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Borish, Irvin M. | University of Houston Libraries

Name: Borish, Irvin M.

Historical Note:

Irvin M. Borish was born on January 21, 1913 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son a Lithuanian Jewish immigrants. His father later contracted tuberculosis, forcing the family to move to Liberty, New York, where Borish graduated from Liberty High School. He returned to Philadelphia in 1930 to pursue studies in English literature at Temple University. In 1932 he enrolled in the Northern Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago.

Dr. Borish graduated from Northern Illinois College of Optometry in 1935 and achieved the best academic record in the institution's history. During the same year, the Northern Illinois College of Optometry also appointed him to the position of Instructor on the school's faculty as well as Chief of Staff for the college's Eye Clinic. By 1942, Dr. Borish held the position of Assistant Dean.

In 1944 Borish moved to Kokomo, Indiana where he started a successful private optometric practice. A heart attack in 1973 forced him to retire from private practice. After recovering, he assumed a full-time faculty position at Indiana University's Optometry School. Between the 1944 and 1973 he actively pursued many endeavors. In 1948 the first of numerous editions of Clinical Refraction, still a standard for optometry students, was published. While in private practice, Borish lobbied for the establishment of an optometry school in Bloomington, Indiana, wrote nearly one hundred articles, delivered numerous lectures, served as a visiting professor to at least nine optometry schools, and patented hard toric and bifocal contact lenses. He also contributed to the by-laws establishing the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, coauthored the original manual of Accreditation used by the Council on Education and Accreditation in Optometry, as well as working on the by-laws of the Contact Lens Manufacturers Association which sets standards for the safe manufacture of contact lenses.

Dr. Borish retired from Indiana University in 1982, at which time he assumed the Benedict Professorship of Optometric Practice at the University of Houston. Since his arrival at the University of Houston, the University of Houston College of Optometry has established the Irvin M. Borish Chair in Optometric Practice (1987), an endowed chair with more than one million dollars of support. In 1995, Indiana University honored him by establishing the Borish Center for Ophthalmic Research.

Dr. Borish passed away on March 3, 2012.

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