McAllen optometrist named chair of higher education board

Fred Farias III

A McAllen optometrist is one of two appointed to new positions on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board by Gov. Greg Abbott.

Fred Farias III, an optometrist from McAllen, will serve as chair of the board for a term set to expire at the pleasure of the governor.

The announcement was made Thursday via news release.

Donna N. Williams, vice president and program manager for Parsons Transportation Group Inc. in Arlington, will serve alongside Farias as vice chair.

“The board provides leadership and coordination for the Texas higher education system,” the news release read.

Farias is CEO of 20/20 Vision Care and has served on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board since 2015.

He is currently vice chairman of the board, chairman of the Academic and Workforce Success Committee and a member of the Texas Higher Education Foundation.

The newly appointed chair is also a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, former president of the Texas Optometric Association and the Rio Grande Valley Optometric Society.

Farias was named Texas Optometrist of the Year in 2015 and National Optometrist of the Year in 2016.

In addition to his accomplishments, Farias is an active member in the McAllen community, serving as chair of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Council.

He has served on many local and statewide boards including the Vannie E. Cook Cancer Center, the Rio Grande Valley Arthritis Foundation and the Museum of South Texas History.

Farias received a bachelor’s degree of science from the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s degree from Harvard Medical School and a doctorate of optometry from Southern College of Optometry.

Williams received a bachelor’s of science in mechanical engineering from Prairie View A&M University.

The newly appointed vice chair is currently vice chair of the Academic and Workforce Success Committee.

She was also a member of the Texas State University System Board of Regents where she served as chair for two terms.