The Henry B. Peters Lecture Fund

In 2008, former Academy President Dr. Robert Newcomb along with University of Alabama at Birmingham Professor Dr. Robert Kleinstein suggested to the Public Health and Environmental Vision Section that an annual lecture be founded to recognize Dr. Peters’ many accomplishments to the Academy and the profession. Section members readily agreed and a formal proposal was made to the Board of Directors. The Board approved the proposal in early 2009 and it was later agreed that the funds reside with the American Optometric Foundation, the Academy’s philanthropic arm.

Click the donate button to make a one-time gift to the Henry B. Peters Lecture Fund.

Please use the pledge form to make a longterm contribution to the Henry B. Peters Lecture Fund.

Henry B. Peters Lecture Recipients:

2016: Kovin Naidoo
2015: Lester Caplan
2014: Alden Hafner

(Pictured: Robert Newcomb and Joshua Josephson with Lester Caplan (center))

About Dr. Peters

During his lifetime, Dr. Peters contributed significantly to the reputation of two major schools of optometry, the University of California at Berkeley as associate dean and the University of Alabama Birmingham as the founding dean and inaugural faculty member. During Dr. Peters' tenure as UAB dean, the optometry students established an outstanding record on state and national board examinations and he created the first optometric clinical teaching program in the Birmingham VA Medical Center.

While in private practice in California, he was active in education and research. His primary research effort, commonly known as The Orinda Study (1959), paved the way for school-based vision screening, and is still discussed in colleges and universities today.

In 1969, he was appointed dean of UAB's School of Optometry. At UAB, he also served as professor of public health, senior scholar for several departments and as founding director of the UAB Research Foundation.
At UAB Dr. Peters worked extensively with the Veterans Administration to enhance the role of optometry in health care. He served on the board of directors of the National Health Council from 1969 to 1983, and was the first optometrist to be elected president of the organization in 1978.

He was an active member of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, the National Board of Examiners in Optometry, the American Public Health Association, the California and Alabama Optometric Associations and the American Optometric Association. Dr. Peters was a founding member of Vision Service Plan, one of the largest vision health insurance programs in the U.S. He was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry in 1946 and remained active in the Academy throughout his career, serving as chair of several committees and as President from 1972 to 1974. The Academy selected Dr. Peters as the first recipient of the Carel C. Koch Medal for Interprofessional Relations in 1974.

There are many giants in optometry, many who have served as the Academy’s President and other leadership roles. Though it is difficult to recognize all the great leaders, there are some who truly have advanced the profession and the public health. Dr. Peters is one whose contributions and legacy deserve to be honored now and into the future. Please give generously.

Nomination Process

  1. A letter of nomination from an Academy Fellow, explaining why the nominee is particularly deserving of the award for which the nomination has been made.
  2. A copy of the CV of the nominee.
  3. A letter seconding the nomination from another Academy Fellow. These three items should be emailed to
  4. Awards Nomination Deadline is March 31, 2017.