Nearly three decades ago, the late Donald Shiley and his wife Darlene donated the funds to create a comprehensive eye care facility at the University of California San Diego where top ophthalmologists would treat patients, conduct research and train the next generation of leaders in eye care and vision research. Now, the couple’s granddaughter, Patricia Shiley, is continuing the family legacy of philanthropy with a gift of more than $2 million to support the Shiley Eye Institute at UC San Diego.
Shiley’s donation will support several areas of impact at the Shiley Eye Institute. Her gift will establish the Patricia Shiley Low Vision Clinic, which helps those with an eye disease that is not correctable with medical treatment or surgical procedures. The gift will also benefit the UC San Diego Shiley EyeMobile for Children, which provides free eye screenings and glasses for underserved children in the local community. Honoring her grandfather, Shiley is also adding to the principal of the existing Stuart I. Brown Chair in Ophthalmology in Memory of Donald P. Shiley.
Dr. Weinreb and Patricia Shiley at the Shiley Eye Institute.
“We are grateful to Patricia Shiley for her generous gift to the Shiley Eye Institute,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Her support is a gift to our community, helping countless individuals, from adults with low vision and eye disease to children who might not otherwise receive vision and eye care. Her contribution will also make a significant impact in driving research to better treat, and ultimately cure, diseases that cause blindness.”
According to Shiley, she chose her areas of support within the Shiley Eye Institute to benefit the most people of all ages, while continuing her family’s legacy of philanthropy.
“The Shiley Eye Institute was very important to my grandfather and continues to be very important to my grandmother. My grandparents truly believed that San Diego needed a place to not only provide clinical care to patients who were suffering from vision impairment, but also a place dedicated to research and education,” said Shiley, who received her first set of glasses from the institute after struggling to see the blackboard in high school. “I would love to see the advancement in the techniques used to improve vision for people of all ages. I want more individuals to benefit from the research and care that Shiley Eye Institute has to offer not only to residents of the San Diego area but globally.”
The Patricia Shiley Low Vision Clinic at the Shiley Eye Institute will be named in recognition of Shiley’s gift to the clinic, which serves people who have eye disease that is not correctable with standard refractive glasses, medical treatment or a surgical procedure, yet do have some remaining vision, a condition referred to as “low vision.” People with low vision have difficulty carrying out their daily activities or performing a job.
“We are honored that Patricia will continue the family tradition of philanthropy here at the Shiley Eye Institute,” said Robert N. Weinreb, MD, director of the Shiley Eye Institute and distinguished chair of the Department of Ophthalmology. “Her support will be impacting patients of all ages, from the very young to seniors in San Diego County and beyond.”
A portion of the gift will support the UC San Diego Shiley EyeMobile for Children, which provides no-cost mobile eye screenings for children from underserved communities throughout San Diego County. The EyeMobile is the nation’s first full state-of-the-art eye clinic on wheels that is dedicated to preschool children. Vision is one of the most important building blocks in the development of a child’s life and their education. During the 2017 school year, the EyeMobile completed 13,438 vision screenings, detected 83 children who had a high risk for eye disease, and gave out 1,165 free glasses to children who needed them.
It is this impact that motivated Shiley to support the program. “The EyeMobile appeals to me because of the work it is doing in the community with young children,” she said. “It is truly serving the community and improving these children’s lives and their education.”
Shiley’s gift will also support the endowed faculty chair which was established in her grandfather’s memory after his death in 2010. The chair holder of the Stuart I. Brown Chair in Ophthalmology in Memory of Donald P. Shiley is Natalie A. Afshari, M.D., professor of Ophthalmology and chief of the Division of Cornea and Refractive Surgery. She is also the vice chair of Education at the Shiley Eye Institute.
“Patricia was so kind to support the endowed chair named for two innovators – her grandfather, Donald P. Shiley, whose legacy here and in San Diego was thoughtfully envisioned, and Stuart I. Brown, MD, who founded our department and still works tirelessly helping people,” said Afshari. “I am proud to carry both of their names as I care for patients, conduct research, teach and serve the community.”
Shiley made the decision to support the endowed chair to drive important eye research, as well as to honor the founding director of the Shiley Eye Institute, Stuart Brown, M.D., in memory of her grandfather, Donald. She recounts learning from a young age about the importance of helping others, either through volunteering at local organizations or just by helping her neighbors. She recalls that her grandfather said that he hoped one day when she was working and could make her own way that she would continue the family’s legacy of helping others.
“I know it was important to him that future generations understand the importance of philanthropy and volunteering,” said Shiley. “I hope that I can help continue that legacy for my generation and generations that follow. I have seen how my grandparents’ giving has helped so many people and how rewarding it is to see such great things come out of those contributions.”
Shiley’s gift contributes to the $2 billion goal of the university’s comprehensive fundraising effort, the Campaign for UC San Diego.
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