RODNEY 'ROD' NOWAKOWSKI
2016 Hawthorne Lane
Birmingham, AL 35244
Doctor of Optometry
After high school, I attended Florida State University for two years, dropped out and became a professional lifeguard. About a year and one-half later it dawned on me that there were probably better career choices and I enrolled at the University of Miami. After graduation, I taught mathematics at Miami Senior High School (oops!) for one year and then spent a little time in the Army. Returned to the U of M for a Master's in Mathematics and subsequently moved to Birmingham, Alabama to attend Optometry School at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center. Graduated in 1975 and joined the faculty where I presently serve as Chief of Staff for a large multidisciplinary eye clinic within the Medical Center. Early in my career, I established an affiliated eye clinic on the campus of the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind. My work at that clinic with children who had hereditary eye disease fueled an interest in genetics and I earned a Ph.D. in Medical Genetics (1989), but I think I have had enough school now.
My wife Debi and I were married in 1980. She serves as Director of the Department of Family Services at The Children's Hospital of Alabama. We have one cat, Sam. Although we don't have children of our own, we think we have many since we have both dedicated the major part of our careers to working with children who have visual disabilities as well as acute and chronic illnesses. For several years during the 90's I played in a Pop/Rock Band called "Rod and the Cones" (get it?). The band evolved to a jazz trio that, until recently, played in various venues around Birmingham. I still get a few duo gigs with another guitarist. I also enjoy oil painting and every now and then someone actually buys one! For you Cotillion graduates, I was asked to provide some information about my parents, which may appear elsewhere on this site. I wish all of you the very best! Sincerely, Rod