The Heersink Family Foundation has endowed four scholarships at the UAB School of Optometry. The Heersink Family Foundation Scholarship Endowment in Optometry is a gift of $100,000 which will support up to four recipients who plan to serve the Southeastern Alabama region after graduation.

“This is a gift that immediately puts a student on the path to professional success,” said Dean Kelly Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, FAAO. “I am grateful for families like the Heersinks who appreciate education and want to create a legacy in Optometry that lasts well into the future. Thank you for your generosity!”

Scholarship applicants must demonstrate solid academic promise and achievement and have earned at least an overall 3.2 grade point average in coursework completed prior to the time of application. Preference will be given to applicants who are from the Southeastern Alabama region.

The scholarship also provides tuition reimbursement of up to $25,000 after graduation if the recipient(s) chooses to practice in the Southeastern Alabama region and is an employee of Eye Center South or its subsidiaries for two years. Eye Center South is a leading ophthalmology practice with locations in the Alabama cities of Dothan, Andalusia, Montgomery, and Wetumpka. Florida locations are in Destin, Panama City, and Tallahassee. There are also Georgia practices located in Albany and Camilla.

Marnix Heersink, MD, supports the school and future optometrists because he understands the benefits of receiving a quality education.

“Many of my abilities, accomplishments and blessings of my life are due to my education,” he said. “I believe that a good education is one of the most important cornerstones in each of our lives and for society as a whole.

“At this stage in my life I increasingly realize how fortunate those of us who were given many things by others are and how indebted we are to those who came before us. There is an old Indian proverb that says, ‘We have all been warmed by fires that we ourselves did not build.’”

In addition to establishing an endowed scholarship at the UAB School of Optometry, Heersink, an ophthalmologist, invites optometry and ophthalmology students to participate in Eye Center South training programs. He generously provides learning opportunities to both professions since each plays critical roles in providing eye care to patients.

Brad Majors, OD, a 1993 UAB School of Optometry graduate, participated in Eye Center South’s Optometric Externship Program when he was a fourth-year student.

“Dr. Heersink provided an exceptional host site and I vividly recall his highly trained staff, his commitment to quality outcomes, community goodwill as well as internal and external continuing education,” he said. “Equally palpable was a commitment to optometry and co-management. Observing the abundant diversity in ocular pathology, surgery and subspecialties remains beneficial to me to this day.”