SKILLMAN, N.J. – Dr. Geoffrey Tabin (Yale ’78), a professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine in the Department of Ophthalmology and the Co-Director of the Himalayan Cataract Project (www.cureblindness.org), was the winner of the 2007 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Achievement Award presented by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Rolex Watch U.S.A.
Dr. Tabin was honored on September 7 during this year’s International Tennis Hall of Fame Board of Directors meeting where he was presented a distinctive Rolex timepiece. In addition to this special gift, the he and a guest were invited to watch a session at this year’s U.S. Open from the President’s Box, courtesy of the USTA, and recognized during the ITHF’s Legend’s Ball.
The ITA Achievement Award was created in 1994 to pay tribute each year to past participants in the world of collegiate varsity tennis who have achieved excellence in their chosen careers. The person honored annually by the ITA as the Achievement Award winner is unique in his or her character and accomplishments. The spirit of this award honors both professional success and contributions to society, made either as a direct result of a career, or through humanitarian efforts.
“The lessons learned on the court over a period of four years are a vital companion to the academic lessons of higher education,” said David A Benjamin, ITA Executive Director. “The winner of the ITA Achievement Award is an individual who benefited from the experience of intercollegiate competition, went on to great accomplishments, and has made significant contributions to his community.”
Dr. Tabin formed the Himalayan Cataract Project in 1994, with Dr. Sanduk Ruit, a native of Nepal. The Himalayan Cataract project is a non-profit organization committed to eradicating preventable and curable blindness through high quality ophthalmic care, education and the establishment of a world class eye care infrastructure. The mission of the Himalayan Cataract Project is three-fold: respond to the pressing need for eye care in the Himalayan region, establish sustainable eye care infrastructure in the Himalaya and to create a sustainable system for eye care delivery by teaching local doctors to provide modern, high-quality ophthalmic care.
Since the foundation of the project over ten years ago, Drs. Tabin and Ruit have directly restored sight to over 65,000 people and this year in Nepal alone more than 110,00 people will have their sight restored due in large part to the extraordinary efforts of the Himalayan Cataract Project. Drs. Tabin and Ruit are working to develop other international eye care programs in India, North Korea and Ghana, and have published a book together entitled Fighting Global Blindness.
Dr. Tabin resides in Park City, Utah, where in addition to teaching at the University of Utah School of Medicine, he also serves as the Director of the Division of International Ophthalmology at the John Moran Eye Center in Salt Lake City. An avid climber, Tabin was the first ophthalmologist to summit Mt. Everest, and only the fourth person to climb the “Seven Summits,” the highest point of all seven continents. He played tennis for four years at Yale, serving as team captain in his junior and senior years. He also received the James Hutchinson Award for Leadership in Tennis. Tabin earned his Masters degree at Oxford University on a Marshall Scholarship, and completed his education at Harvard Medical School.
The ITA Achievement Award winner’s alma mater’s collegiate tennis program will also receive a $1,000 donation from the ITA.
The ITA Achievement Award winner is determined by a distinguished award selection panel. The members of the panel are: David A Benjamin, ITA Executive Director; Dr. Henry Bienen, President of Northwestern University; Senator John Breaux, 1995 ITA Achievement Award recipient and former Democratic senator from Louisiana; David Dinkins, former Mayor of New York City and a member of the USTA Board of Directors; Chris Evert, former tennis champion and President of Chris Evert Enterprises; Alan Schwartz, Past Chairman of the Board and President of the USTA and Founder, Co-Owner and Chairman of the Board, Tennis Corporation of America ; Stan Smith, former tennis champion; and Mark Stenning, Executive Director of International Tennis Hall of Fame.