Newswise — BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Growing up down the street from Charley Boswell, a World War II hero and golf champion who was blind, inspired Birmingham resident Kerry Stein, who was born without sight and participates annually in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry golf tournament.

“It’s easier if you’ve had no sight since birth than if you lose it as an adult because you don’t know what you’re missing,” Stein said. “But when you grow up in a public school with all sighted people, you want to be just like them.”

Stein has played golf his whole life.

“I felt like it was a game that I could learn,” Stein said. “I have had some great instructors over the years.”

For the third time, Stein competed alongside 62 other golfers in the UAB School of Optometry Dean’s Community Advisory Committee (DCAC) golf tournament to benefit scholarships, research and renovations for the school.

Stein was a member of this committee for many years.

“I was approached to be on the board by an optometrist who used to be at the school, and I felt like I would have some impact other sighted members would not have since I don’t have sight,” Stein said.

In the past decade, this annual tournament has raised enough money to endow a $100,000 research fund and three $25,000 scholarships. This year, the event brought in $17,000, and the money raised will be used for the school’s greatest needs.

“This fundraising event has a tradition of success over many years,” said Rod W. Nowakowski, O.D., Ph.D., dean of the School of Optometry. “We have many loyal participants who have enjoyed the camaraderie and the opportunity to help the school financially.”

Nowakowski says the funds raised have been vital to the school.

“Our research fund supports scientific and clinical investigations into disorders causing vision impairment and blindness,” Nowakowski said. “It is our hope and our dream that this research will eventually lead to new techniques for prevention and treatment.”

Knowing that this important work could one day help others who are blind keeps Stein involved with the School of Optometry.

“I feel like it’s a great school, and we need to continue to support it,” Stein said.

About UABKnown for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to education at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, the University of Alabama at Birmingham is an internationally renowned research university and academic medical center and the state of Alabama’s largest employer, with some 23,000 employees and an economic impact exceeding $5 billion annually on the state. The five pillars of UAB’s mission deliver knowledge that will change your world: the education of students, who are exposed to multidisciplinary learning and a new world of diversity; research, the creation of new knowledge; patient care, the outcome of ‘bench-to-bedside’ translational knowledge; service to the community at home and around the globe, from free clinics in local neighborhoods to the transformational experience of the arts; and the economic development of Birmingham and Alabama. Learn more at

EDITOR’S NOTE: The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a separate, independent institution from the University of Alabama, which is located in Tuscaloosa. Please use University of Alabama at Birmingham on first reference and UAB on all subsequent references.