Society of Heed Fellows

The Society of Heed Fellows is a public charitable and educational foundation that provides funding for post graduate studies in ophthalmology and the ophthalmic sciences. Beginning with the appointment of the first fellow in 1989, the Society has provided over $430,000 in support of its mission. The Society receives financial support through the dues and gifts of former Heed Fellows and friends.

In October of 1958, a small group of former Heed fellows met in Chicago during the annual American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting and formed an organization known as the Society of Heed Fellows. The group was small because the Heed Ophthalmic Foundation had only been established 13 years earlier in 1946 with the first Heed Fellow appointed in 1947. Annual meetings of the Society were established to promote social interaction amongst former Heed fellows and to foster programs of service to ophthalmology.

The caretakers of the Society during these early years were two elected officers whose main responsibility was making arrangements for the annual meeting. From 1958 to 1965, the elected officers were Dr. Goodwin Breinin, president, and Dr. Frank Winter, secretary. From 1965 to 1975, Dr. Winter served as president and Dr. William Spencer as secretary. From 1975 to 1984, Dr. Matthew Davis was president and Dr. Froncie Gutman served as secretary.

In 1984, the Society became an educational, scientific and charitable public foundation. Governance of the Society is provided by five trustees who serve a maximum of two five-year terms. The original members of the Board of Trustees were Dr. Froncie Gutman, Dr. Paul Lichter, Dr. William Tasman and Dr. Robert Waller.

The main mission of the Society is the funding of its post-graduate fellowship training award. The annual dues and contributions of former Heed fellows and friends have provided the financial support for this program. The fellows appointed by the Society are designated both Society of Heed Fellows Fellow and Heed Fellow. Following the initial appointment in 1989, approximately 40 fellowships have been awarded with total funding of $430,000.

Originally, the main mission of the Society was providing additional funding for Heed Fellowships. In 1996, the Society conducted a fund development campaign on the 50th Anniversary of the Heed Foundation and raised approximately $300,000 from Society members, Heed Foundation Directors, friends and colleagues. In addition, the Society of Heed Fellows celebrated its own 50th anniversary in 2006. Through the generosity of Society members, the campaign raised over $60,000. These monies and the accumulated members’ dues provided a very valuable supplement to the funds from the original Heed Trust. Initially, fellows appointed by the Society were designated both Society of Heed Fellows Fellow and Heed Fellow. However, in 2022, the Society of Heed Fellows Board, and the Heed Ophthalmic Foundation Board voted to have only one category - Heed Fellow.

In addition to its fellowship program, the Society sponsors the Heed Award which was renamed the Heed-Gutman Award in 2015 to recognize Dr. Froncie Gutman’s leadership and contributions to the Society. Each year, a five-member committee composed of previous Award recipients, select a former Heed Fellow to receive this prestigious Award. The criteria for the Award include major contributions to the field of ophthalmology as an educator, clinician and/or investigator. The Award is presented at the Heed luncheon held annually during the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting. The first recipient was William F. Hoyt, MD. The Heed Foundation provided the Award which was an engraved sterling silver Revere Bowl.

Society of Heed Fellows, List of Trustees

Froncie Gutman 1986-2007
Paul Lichter 1986-2009
William Tasman 1986-2008
Robert Waller 1986-2001
C.P. Wilkinson 2000-2010
Richard Abbott 2002-2011
Paul Sternberg 2008-2017
David Wilson 2009-2018
Eduardo Alfonso 2010-2019
Russell Van Gelder 2011-2020
Julia Haller 2012-2021
Paul Lee 2018-Present
Marco Zarbin 2019-Present
Kathryn Colby 2020-Present
R.V. Paul Chan 2021-Present
Stacy Pineles 2023-Present

Executive Secretary - Society of Heed Fellows (SOHF)

Froncie Gutman


David Wilson