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Office of Neuroscience Research > WUSTL Neuroscience News > Ophthalmology department renamed in honor of John F. Hardesty

Ophthalmology department renamed in honor of John F. Hardesty

From the WashU Newsroom...

Thanks to a major gift from a Washington University alumna, the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis will be known as the John F. Hardesty, MD, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.

The $10 million gift will support basic vision research and translational research to help take those research findings into clinical practice. The funds also will help provide vision care for patients, including those in financial need. In addition, the gift will support the recruitment and retention of leading physician-scientists as department faculty.

“This extraordinary gift will enable our vision researchers and clinicians to continue their great work and to build on an already extraordinary history of discovery and treatment of diseases that continue to rob sight from millions of people all over the world,” said Washington University Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. “And we are delighted that Jane Hardesty Poole has chosen this way to honor her father, who was himself a pioneer in the understanding and treatment of glaucoma.”

Hardesty (1887-1953) was a St. Louis ophthalmologist, teacher, writer and war hero whose heritage may be traced back to colonial and early Missouri settlers. He earned bachelor’s and medical degrees simultaneously from Saint Louis University (SLU) in 1914. Later, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served on the front lines in World War I, before joining the faculty at SLU School of Medicine.

His daughter, Jane Hardesty Poole, endowed the new gift to honor her father. Poole, a 1961 graduate of Washington University, previously had established the John F. Hardesty, MD, Distinguished Professorship in Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, also in his honor. That endowed professorship is held by pediatric ophthalmologist Lawrence Tychsen, MD, who also is a professor of pediatrics and of neuroscience.

“This gift recognizes both an outstanding department and an outstanding physician-scientist,” said David H. Perlmutter, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of Washington University School of Medicine. “For decades, the department has been recognized as a leader in the visual sciences, and with Todd Margolis at the helm the past 3½ years, it has continued to make outstanding contributions in the areas of research and clinical care. This unrestricted gift from Jane Hardesty Poole will allow the department to continue its tradition of excellence.”

The department, founded in 1928, consists of 41 full-time faculty members, including 16 clinicians who practice at 16 different office locations, and 25 MD or PhD researchers. Later this year, the department will move its primary clinical operations to the Center for Outpatient Health on the north side of the Washington University Medical Campus. To celebrate the new name, in 2018 the department will host a vision research symposium for physicians and scientists from many of the world’s leading medical institutions.

“Our department has a long history of advancing the understanding of eye diseases and vision loss, particularly in the area of glaucoma,” said Todd P. Margolis, MD, PhD, the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor and head of the ophthalmology department. “So it is fitting that our department now will bear the name of a man whose life’s work involved preserving vision and improving quality of life for glaucoma patients.”

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