Eye Institute Renamed to Honor Longtime Supporters

Nov. 10, 2009
David and Ilene Flaum

Rochester businessman and philanthropist David M. Flaum and his family have been champions of the University of Rochester Eye Institute for years. In recognition of their ongoing leadership, advocacy and support, University President Joel Seligman today announced that the center will be renamed the David and Ilene Flaum Eye Institute.
“David and Ilene Flaum have been unyielding in their commitment to the University of Rochester on many levels,” said Seligman. “In addition to their significant and ongoing charitable contributions, David has played a pivotal role in building awareness of the Eye Institute and identifying and securing funding opportunities. This naming is a fitting and enduring way to honor their steadfast support. Thanks to their advocacy and generosity, the Institute is on its way to becoming one of the top vision care and research centers in the nation.”
In eight years, the Eye Institute has grown from eight faculty to a team of 31 ophthalmologists, subspecialists, and researchers offering highly specialized diagnostic services, advanced surgical interventions, and management of the most complex eye conditions and diseases. Research space has tripled, and nearly completed ground-floor renovations will add 3,000 sq. ft. and provide for an expanded optical shop, additional exam rooms, and space for clinical trials. The Eye Institute, which is on track for an increase of 10 to 12 percent in patient volume in 2009, has performed about 1,800 surgeries and has seen 34,000 patients this year.
“The Eye Institute has grown into the premier facility in the region for eye research, education and patient care,” said Mark Taubman, M.D., acting CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center.“As a resource for people in the Rochester area and beyond, it is unmatched. I have every confidence that as the David and Ilene Flaum Eye Institute it will continue to thrive.”
The Flaums’ involvement with the local business community and their interest in charitable endeavors have led them to support many worthwhile area causes. But David Flaum took special interest in the Eye Institute soon after its opening.
“During the early days of the Eye Institute, David expressed to me that he thought we had a wonderful future and he wanted to be involved,” said Steven E. Feldon, M.D., M.B.A., chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and director of the David and Ilene Flaum Eye Institute. “He saw great potential and envisioned the opportunities the Institute could provide for Rochester and the Medical Center. He’s been instrumental in fostering its growth.”
Flaum’s commitment to the Institute’s mission has been driven not only by his own struggle with vision problems through the years, said Flaum, but also by his conviction that under Dr. Feldon’s management, the Institute could become a top-ranked facility and an engine for economic development and job creation.
“I’d always been interested in the science of vision and know personally the transformative power of improved sight. So being a part of something that could positively impact lives was certainly a draw,” said Flaum, an inaugural member of the Eye Institute’s Advisory Board. “But I was also attracted by the recruitment of Dr. Feldon who impressed me immediately and continues to prove himself a great leader.”
Flaum is the founder and CEO of Flaum Management Co., a real estate development company based in Rochester. He is a member of both the University of Rochester Board of Trustees and the Medical Center Board. In 2008, he was the Eye Institute’s Partner in Vision Award Winner.