New Ophthalmology Professorship Awarded to Support Veterans

Dr. Daniel Knoch

Daniel Knoch, MD, a professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, formally received the inaugural appointment to the Carl and Mary Ann Berg Family Professorship of Ophthalmology at a special celebration on December 15, 2023. The professorship is the first of its kind and designed to attract the best physicians in order to maintain the highest level of care to our veterans.

Andrew Thliveris, MD, PhD, who retired from the department last September, stewarded the professorship though his personal relationship to the Bergs. “This professorship would not have been possible without the support of Department Chair Terri Young and Senior Director of Development Gillian Fink,” Thliveris said. “This professorship is designed to bring the very best physicians to this very deserving population. And the professorship could not be awarded to a more dedicated and talented individual than Dan Knoch.”

Dr. Knoch, who specializes in comprehensive ophthalmology, completed his ophthalmology residency training at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics in 2007.  Immediately following, he joined the UW faculty. He became a full professor in 2020 and currently serves as the Director of Ophthalmology Medical Student Education and the Vice Chair of Education and Faculty Development. In September 2023, Dr. Knoch became the Chief of the ophthalmology service at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans’ Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin.

Throughout his career, Dr. Knoch has been honored locally, regionally, and nationally with multiple awards for his teaching and clinical service.  These include being named Clinical Teacher of the Year by the ophthalmology residents three times, receiving the Dean’s teaching award, and receiving the national Award for Excellence in Medical Student Education from the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

“It is an honor, and a privilege to call Dr. Knoch a colleague,” said Department Chair Terri Young, MD, MBA. “His service and servant leadership makes him most deserving of this honor.”

“I am incredibly humbled,” said Knoch. “This professorship is an ideal way to honor the partnership between the VA and the University of Wisconsin. The VA is vital to the education of our learners as well as to our veterans.  This professorship has numerous facets and will allow us to best serve our wonderful veterans though new opportunities in quality improvement, research, retention, and education.”

About Carl Berg
Carl Berg is a real estate investor and venture capitalist who has been included in Forbes magazine’s list of the 400 richest people in America several times.  Thliveris, who is Berg’s second cousin, describes Berg as ‘a man with an incredible work ethic and sense of humility.’

Berg was born and raised in New Mexico. His mother was a schoolteacher, and his father was a heavy equipment operator, who died while trying to save two men from an equipment collapse when Carl was 12-years-old.

“Carl was a risk-taker and understands sacrifice,” Thliveris said. “He recognized the importance of serving a population that put everything on the line, and paid the ultimate sacrifice, like his dad, with their lives. Because of that, he decided to fund the professorship.”


Faculty, residents, and guests in front of a celebratory poster
Faculty, residents, and guests at the celebration on December 15, 2023