Hormuth family leaves lasting legacy at IU School of Optometry

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

IU is an important part of life for the Hormuth family.  In fact, eight different family members have received a combined total of fourteen different degrees from IU ranging from optometry to medicine to accounting and business.  To be sure, the Hormuth family is deeply committed to Indiana University. 

One expression of this commitment came recently when Dr. David Hormuth decided to honor his father, Dr. James Hormuth, an Indiana optometrist, with the Dr. James O. Hormuth Scholarship at the School of Optometry.  The scholarship supports a fourth-year student with an interest in ocular disease who has established a record of excellence as demonstrated by a combination of academic success and engagement in the field of optometry.  This year, the very first recipient of that scholarship, Dr. Kristen Reierson, was honored by the Hormuth family at the School’s annual Capstone Graduation Seminar held at the IU Alumni Association on May 6, 2015.  Dr. Hormuth explains, “This field of distinction was chosen from all of the areas of the practice of Optometry because I believe it is critical to the advancement of our profession. The primary care Optometrist is confronted with diseases of the eye frequently due to their accessibility to patients regardless of the practice type or location. The ability of a patient to have such a highly trained subspecialist available to evaluate, treat and recommend referral as needed is the foundation for the future of eye care in America.”

Dr. Hormuth explained that he and his siblings decided to establish the James O. Hormuth Scholarship because “not only is  the financial benefit to the recipient  valuable, but also that having this distinction provides for recognition among their peers as an individual  who excels and embraces the future of their profession. This scholarship will provide recognition for hard work and dedication to the fundamental knowledge base of ocular disease, which we believe is one of the areas that an optometrist provides value to the growing health care system.”

Before presenting Dr. Reierson with a plaque commemorating her position as the inaugural Dr. James O. Hormuth Scholarship recipient, Dr. David Hormuth addressed the graduating class of 2015 with inspirational remarks about the field of optometry and what it has meant to his family over the years.  “Optometry is the ‘key hole’ to the body and to health,” he said, “and it’s critical that you take time to talk to your patients and listen to them.”  He went on to advise the students to develop projects in their local communities and to give back as much as possible to the profession. 

Dr. David Hormuth explained that his father graduated from optometry school in 1958 when it was a Division, not a School, at Indiana University.  He went on to run a very successful optometry practice in a small rural community in Indiana where he and his wife, Dorothy, raised their family.  He did it, as his son, Dr. David Hormuth explained, “on the back of optometry.” 

When asked what the James O. Hormuth Scholarship means to his family, Dr. Hormuth answered thoughtfully, “Throughout his 40 years of practice, my dad encountered challenges daily. These challenges ranged from unsuspected findings on routine exams, complex contact lens needs as well as the almost daily ocular emergency (foreign body and red eyes). In this community he developed a reputation as the expert in everything eyes. During his career he encountered health related issues including, neurologic disease, hypertension, diabetes and many others that all manifested as "visual complaints.” He truly made a difference to all of those he helped as well as to his community at large. This scholarship is the way his dedication to his profession, his caring ways for his patients and his recognition that ocular diseases required expert care will be recognized into the future. Our dad not only exemplifies dedication to his profession by providing this scholarship, but leaves his legacy to his new colleagues to provide outstanding Optometric care.  As his children, this scholarship is just the extension of our dad's genuine giving nature from which we were so fortunate to have benefited. Both he and our mother provided us a wonderful way of life, higher education, leadership skills and an excellent example of the consummate professional.   Our Dad was PROUD of his profession.”

And as for Dr. Kristen Reierson, being the inaugural recipient of the Dr. James O. Hormuth Scholarship was incredibly meaningful.  “I was truly honored to receive the award and to be recognized for my hard work in something I am very passionate about.  I think it is amazing the Hormuth family chooses to support optometry education in the form of this award.  Being able to meet the Hormuth family was a special privilege, it allowed me to put names with faces and made the award even more meaningful and personal.”

All family members in attendance at the Capstone Graduation Seminar event were clearly grateful to their father, as well as to optometry.  Those in attendance included Dr. James Hormuth’s son, Dr. David Hormuth and his wife, Renee Hormuth, his daughter, Jennifer Hormuth Miller, and another son, Jim Hormuth – all of whom traveled to Bloomington for the special occasion.

For the Hormuth family, this year’s Capstone Graduation Seminar was just the beginning – awarding the very first scholarship to a deserving fourth-year optometry student.  Thanks to their generosity and commitment to IU, there is now a larger plaque that hangs prominently in the Student Academic Center at the School of Optometry with Dr. Reierson’s name on it and 71 spaces left to fill in with names of future recipients.  Thanks to the Hormuth family, the Dr. James O. Hormuth Scholarship will support deserving optometry students in perpetuity.  They have not only honored their father, Dr. James Hormuth, for his incredible contributions to the profession, but they’ve also created a lasting legacy at Indiana University.

Hormuth family members who are IU alumni:

James O. Hormuth, OD 1958

David A. Hormuth, BS 1977, OD 1979, MD 1983, MBA 2015

Milton J. Miller, II, BS 1978 Economics, MBA Finance 1980

Jennifer Hormuth Miller, AS 1980 Optometric Technician

James J. Hormuth, BS in Finance, Kelley School of Business, 1985

John J. Hormuth, BS in Business, Kelley School of Business, 1987, MBA 1990

Milton J. Miller, III, Masters in Accounting, 2011

Clinton J. Miller, BS in Finance & International Business, Kelley School of Business 2013