Dr. Mark Greiner Receives New Endowed Professorship

Dr. Mark Greiner and other New Endowed Professorship recipients
Dr. Mark Greiner Receives New Endowed Professorship
General News

Read full story and view additional photos on the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences website

Faculty, staff, and friends of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences gathered to celebrate the appointment of three new endowed professorships at an Investiture Ceremony held in March. Generous gifts from Jim and Donnita Gross and Robert and Joell Brightfelt allowed the department to establish the positions, which recognize exemplary faculty members and their contributions.

Jim Gross was the grandson of the department’s first chairman, Dr. Cecil S. O’Brien who established the department in 1925. He and his wife Donnita have a long-standing relationship with the department and are loyal philanthropic supporters. After Jim’s death in 2016, estate plans included honoring Jim and Donnita through the endowment of two new professorships in the department, as well as one in the University of Iowa College of Engineering.

The connection between Bob and Joell Brightfelt with the department is more recent and direct in a sense. Bob suffered from a corneal disease known as Fuchs dystrophy for much of his life which caused him to lose much of his eyesight. He came to University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics as a patient at the recommendation of a friend. After two successful corneal transplants by Dr. Mark Greiner, Bob’s vision was restored. Grateful for the treatment and care he received from Eye Clinic physicians and staff, Bob and Joell decided to create a new professorship in cornea research so that others with similar vision impairments might also benefit from advanced research into corneal diseases such as Fuchs dystrophy.

“As I saw Dr. Greiner work and learned more about the things they might be able to accomplish in the future, I knew this was a perfect match for what my wife and I wanted to support. Dr. Greiner and his team are doing great things at Iowa, and I’m very grateful for, and appreciative of, how Iowa has helped me,” states Bob.

Recipients of new endowed professorships in the Department of Ophthalmology include:

Matthew Thurtell, MBBS, MSc – Neuro-Ophthalmology

  • Captain Jim and Donnita Gross Professorship in Ophthalmology

Erin Shriver, MD, FACS – Oculoplastic, Orbit and Reconstructive Surgery

  • Jim O’Brien Gross and Donnita Gross Professorship in Ophthalmology

Mark Greiner, MD – Cornea, External Disease and Refractive Surgery

  • Robert and Joell Brightfelt Professorship in Cornea

Department chair Keith Carter, MD, FACS, shares, “We are extremely grateful for the trust and confidence that the Gross and Brightfelt families have placed in us. Philanthropy plays a vital role in helping us accelerate vision research and deliver the best patient care and education experiences.” Carter holds the Lillian C. O’Brien and Dr. C.S. O’Brien Chair in Ophthalmology.


Photographs from the University of Iowa Investiture Ceremony held on March 28, 2019, are at https://bit.ly/2USu9FU

Video of the ceremony at https://bit.ly/2IfCHzV

For information about how to support the department through philanthropic giving, visit the University of Iowa Center for Advancement website at www.givetoiowa.org/eye