Establishing an endowed chair in honor of

Ronald E. Smith, MD

To recognize and celebrate an extraordinary career in medicine, research, and academia is to endow a chair in that person’s name. Unquestionably, Dr. Ronald E. Smith earned the honor.

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Great Doctors are Trained by Great Leaders

Ronald E. Smith, MD

Doheny Eye Institute is inching closer to its fund-raising goal for The Ronald E. Smith, MD, Endowed Chair in Ophthalmic Education. In April 2014, due to the alumni inquiries, Doheny Eye Institute announced the establishment of a memorial fund to honor of Dr. Smith, who passed away on March 17 of that year, at age 71, still active in his career as a learned physician and educator in ophthalmology.

Dr. Smith’s colleagues, John A. Irvine, MD, a Doheny cornea specialist like Dr. Smith, and Alfredo Sadun MD, PhD, would like to raise the $2,000,000 for an endowed chair named after Dr. Smith.  “There has been significant early support for this effort” says Dr. Irvine, who hopes to build the endowment in large part from contributions from alumni of the Doheny Eye Institute. These are many of the people whose careers and lives Dr. Smith touched.

An endowed chair supports a faculty position where the person selected to hold the chair represents the philosophy and intentions of the individual for whom it is named.  The gifts in memory of Dr. Smith are placed in a fund in which the corpus remains intact and is invested, while income from the fund supports the faculty member selected as the occupant of the Chair.

“Dr. Smith brought out the best in people,” recalls Dr. Irvine. “He encouraged people to become the best clinicians, researchers, and leaders possible.” It’s fair to say that he helped shape the career of tens of thousands of ophthalmologists throughout his career. “The luckiest were the ones who passed through Doheny Eye Institute as medical residents and fellows,” adds Dr. Irvine. “He taught them how to care for and about both the patients and one another. He was an educator par excellence.”

At the time of his death, Dr. Smith was enthusiastic about the new affiliation with UCLA and poised to lead the transition of the faculty into the new academic and clinical enterprise with the Jules Stein Eye Institute.

Dr. Ronald E. Smith guided largely by example

Leadership Roles

Executive Committee, Doheny Eye Hospital, 1985-1990

Chair, Long-Range Planning Committee, Doheny Eye Institute, 1987-2008

Chief of Staff, Doheny Eye Hospital, 1988-1990

Member, Board of Directors, Braille Institute of America, 1982-2013

Vice President, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology , 1993-1994

Secretary for Global Alliances, American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2008-2012

President, American Uveitis Society, 1984-1993

Member, American University Professors of Ophthalmology, 1980-2014

President, Castroviejo Cornea Society (The Cornea Society), 1994-1995

Chair, Selection Committee, Helen Keller Prize for Vision Research, 2009 – 2014

Board of Scientific Counselors, National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health, 1995-2002

President, Doheny Eye Hospital Medical Staff, 1985-1990

Chair, Research Advisory Committee, Doheny Eye Institute, 1988-2000

Member, Continuous Improvement Council, Doheny Eye Institute, 1992-1997

Member, Board of Directors, Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, 1983-2014

President, American Academy of Ophthalmology, 1994

President, Los Angeles Society of Ophthalmology, 2004-2005

President, Pacific Coast Oto-Ophthalmological Society, 1991

Chair, American Board of Ophthalmology, 1998

Chair, National Medical & Scientific Advisory Committee, Tissue Banks International, 2001-2014

Board of Directors, Pan-American Ophthalmological Foundation, 2006-2014

Charles Stewart Warren and Hildegard Warren Professor and Chairman, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology at the Doheny Eye Institute, 1995-2012

Medical Director, Doheny Eye Institute, 2013-2014

An Endowed Chair?

An Endowed Chair is a prestigious award given to an individual whose work and scholarship are worthy of the person for whom the Chair is named and whose excellence in the field will advance those ideals.

If you knew Ron Smith, your gift is a wonderful way to remember his remarkable achievements. If you simply understand the power of scholarship and dedication to one’s field and community, your gift bears out your commitment to this important principle.

Questions and Additional Information

Please contact Development and Public Affairs of Doheny Eye Institute, at (323) 342-7101 or