The Dean McGee Eye Institute honored two former presidents and CEOs by announcing the dedication of two pavilions of its world-class clinical and research facility in their names. The original building, constructed in 1975 and renovated last year, was named the Thomas E. Acers, MD Pavilion. The second building, completed in 2011, was named the David W. Parke II, MD Pavilion. Dr. Acers was the founding president of the Dean McGee Eye Institute (DMEI) from 1975 to 1992, and Dr. Parke served as president from 1992 to 2009.
“Given their extraordinary contributions to the Eye Institute’s unique legacy, it is highly appropriate that we should honor the service of these two beloved and visionary leaders in this way,” said Dr. Gregory Skuta, the third president and CEO of the Dean McGee Eye Institute and Edward L. Gaylord Professor and Chair of the OU College of Medicine’s Department of Ophthalmology. “The profound imprint that Drs. Acers and Parke have stamped on this institution is felt in every clinic, research laboratory and teaching facility within these buildings. Their legendary impact on the field of ophthalmology goes far beyond our walls or the borders of any country. The dedication of our two pavilions in their names will undoubtedly inspire the generations of ophthalmologists who will cross these thresholds in the future.”
After being appointed as the first full-time chair of the OU Department of Ophthalmology in 1972 and as DMEI’s founding president, Dr. Acers set a remarkable course for the Institute. He oversaw construction of the original building and assembled an outstanding faculty to accelerate the Institute’s clinical work. Dr. Acers is remembered for his deep commitment to the Department’s residency program in ophthalmology, which today remains one of the most respected in the nation. Dr. Acers died in 2005 at the age of 72.
Dr. David Parke II is currently the Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the most influential leadership position in ophthalmology in the world. During his 17-year tenure as DMEI president, the Institute experienced tremendous growth and developed one of the country’s premier centers for vision research. Design and construction of the expanded $47-million facility that opened in 2011 also began under his leadership.
“Our new facility was designed and built to function in synchrony with our original building, and our two major pavilions reflect that harmony. We were very deliberate in naming each of our pavilions for the leader who most influenced the conception and construction of those structures that now stand as one,” said Dr. Skuta.