only music can take one.

Cycling! I ride so I know what I think (to paraphrase Daniel Boorstin, the 12th librarian of Congress who said “I write so I know what I think”). Cycling is good for the body, mind and spirit and sets the tone for a reflective life. One can never be in a hurry to get somewhere on a bike.

What is your go-to song or artist on your playlist? What is the last concert you went to? 

Waaaaay too many songs to name just one. That’s why I have satellite radio presets. No matter where I travel, my mood can be fed: jazz, classical, gospel, blues, Sinatra, rock, love… The last concert to which I went was one where I was on stage playing my cello with the La Verne Symphony Orchestra. Come see us next season!

If you found $20 what would you do with it? 

Drop it in the collection plate of a charity that actually lives out its creed.

What is your favorite vacation spot? Or what is your dream vacation spot? Why? 

I found that going somewhere is not the thing; people are the thing and almost wherever you go, there they are!

Anything you want to share about your experience over the last year? Any tips on how you are adapting to social distancing, online learning, working off campus, caring for patients amid this pandemic, administering vaccines?  

I didn’t really learn anything new…well maybe except that people cling to the idea that they need control and want to control others when they are afraid. Never mind that control is an illusion. This last year has been only the third most severe worldwide pandemic through which I have lived (1957 flu and 1968 flu being the others). Life goes on but life needs human contact, something I hope we realize was a huge casualty in our collective COVID-19 response.