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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 Executive-Secretary, who serves as the administrative officer, is appointed by the Trustees.

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.

In 2008, the Society of Heed Fellows celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. In honor of this event, the trustees of the organization initiated the 50th Anniversary Celebration Campaign. Through the generosity of our members, the campaign raised over $60,000. These monies are being used to sustain the Society's support of postgraduate fellowship training and will help to perpetuate the legacy of Mr. Thomas Heed and the Heed Ophthalmic Foundation.