Philanthropic Vision


Diagnosed with glaucoma as a young adult, Jerome Jacobson’s vision presented daily struggles throughout his life. But he did not let it stop him from building a distinguished career as an economist for companies in Michigan and the Washington, D.C., area.

Jacobson deeply appreciated the care he received from the University of Michigan Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and at the U-M Kellogg Eye Center. When he returned to Washington after living in Michigan for many years, he flew back to the center for regular checkups. He often told friends that Paul R. Lichter, M.D., his ophthalmologist, founding director of the Kellogg Eye Center and a professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, assured him that with proper management of his condition — through medication and surgeries when necessary — he would have sight on the last day of his life. And he did.

When Jacobson passed away, much of his wealth was directed to the Jerome Jacobson Foundation to carry on his philanthropic missions, including eye disease research and international ophthalmology initiatives at the Kellogg Eye Center.

Recently, with a $3.5 million gift, the foundation established the endowed Jerome Jacobson Professorship, which will support faculty members who study glaucoma — the world’s second leading cause of blindness — and the endowed Jerome Jacobson Vision Research Fund.

The professorship will fund the work of a faculty member pursing innovative areas of research to find new treatments and, eventually, cures and prevention of glaucoma, says Paul Lee, M.D., the F. Bruce Fralick Professor of Ophthalmology, director of the Kellogg Eye Center and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.

The Jerome Jacobson Vision Research Fund will support high-risk, high-reward projects to advance understanding and treatment of eye disease. It will also allow faculty members to collaborate with other scientists across the U-M as well as with institutions around the world.

To read more about the Jacobsen gift, please visit: