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Acknowledging the Pioneer

Adams, Anthony J.

Optometry and Vision Science: June 2012 - Volume 89 - Issue 6 - p 825
doi: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e31825c9f07

Editor-in-Chief; Berkeley, California

Professions, including the academic and research professions, have always recognized the importance of acknowledging those among them who have pioneered their field or profession in some very fundamental and extraordinary way. We see these people as “giants” in our field.

The Academy of Optometry, like many proud professions and organizations, has a long history of routinely paying tribute to such colleagues and does so annually with its impressive Awards and Award ceremonies.

Rarely do we see the passing of one so worthy of the term “giant” and “pioneer” as Irvin Borish. Irv passed away on March 2012 in his 100th year of an extraordinarily accomplishment-packed life. The title “Father of Optometry” is hardly an exaggeration. In April 2012, Optometry and Vision Science paid tribute (OVS News) to this incredible man and his life full of contributions.

Irv contributed in so many ways to the development of our profession, its practice, its independent research agenda, and its nourishment. So many of us have been touched by him personally and by his professional persona in optometry. Optometric institutions around the country have been strengthened by the life-long generosity of his mind, clinical skills, mentorship, passionate professional thinking, and personal resources. Lectureships, Research Centers, AAO and AOF Clinical and Research Fellowships, and Professorial Chairs carry his name. He was the inaugural inductee into Optometry's Hall of Fame. In July 2007, Optometry and Vision Science carried a profile of Irvin Borish written by Kenneth Polse.1 I commend it to you for a revisit at this time. In April 2010, an entire issue of Optometry and Vision Science was dedicated to highlighting the accomplishments of Irvin M. and Beatrice Borish Awardees since the inception, in 1996, of the Award in Borish's honor.2 This is also a great read and a marvelous perspective on the “multiplier factor” that so characterized Irv's impact.

In our Guest Editorial, the Academy President, Karla Zadnik, provides a very personal tribute and reflection on Irv Borish. So many of us will be able to relate this. It is very touching and beautifully reveals the passion and warm personality of a great man. The stories of Irv's warmth and passion will be retold many hundreds of times over a very long period. He touched us in a very special and lasting way.

We will always miss you Irv. But we will never forget you.

Anthony J. Adams


Berkeley, California

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1. Polse KA. Irvin Max Borish: optometric ambassador of the 20th century. Optom Vis Sci 2007;84:552–8.
2. Adams AJ. Discovery in optometry: Borish Awardees' perspectives. Optom Vis Sci 2010;87:223–4.
© 2012 American Academy of Optometry