Prior to 1986, Honorary Life Fellowship was usually given to Academy Fellows who had contributed significantly to the Academy with years of service being a factor in the selection; on several occasions this award was given to individuals who were not optometrists and were not members of the Academy.

Bylaw amendments adopted in 1986 changed the name of this award to Honorary Fellowship and defined it as honoring individuals who are not Academy Fellows for distinguished contributions to the Academy and/or the science and art of optometry. Nominations are made to the Awards Committee by Academy members and are approved by the Board of Directors. At the same time, the distinction of Life Fellowship was created to provide recognition to those Fellows who through long-time membership in the Academy have rendered distinguished service to the science and art of optometry; the selection procedure is the same as for Honorary Fellowship. Both awards also constitute membership categories. 


The deadline for nominations is April 1, 2021. Please submit the following by email to Helen Viksnins at

  • 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.
  • A copy of the CV of the nominee.
  • A letter seconding the nomination from another Academy Fellow


Past Life Fellowship Award Recipients

2018 - Lois Schoenbrun
2017 - Bert C. Corwin, Avrum Richler
2016 - Anthony J. Adams, Thomas L. Lewis
2014 - Satya B. Verma
2013 - Anthony B. Cullen, Michael G. Harris
2012 - John F. Amos
2005 - Judith A. Clay, Brien A. Holden, Gerald W. Lowther, Harold Solan
2004 - Lester Caplan, Richard Hill
2002 - William R. Baldwin, Scott Brisbin
2001 - Richard Hopping
1998 - Irving Bennett, Charles Stewart
1997 - Darrell B. Carter, Edward Goodlaw
1996 - Elmer H. Eger, Donald G. Pitts
1995 - Theodore P. Grosvenor, Joseph Nupuf, Sol Tabak, Edward K. Walker
1994 - Merrill J. Allen, Solon Braff
1993 - Merton C. Flom, G. Burtt Holmes
1992 - Richard Feinberg, Robert A. Koetting, Edward B. Mehr, Helen M. Mehr, Bradford W. Wild
1991 - J. Donald Kratz, Alfred A. Rosenbloom, Jr., John N. Schoen
1990 - Frederick U. Baublitz, Donald A. Springer
1989 - Morris Kirschen, William M. Lyle, Henry B. Peters, Ralph E. Wick, John Zettel, Jr. 
1987 - Gordon Heath, Frederick Hebbard, Henry Knoll

Past Honorary Fellowship Award Recipients

Since 1986 the following persons have been elected as Honorary Fellows: 

2012 - Susan I. Eger, James F. Jorkasky
2009 - Phil Keefer
2001 - H. Dwight Cavanagh
2000 - Donald F. Everett
1999 - Israel Goldberg
1997 - Carl Kupfer
1994 - Eleanor Faye
1993 - Irving Fatt
1991 - John K. Davis
1988 - Maria Dablemont

Honorary Life Fellows

From 1964 to 1986, the following persons were elected as Honorary Life Fellows:

1981 - Monroe J. Hirsch, Eric Bateman, Irvin M. Borish, Edward J. Fisher, Daniel G. Hummel, Lois B. Bing
1980 - Robert E. Bannon, Meredith W. Morgan, Henry W. Hofstetter
1979 - Leo A. Meyer
1976 - Richard Held, Harold M. Fisher, Mervyn H. Kauhl
1975 - Glenn A. Fry, J. L. Saks
1974 - Lawrence Fitch
1973 - Harold Simmerman, Carl C. Koch
1972 - John D. Perry, William Policoff, John C. Neill, William Feinbloom, Russell Manwiller
1971 - George T. Brooks
1970 - Arthur P. Wheelock
1965 - Kenneth B. Stoddard

As of 1964, the following persons were listed in the directory of the Academy as Honorary Life Fellows: 

J. Fred Andreae
Arthur E. Hoare
E. LeRoy Ryer
Morris J. Steinfield
Eugene Wiseman
William L. Benedict
Julius F. Neumueller
Alpheus W. Smith
Frank W. Weymouth
Photo Credit: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NEI/NIH)