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URMC / Flaum Eye Institute / About Us / FEI News Blog / August 2022 / Karl and Urai Marchenese endow a professorship

Karl and Urai Marchenese endow a professorship


University of Rochester School of Medicine 1974 graduate and 1979 ophthalmology resident graduate Karl Marchenese, MD, and his wife, Urai, in Urai and Karl MarcheneseFebruary formally established an endowed professorship at the Eye Institute. The Karl and Urai Professorship in Ophthalmology will in the future be awarded to an outstanding clinician or scientist to support their patient care or research efforts.

Endowed professorships perpetually memorialize the person(s) for whom they are named. They also provide vital departmental support in defraying salaries and other costs of the person holding the appointment. This helps institutions recruit clinicians and scientists of the highest caliber.

“Karl has been a long-time supporter of FEI through the resident-endowed fund, and we are honored and humbled by Urai and Karl’s generosity,” David DiLoreto, MD, PhD, said. “A professorship means the world to all of us. This gift will forever bond this University and department with their personal legacy.”

For health and safety reasons, a virtual ceremony was held to acknowledge the gift. Representing the University of Rochester were DiLoreto; CEO of UR Health Mark Taubman, MD; former FEI Chair Steven Feldon, MD; and Steven Ching, MD, who is a long-time friend and classmate of Marchenese and who was a FEI faculty member.

During the ceremony, Taubman presented the University of Rochester Medallion to the Marcheneses. The award is one of the highest honors that the University can bestow upon those who have made significant contributions to the U of R through philanthropy, service, or scholarship.

“Endowed professorships spark innovation and creativity,” Taubman said. “They routinely go to the best and brightest people and provide them annually with secure funding that lets them explore out-of-the-box ideas that wouldn’t be funded through traditional channels. That both Stephen Hawking and Isaac Newton shared the same professorship is an example to their importance throughout the history of academia.”

Marchenese is a native of the Finger Lakes Region, with family roots in the city of Geneva. An excellent physician and highly skilled surgeon, he founded and grew the Eye Care Center, located in Canandaigua, New York, building it into a thriving multispecialty practice. He is a past president of the New York Ophthalmology Society, which inducted him into its hall of fame for his many accomplishments, including introducing innovations to the practice of ophthalmology in New York.

As noted by Ching, Marchenese balanced his business acumen with “remarkable altruism” that stretches beyond his support of the University of Rochester and the local community. This includes bringing general medical care and eye care to islands in the Southern Philippines. Here he helped grow a “thatched hut clinic” into a grant-funded medical facility with physicians and social workers providing services to thousands of families in need.

In early August, we learned the unfortunate news that Karl Marchenese passed away. We extend our deepest sympathy and support to Urai and the Marchenese family. 


Stephen Kofron | 8/29/2022

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