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University Communications

Last modified: Thursday, June 18, 2009

National Optometry Hall of Fame to induct IU Vice President Edwin Marshall

Fourth optometrist with IU ties selected for this honor

June 18, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Edwin C. Marshall, vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs and professor of optometry at Indiana University, will be inducted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame in recognition of his contributions to his profession.

Edwin Marshall

Hillary Demmon

Edwin Marshall

Print-Quality Photo

Marshall will be inducted next Friday, June 26, in Washington, D.C., at Optometry's Meeting, the official annual meeting of the American Optometric Association and the American Optometric Student Association. He will join 47 other people -- including four with IU ties -- in the organization's Hall of Fame.

Other members of the Hall with IU ties include Henry "Hank" Hofstetter, the founding dean of the IU School of Optometry; Irving Borish, for whom the IU Borish Center for Ophthalmic Research is named; Melvin D. Shipp, an IU optometry alumnus who today is dean of the College of Optometry at Ohio State University; and Joan Exford, an IU alumna and a past president of the American Academy of Optometry.

"It speaks volumes about the quality of the program . . . not only the training aspect of the School of Optometry, but also about its history of giving back," Marshall said of his predecessors and their connections to IU. "We teach students that, yes, it's important that you're good at what you do clinically, but you also have to be engaged in the larger community in which you live and serve."

Hofstetter, Shipp and another Hall inductee, the late Dr. John Howlette of Richmond, Va., all served as mentors to Marshall.

The Hall of Fame recognizes distinguished men and women who have made exceptional and enduring lifetime contributions to the profession of optometry.

"It's great to be recognized like this so early in my career," Marshall said. "I look at it as a signal award in terms of a composite of what one has contributed so far."

"This is a wonderful recognition of Dr. Marshall's commitment and contributions to the community. I am happy to see him join two other IU School of Optometry alumni and two extraordinary faculty who have been previously honored by the National Optometry Hall of Fame," said IU School of Optometry Interim Dean Sarita Soni.

An optometry professor at IU for more than 30 years, Marshall has frequently been recognized for his scholarship, teaching ability and professional advocacy. A past president of the Indiana Optometric Association and the Indiana Public Health Association, Marshall was named Optometrist of the Year by the American Optometric Association in 2007.

The Indiana Optometric Association in 2006 also recognized him with its Optometrist of the Year award. The IOA previously honored him with the Distinguished Service to Optometry Award in 1998. In 2001, he received the State Health Commissioner Award for Excellence in Public Health. In 2005, the Indiana governor named him a Distinguished Hoosier, the second-highest honor given by the state.

One of his earliest professional accomplishments occurred in 1972, a year after graduation from the optometry school, with the founding of the Community Eye Care Center, the school's first off-campus clinic designed specifically to serve the vision and eye care needs of the community's underserved population. He was its first director.

Marshall has been an adviser to the medical faculty of the National University of Malaysia and the Cebu Doctors' College, College of Optometry in the Philippines, as well as many other international accomplishments.

His service to Americans has included terms on the National Advisory Council on Health Professions Education and the Governor's Advisory Panel on the Indiana Children's Health Insurance Program. He was the second optometrist to be appointed as a U.S. Public Health Service Primary Care Policy Fellow, affording him the opportunity to work on national policy issues under Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala.

Marshall subsequently became the founding chair of the Indiana Minority Health Advisory Committee, eventually serving as adviser to three different state health commissioners. In 2002, he was elected president of the Indiana Public Health Association, a position he used to establish and fortify effective avenues of communication in building bridges between resources, services and the people who need them.

In 2003, Marshall became the first optometrist in the 132-year history of the American Public Health Association elected to chair the executive board of the oldest and largest organization of public health professionals in the world.

In July 2007, Marshall was named to his current administrative post at IU and today has oversight for matters concerning diversity, equity and multicultural affairs on all IU campuses. He has more specific responsibilities at IU Bloomington, which include academic support services, K-12 outreach initiatives, student enrollment and retention initiatives and diversity and equity efforts.

Previously Marshall had been associate dean for academic affairs and student administration in the IU School of Optometry. He also is an adjunct professor of public health at the IU School of Medicine and was recently appointed by IU President Michael McRobbie to chair the IU Public Health Coordinating Council, which will oversee planning for the development of schools of public health on the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses.