Business executive Thomas R. Sloan of Greensboro, N.C., received the Meliora Citation for Career Achievement from the University of Rochester on Oct. 21. Sloan earned his bachelor of science degree and master of science degrees in optics from the University in 1965 and in 1967, respectively.
Known for his civic contributions as well as his entrepreneurial activities, Sloan retired as chairman of Southern Optical Co. in 2002. The company, which manufactures optical lenses, was founded by his father in 1938. Sloan joined the company in 1970, selling and reacquiring it in the late 1980s before selling the company to French supplier Essilor in 1996. The Optical Laboratories Association named him an Optical Pioneer Honoree in 2001.
In January, Sloan became the chairman of SterlingSouth Bank & Trust Co. He was an initial member of the board of directors when the bank opened in late 2000. He also is chairman of Mercury MD Inc. and serves on the boards of Mediwave Star Technology Inc. and Precision Fabrics Group.
Sloan serves on a variety of community boards, including the Greensboro Jewish Federation, which honored him with its Ben Cone Award for Community Service in 1997. He also is on the boards of the Jewish Foundation of Greensboro and Triad Stage and is a trustee of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
He and Kathy N. Waller, chief of internal audit for the Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, each were honored with this year's Meliora Citation, the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering's prestigious alumni award for professional excellence, during Meliora Weekend. The annual celebration combines homecoming, reunion, and family weekend with quality speakers and events for alumni, students, parents, members of the University community, and the public. Meliora, meaning "always better," is the University's motto and is found at the center of its seal and emblazoned on many campus landmarks.