"The Glowing Promise of the Future: Indiana University and the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute"

Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute Groundbreaking Ceremony
(Tent outside) Fesler Hall
Indianapolis, Indiana
October 7, 2008

Introduction: Growth, Pride, and Wonder

In a 1907 address to the American Medical Association, ophthalmologist Alvin Hubbell said: “Out of the germinating stages of the dim and distant past [ophthalmology] has emerged as a vital part of the great body of medicine...grow[ing] by accretion and assimilation of countless experiences,..., until to-day it has attained a degree of perfection, a proportion of completeness that are the pride, if not the wonder, of our whole profession.”1

Indeed, the growth, pride, and wonder of which Dr. Hubbell spoke over a century ago continue to this day as we celebrate the groundbreaking of the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute.

A Century of Sight

This magnificent addition to the IU School of Medicine will caps a century of progress in ophthalmology at Indiana University as we celebrate the centennial of the Department of Ophthalmology.

During the course of the last hundred years, human sight itself has expanded into realms before unimagined. We need only look to scientific developments like the satellite, technology like the television, or medical instruments like the MRI to see this expansion. And with these developments, our understanding of the universe has increased vastly as well.

All of these developments are predicated on the very fact that people can see.

Yet, according to a recent study, blindness affects well over 3 million Americans over 40, or about 1 in 282, and every 11 minutes, an American goes blind.3 A 2007 study estimates that costs associated with adult vision problems in the United States amount to $51.4 billion annually4.

The public health consequences of visual impairment only hint at the emotional toll such impairment can have on an individual, a family, and even a community.5

The Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute: A Center for Innovation

The magnitude of this public health issue suggests the tremendous potential the Glick Eye Institute has as a center for innovation in ophthalmology.

The Institute’s world-class specialists will have an impact far beyond this Institute as they investigate new methods for treating or curing glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, pediatric eye disorders, and many other diseases of the eye.

The creation of the Institute marks the beginning of a second century of progress that aims towards better health for all Hoosiers and for many others who do not have the good fortune to live in Indiana.

A Tradition of Giving: Marilyn and Eugene Glick

It also symbolizes the remarkable generosity of the Glick family. With gifts to organizations ranging from the Children’s Bureau to the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, from the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the IMA to United Way, the Glicks have dedicated themselves to building great traditions of giving within Indianapolis.

That, of course, is in addition to the great building they have done in Indianapolis.

The Glicks’ generosity has been a transformative element at Indiana University, where they have helped support the Wells Scholars Program, have given to Riley Children’s Hospital, have supported the Kelley School, the Herron School, and a number of other schools both here and in Bloomington.

And now they have provided the resources for this eye institute named in their honor. They have joined families like the Lillys, the Krannerts, and the Longs, whose names will forever be woven into the fabric of this great university.

This gift also represents Mrs. Glick’s nearly three decades of dedication as a vocal and influential advocate for enhancing vision research and care throughout the state. It represents the Glicks’ dedication to the city of Indianapolis, and it represents their visionary spirit.

Gene and Marilyn, on behalf of Indiana University, please accept our deepest gratitude for your generosity.

Conclusion: The Promise of the Future

By way of conclusion, I would like to return briefly to the words of Dr. Hubbell with whom we began.

Near the conclusion of his address, he said, “As to [ophthalmology’s] future, there is every reason to believe that, with the new intellectual and scientific life that has been infused into it; with the inexhaustible clinical and pathologic resources at command; with the stimulation to research work . . . ; and with a literature of such high excellence..., the outlook [for ophthalmology] is resplendent with bright prospects and alluring promises.” 6

Indeed, as we break ground on the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute, the future here at Indiana University glows with promise as well.

Thank you very much.

Source Notes

  1. Hubbell, Alvin Allace. The Development of Ophthalmology in America 1800 to 1870: a Contribution to Ophthalmologic History and Biography. Chicago: W.T. Keener, 1908. Page 11. This publication is an expanded and revised version of an address delivered before the section of Ophthalmology at the American Medical Association meeting, June 4, 1907.
  2. The Eye Diseases Prevalence Research Group. “Causes and Prevalence of Visual Impairment Among Adults in the United States.” Archives of Ophthalmology 122.4 (2004): 477-85. From page 477. In 2005, the National Eye Institute estimated the annual cost of vision impairment to be approximately $60 billion (direct and indirect costs including transportation, lost work. . . .), so the $51.4 billion is actually conservative.
  3. Prevent Blindness America. http://preventblindness.org Accessed 4 Oct. 2008.
  4. Prevent Blindness America. “Vision Problems in the U.S.: Prevalence of Adult Vision Impairment and Age-Related Eye Disease in America: 2008 Update to the Fourth Edition.” 2008
  5. See for instance, Psychosomatics 40:4, July-August 1999, Blindness, Fear of Sight Loss, and Suicide DIEGO DE LEO, M.D., PH.D., PORTIA A. HICKEY, GAIA MENEGHEL, M.D., CHRISTOPHER H. CANTOR, M.B., B.S., MRCPSYCH, FRANZP: 339-44. http://psy.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/reprint/40/4/339.pdf accessed October 5, 2008.
  6. Hubbell, page 197.