Jill and George Mertz Scholarship Fund


In September 2002 we lost a wonderful friend and professional colleague. George Mertz touched many lives. His passion for advancing patient care through education and research was seen in his interactions and supportive roles within national and international organizations, schools and colleges of optometry, faculty organizations, and optometry students.

He was most proud of his leadership as President of the American Optometric Foundation whose mission is focused solely on education and research as a basis of for improved eye and vision care. Sadly, George died during his term as President.

Soon after George's passing, George's wife, Jill, initiated a gift to the Foundation to establish the George W. Mertz Scholarship Fund. Her founding gift was joined by generous support from three major contact lens corporations with whom George had been closely associated during his career (Bausch & Lomb, CIBA Vision, Vistakon). Together, these Founding Donors have built a permanent tribute to George Mertz from which young students and researchers will be supported in their innovation. The generosity and support from George’s many friends and colleagues enabled the Foundation to raise $200,000 . Every donation represents a meaningful contribution in honoring George’s legacy through the support of young students and researchers.  

In 2007, Jill Mertz also passed away. Jill was proud and passionate about the George Mertz Scholarship Fund and this tribute to George. Jill’s estate bequeathed a substantial gift to the Foundation.  In recognition of this extraordinary donation, the Foundation Board renamed the George Mertz Scholarship Fund, to the Jill and George Mertz Scholarship Fund. 

Past Recipients:

2016:  Pauline Kang
2013:  Joel De Melo Bambamba
2009:  Maria Markoulli
2008:  Wendy Harrison
2007:  Lakshman Subbaraman
2006:  Jennifer Choo
2005:  Loretta Szczotka-Flynn

Founding Donors

The American Optometric Foundation is grateful to the Founding Donors of The George and Jill Mertz Scholarship Fund, Bausch & Lomb, Alcon, and VISTAKON. George’s impact on the profession, both in his personal relationships and professional contributions, are demonstrated by the support of these companies. AOF understands that this initiative has special meaning for them as well.

Please use the pledge form (PDF format) to make a contribution to the George and Jill Mertz Scholarship Fund.