Alumni Donations Make Allen Eye Library and Learning Lab Refresh Possible

The 2020 Experience, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences as an independent department, commenced with a rededication of the James C. Allen Eye Library and Learning Lab at University Station Eye Clinic on January 22. The space celebrates Dr. James Allen’s significant contributions to our learners and life-time support of DOVS from the Allen family.

James Allen, MD (Residency 1964), was a member of the DOVS faculty from 1967 to 2000. During that time, he served as both the residency program director and the chief of the ophthalmology service at the William S. Middleton Veterans Hospital where he was beloved as a physician and teacher. He is also well-respected for championing the Dr. James Allen Veteran Vision Equity Act, a federal law enacted in 2007 that ensures disabled veterans who lose vision in one eye because of military service may get enhanced benefits should they lose vision later in the other eye.

Dr. Allen’s wife Kathryn “Kay” Allen was the guest of honor, and she was joined by their son Dr. David Allen, department leadership, faculty, staff, and clinical and administrative staff. Mary Pratt, MD, (Residency 1965), led the philanthropic efforts to remodel the space, and collaborated with David Stinchcomb, MD (Residency 1969), to raise funds to update the Allen Lab for today’s residents and fellows in the spirit of Dr. Allen’s profound commitment to the art and science of teaching.

The redesigned space was refreshed from top to bottom. Department staff first preserved and moved the bulk of the reference materials to the Ebling Library at the Health Sciences Learning Center at UW-Madison. The sizeable bookshelves were removed from the room, and new paint, carpeting, fixtures and furniture were installed, including modern touches such as ergonomic stand-sit desk stations and a whiteboard. The space is frequently used by residents, fellows and medical students for meetings and educational sessions.


To learn more about a philanthropic gift to advance the mission of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, contact Gillian Fink, development director, or visit