Alice R. McPherson

Alice R. McPherson, MD, earned her undergraduate degree from UW–Madison in 1948 and her medical degree from the UW School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) in 1951, followed by an ophthalmology residency at the SMPH and a retina fellowship at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. In 1960, she moved to Houston, Texas, to begin practice as the world’s first female full-time vitreoretinal specialist. She established herself as one of the foremost retina specialists in the world and was widely respected as an accomplished physician, teacher, scholar, leader, and pioneer in the field.

McPherson founded the retina service at Baylor College of Medicine, where she was a professor, and established her own private retina practice. She promoted procedures that are now basic elements in successful retinal detachment surgery and diabetic retinopathy treatment, and she persistently advocated for retina research worldwide. In 1969, McPherson established the Houston-based Retina Research Foundation, which has funded more than 1,000 grants and helped launch the careers of many major vision researchers.

In 2005, McPherson and Daniel M. Albert, MD, co-founded the UW Eye Research Institute, which was rededicated in 2012 as the McPherson Eye Research Institute—now an internationally recognized institute. McPherson also served on the UW Foundation board of directors; was the founding president of the UW Ophthalmology Alumni Association; and established several endowed chairs and lectureships at UW–Madison.