Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

  • Lillian C. O’Brien and Dr. C. S. O’Brien Chair in Ophthalmology

    O'Brien, C.S.Dr. C.S. O'Brien (Sept 27, 1889-Dec 11, 1977), Professor and Head, 1927 - 1947

    Cecil S. O’Brien was born in Manhattan, Indiana. He was recruited from private practice in 1925 as one of the first chairs of a department of ophthalmology that was independent of the Department of Surgery or Ear Nose and Throat. Following his appointment he trained in Vienna Austria and Prague funded by a Rockefeller Foundation grant for two years. In 1927 he returned to lead a three-man department of ophthalmology. During his tenure he gained international prominence as a clinician and educator. Dr. O’Brien, “Obie” as he was affectionately called, was a strict disciplinarian. He was revered by his “boys,” the residents of those days, but as was customary for residents studying under giants, he was also feared. Many of his residents became prominent in their own right. He resigned from the University in 1948.

    Dr. O'Brien married Lillian C. O'Brien in 1947, they were married until his death in 1977. Mrs. O'Brien never remarried; she died on May 17, 2006 in Tucson, Arizona; she was 102 years old.

    The Lillian C. O’Brien and Dr. C. S. O’Brien Chair in Ophthalmology was established in 2007 through gifts to the UI Foundation totalling more than $2 million. The majority of the gift resources were bequeathed by the estate of Lillian C. O'Brien of Tucson, Arizona; additional major support was provided through an estate gift from the late Martin P. Koke, M.D., of San Diego, California, who trained as a resident under Dr. O'Brien. The chair is intended to be used to honor and support the Head of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.

    The first recipient was Dr. Keith D. Carter, Professor and Head of Ophthalmology, who was honored during an investiture ceremony on May 17, 2007.