Dorothy and Stanley M. Truhlsen, MD, both grew up in small towns where people constantly and readily contributed for the betterment of their communities.
Raised during the Depression — Dr. Truhlsen in Herman, Neb., and Dorothy in Fairfield, Iowa — they each witnessed how people gave of their time and resources despite the hardships many families faced.
These experiences shaped their belief in the importance of giving back to their community and particularly to the University of Nebraska.
"In recent years Dorothy and I have supported the Durham Research Center and the Sorrell Center for Health Science Education at the University of Nebraska Medical Center," said Dr. Truhlsen. "As a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the College of Medicine, it has been satisfying for me to give back to the institution in this way. I owe a great deal to the University of Nebraska."
Dr. Truhlsen, emeritus professor and former chairman of UNMC’s department of ophthalmology, is nationally recognized in the field of ophthalmology. He graduated from UNMC in 1944 and received UNMC’s Distinguished Service to Medicine Award in 2003. Dr. Truhlsen completed residencies at Albany Hospital in New York and Barnes Hospital in St. Louis.
A private practice physician, he joined UNMC’s ophthalmology department in 1951. He served on the UNMC faculty until 1990 and was interim chairman of the department of ophthalmology in 1989-90. Since 1993, he has held the position of emeritus clinical professor of ophthalmology.
Dr. Truhlsen is a past president of the College of Medicine’s Alumni Association and served as president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in 1983 and the American Ophthalmological Society (AOS) in 1996.
During Dr. Truhlsen’s tenure as president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, he participated in the Academy’s launch of the National Eye Care Program. This effort brought together 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists nationwide who provided, at no cost, care for the elderly in need.
In 2001, Dr. Truhlsen received the Lucien Howe Medal from the AOS, the oldest ophthalmic organization in the United States. The Howe Medal is considered one of the most prestigious awards in ophthalmology and is the only award given by the AOS. It is awarded in recognition of "conspicuous services as a researcher or a teacher during long years of devotion" and for contributions to ophthalmology.
Founded in 1864, AOS has approximately 225 members. To become a member, an ophthalmologist must be nominated and seconded by society members and then have a thesis accepted.
The Truhlsens’s generous support of their community has benefited many projects across Omaha and UNMC. Their gifts have provided funding for the Durham Western Heritage Museum lecture hall, renovations and an addition to Countryside Community Church, the Holland Performing Arts Center, the Salvation Army Kroc Center and the Joslyn Art Museum sculpture garden.
Their gifts also have established the Truhlsen Eye Research Laboratories in the Durham Research Center and the Dr. Stanley M. and Dorothy Truhlsen Campus Events Center in the Sorrell Center, both located on the UNMC campus.
With charitable giving, Dr. Truhlsen said, "we typically contribute, and then we watch. We are pleased by the accomplishments realized. But occasionally we are astounded. We are amazed by the medical center’s transformation in recent years and impressed that research has become tremendously important at UNMC."