December 06, 2012
Jennifer K. Hasamear
314-977-7306

SLU Medical Professor Named to Endowed Chair

Sophia Chung, M.D., has recently been honored with the Dr. Walter F. and Sharon Ryan Davisson Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology.

From left: Walter Davisson, M.D.; Sharon Ryan Davisson; Sophia Chung, M.D.; University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J.; Oscar Cruz, M.D.; and Phillip Alderson, M.D.
From left: Walter Davisson, M.D.; Sharon Ryan Davisson; Sophia Chung, M.D.; University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J.; Oscar Cruz, M.D.; and Phillip Alderson, M.D. Submitted photo

Endowed professorships and chairs assist Saint Louis University in bringing the best and brightest students to the University while offering them even more opportunities to learn from the greatest minds in the world.

On Dec. 3, Sophia Chung, M.D., was honored with the Dr. Walter F. and Sharon Ryan Davisson Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology during an investiture ceremony held in Sinquefield State Room in DuBourg Hall.

"All of us in academic medicine have chosen this field because of the opportunity to teach and work with residents and medical students, but I dare say, none of us can match the passion that Sophia has for teaching," said Oscar Cruz, M.D., chair of the Department of Ophthalmology, who also nominated Chung for this honor. Cruz is also the Anwar Shah Endowed Chair of Ophthalmology.

Chung came to the University in 1990, joining the Department of Ophthalmology and Neurology, where she has continued to serve as a full-time faculty member for the last 23 years. Prior to coming to SLU, she received her medical degree from Duke University and completed her residency in ophthalmology at the Cullen Eye Institute at the Baylor College of Medicine. She also pursued a neuro-ophthalmology fellowship with John McCrary III, M.D.

Throughout her career, she has served on a numerous boards and committees, principal investigator for NEI-sponsored studies, and was recently honored as a recipient of the Senior Achievement Award last November.

Her greatest contribution to ophthalmology has been to the education of residents and medical students. Chung has received five teaching awards, three best lecturer awards and was among the first recipients of the Distinguished Teacher Award for the Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

"When I specifically asked Dr. Davisson what he would like to see me set as my goals as the Davisson endowed chair recipient, he simply responded by saying to educate excellent trainees," Chung said. "It is my number one goal to respond to his mission of excellent resident and medical student education."

Walter Davisson, M.D., and his wife, Sharon Ryan Davisson, are both SLU alums. Walter Davisson completed his pre-med studies in 1961, while Sharon Ryan Davisson graduated in 1962 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. Walter Davisson interned at St. Mary's Health Center in San Francisco and then returned for his residency in ophthalmology at Saint Louis University Hospital from 1966 to 1969.

The Dr. Walter F. and Sharon Ryan Davisson Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology was first established in 1993.

"When we created the Davisson Chair of Ophthalmology 20 years ago, our aim was to advance the mission of the University, namely to educate and improve the students who study here," Walter Davisson said. "We cannot emphasize enough - Give Back For Your Education - it's what made you who you are and put you where you are today."

Phillip Alderson, M.D., vice president of the Medical Center and dean of the medical school, said the Davisson's generous donation represents a lasting impact on SLU medical students for years to come.

"Through the generosity of alumni and supporters like Dr. and Mrs. Davisson, the School of Medicine not only has the required facilities to offer a first rate Jesuit medical education, but also the ability to attract and retain the most gifted faculty to educate our physicians and leaders of tomorrow," Alderson said.

During the ceremony, University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J., honored Chung with a medallion that is traditionally bestowed to all endowed chair and professorship holders. The official University medallion symbolizes Chung's distinguished title as the Walter F. and Sharon Ryan Davisson Endowed Chair of Ophthalmology.

For more information about University Advancement, visit giving.slu.edu.

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