On November 9, local eye surgeon John Hovanesian of Harvard Eye Associates will be receiving the nationally recognized Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America. He will receive the award during the council’s Leadership Breakfast at the Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach.

“The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award is a truly prestigious distinction in the Boy Scouts. While there have been over 4 million Eagle Scouts since 1911, fewer than 1,000 have been recognized with this award,“ said Jeff Herrmann, President & Scout Executive of the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America. The award is given to those who have made major contributions to their professional fields and are nationally or internationally recognized leaders. Nominees are considered at least 25 years after earning the Eagle Scout award as a youth. Previous recipients include Gerald Ford, Neil Armstrong, Steven Spielberg, and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.


“Scouting has had greater influence on me than any other activity of my youth” states Hovanesian. Growing up in Farmington, Michigan, he enjoyed plenty of campouts and hikes with Troop 179. “We had a really spirited though sometimes unorthodox patrol—the Gremlins. Being a patrol leader taught me that leaders need first to be servants. Working with other Scouts, I learned that doing the right thing is more important than always having all the right answers.”

After receiving his Eagle Award in 1982, Hovanesian decided he wanted to stay in the Scouting community, even while completing medical school and residency. After making the move to California to do a fellowship at UCLA, Hovanesian disconnected from Scouting for about 10 years, until he was married and had his first child. His now oldest son is about to become an Eagle Scout and his younger son and daughter may also soon follow in the Scouting footsteps.

Hovanesian, 51, who specializes in cataract, LASIK, and corneal surgery at Harvard Eye Associates, is a member of the clinical faculty at the UCLA Stein Eye Institute, has published two textbooks in ophthalmology and authored numerous peer-reviewed articles and surgical technique videos. He holds leadership positions with the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery and is regularly invited to speak at national and international meetings. He is also the cataract section editor for the most widely read eye surgery trade journal, Ocular Surgery News.

Hovanesian has spent considerable time with medical outreach. With the Armenian Eye Care Project, a southern California nonprofit, he travels annually to the former Soviet republic to perform and teach the newest techniques in surgery. He has also made volunteer surgical trips to Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and Fiji to treat the underserved population. As an eye surgeon, Hovanesian takes on enormous responsibility with every patient he sees. He believes, “There is no better mantra for a surgeon than to “help other people at all times”.  When we put our patient’s best interests first, we are bound for success.”

This special award presentation during the Orange County Council‘s annual Leadership Breakfast on November 9th at the Balboa Bay Resort is attended by local business leaders. The featured speaker at the luncheon, Rodney C. Sacks, Chairman and CEO of Monster Energy Company will share how his multi-billion-dollar company came to be while promoting the message of “developing visionary and ethical leaders”.

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