Campaign for Berkeley Optometry
UC Berkeley's School of Optometry — the only program of its kind at a public university in the west — consistently ranks as one of the best schools for optometric education in the nation. Berkeley's school combines didactic and clinical education with groundbreaking research into the causes and cures for blindness and other vision disorders. The $20-million campaign for the School of Optometry will strengthen support for faculty recruitment and research, establish a world-class surgical center and upgrade facilities, create new student scholarships, and help prepare the next generation of optometrists and optometric educators.
Private support is critical to maintaining the excellence of Berkeley's programs. Endowed faculty chairs and other recruitment incentives will ensure the preeminence of the faculty; scholarships for high-achieving students will enable Berkeley to recruit top candidates regardless of their financial means; building a world-class surgical center will benefit students and the Bay Area community; and substantial, targeted renovations to upgrade facilities in Minor Hall will contribute to preparing future doctors with the knowledge and clinical skills necessary for caring for the vision of their patients or pursuing research and teaching.
The School of Optometry is not only committed to academic excellence, but also to public service locally and globally. Optometry faculty, students, staff, and alumni are engaged in volunteer projects in China, India, and Guatemala, as well as in Oakland and the farms of California's Central Valley. Private support will advance the research of faculty and graduate students in the areas of diabetes, children's vision, age-related macular degeneration, and corneal transplantation — research that will ultimately improve the lives of people facing health-care disparities in disadvantaged communities in the United States and around the world.
The faculty at Berkeley Optometry constitute a prestigious group of educators and researchers. We have a long tradition of groundbreaking investigation into the origins of vision disorders and the development of improved diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of visual defects and diseases.
Many Berkeley Optometry faculty have international reputations and are recipients of prestigious awards. Some researchers have held important appointments in governmental agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, while others consult with private organizations that support research for the prevention of visual impairments and sight-threatening conditions. Our students therefore have the opportunity to learn from recognized leaders in the field of clinical optometry and vision science.
Faculty members in the School of Optometry come from around the world — South Africa, Australia, Germany, China, Taiwan, and Canada — and from elite private universities within the United States to teach at UC Berkeley. These top scholars chose Berkeley despite the fact that average salaries often lag 20 percent or more behind peer institutions.
Gifts for Endow Chairs and Recruitment Incentives
While the strength of our mission and the quality of our education help us to recruit top faculty, the University must do more to remain competitive.
A gift to create an endowed chair at the School of Optometry would ensure another secured faculty position in perpetuity, bolstering the school's ability to compete for exceptional faculty. Funding for faculty start-up costs and other recruitment incentives will enable Berkeley to continue to draw outstanding educators — regardless of the economic climate. Help us maintain the excellence of our faculty to benefit generations of optometry students.
Advancing Vision Research
Vision research at UC Berkeley involves a robust, interdisciplinary group of faculty, researchers, and graduate students from departments across the campus.
Ground-breaking research — spanning Optometry, Adaptive Optics, Bioengineering, Chemistry, Epidemiology, Infectious Disease, Molecular & Cell Biology, Neuroscience, Perception, Psychology, and Public Health - includes:
- Investigations of the pathogenesis of bacterial infections of the cornea (Suzanne Fleiszig, OD, PhD);
- Cell and molecular biology of inherited retinal degenerations (John Flannery, PhD);
- Mechanisms underlying refractive development, and the connection between myopia and retinal pathology (Christine Wildsoet, OD, PhD);
- Clinical pyschophysics and basic aspects of human color vision, changes in vision with age, achromatopsia, and electrodiagnostics (Gunilla Haegerstrom-Portnoy, OD, PhD);
- Perception of visual forms and patterns, and the degradation of form perception by abnormal visual experience (Dennis Levi, OD, PhD);
- Intervention methods to delay or prevent aging- and disease-related vision loss (Xiaohua Gong, PhD);
- Adaptive optics and clinical applications for microscopic retinal imaging and the structure and function of the visual system (Austin Roorda, PhD);
- The neural bases of perception, attention, and learning in the human visual system (Michael Silver, PhD);
- Neurophysiological investigations of circuitry in central visual pathways (Ralph Freeman, OD, PhD);
- Mathematical and computational models of brain function (Bruno Olshausen, PhD);
- Molecular and cellular mechanisms of ocular inflammation and immunity (Lu Chen, MD, PhD);
- Dietary regulation and mechanisms of action of resident circuits that maintain essential and normal ocular inflammation (Karsten Gronert, PhD);
- Rehabilitation strategies using peripheral vision to aid low-vision patients (Susana Chung, MScOptom, PhD);
- Ocular surface physiology, and genetic and environmental factors on non-contact-lens-induced dry eye (Meng C. Lin, OD, PhD).
Berkeley Optometry professors and students remain at the cutting edge of vision science in the 21st century, benefiting millions of people globally with advances in optometric research.
For more detailed information about faculty research, see Vision Science Faculty Directory.
For funds established in honor of particular faculty, see Giving to Vision Science.
Help us envision a healthy future!
Training the next generation of optometrists and optometry educators
The School of Optometry seeks to provide scholarships to all excellent students seeking a degree in optometry. Now is the time to support scholarships because the University has promised $10 million in matching funds for new scholarship endowments for graduate students — a commitment that significantly leverages gifts to the school. When matched, a $500,000 endowed gift for scholarships, for example, would fund the entire studies of an optometry student for one year — and many more students in perpetuity.
Scholarships are especially important for students who intend to become optometry educators. Because the vast majority of students seek a degree to enable clinical practice, the nation is facing a shortage of optometrists who are qualified to teach at the graduate level. New scholarships will reduce the burden of debt and enable more students to choose a path that leads to teaching.
How do I give?
- Internet: Give Online (or click on "Give Now" button below)
- By Phone: 510-642-1877
- By Mail: Send your check (made payable to Berkeley Optometry Annual Fund) to:
Office of External Relations, School of Optometry, 302 Minor Addition, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-2020
Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/BerkeleyOptometryAlumni
Office of External Relations
397 Minor Hall, #2020
Berkeley, CA 94720-2020