Boniuk honored for 50 years of service

June 1, 2011

Marilyn Jones, Dr. Dan B. Jones and Dr. Milton Boniuk at the ceremony honoring Boniuk’s 50 years of service to BCM .
Marilyn Jones, Dr. Dan B. Jones and Dr. Milton Boniuk at the ceremony honoring Boniuk’s 50 years of service to BCM.

The department of ophthalmology at Baylor College of Medicine recently honored longtime faculty member Dr. Milton Boniuk in a special ceremony for his dedicated 50 years of service.

"It was a spirited evening of toasts and remembrances of his accomplishments and contributions in teaching, patient care and research for many years," said Dr. Dan B. Jones, chair and professor of ophthalmology at BCM. "Dr. Boniuk has devoted his entire academic career to Baylor College of Medicine and the department of ophthalmology."

In 1961, Boniuk joined the Baylor University College of Medicine faculty as an assistant professor of ophthalmology. At the time, the department comprised of only four full-time faculty members and 10 residents.

"Dr. Boniuk rapidly became involved in all elements of patient care and teaching in the department, attending at both Ben Taub General Hospital and the Houston VA Medical Center," said Jones.

Currently, the department is comprised of 34 full-time faculty members, 18 residents and seven clinical fellows.

As director of the Ophthalmic Pathology Laboratory, Boniuk made substantial contributions in cataract surgery, glaucoma, ocular adenoviral infections, corneal dystrophies, retinal diseases and surgery.

"His description of the ocular pathology in the congenital rubella syndrome in 1967 was a landmark publication," said Jones. "He quickly emerged as a nationally and internationally-recognized expert in the pathology and surgical management of orbital and intraocular tumors."

Currently, Boniuk serves as the Caroline F. Elles Professor of Ophthalmology in the Alkek Eye Center and conducts a busy clinical practice in orbital surgery, eyelid reconstruction, ocular oncology and comprehensive ophthalmology. Additionally, he has a large role in the BCM resident and fellow education programs.

A native of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada, Boniuk received his Doctor of Medicine degree from Dalhousie University Medical Center in Halifax and completed residency training at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. He also completed a fellowship in ophthalmic pathology at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C.

Boniuk's contributions go beyond medicine, extending into the Houston community. He and his wife Laurie founded the National Society for Parent and Child Development in 1989. In 2004, he contributed $5 million to Rice University to establish the Boniuk Center for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance. In 1994, he established the Lions Eye Bank Foundation Milton Boniuk, M.D., Endowment Fund to support resident research in the department.

"My decision to come to Baylor to run the eye pathology laboratory in the department of ophthalmology in 1961 has been most rewarding. The department was in its infancy and I had the opportunity of participating in the development of one of the best departments in the country. I enjoyed the opportunity of working with many of the best students, residents, fellows and faculty members within the department and general faculty. I have had the freedom to pursue my areas of interest and in spite of the changes that have occurred in our medical practice, I still enjoy the interaction with many long-standing patients and the challenge of diagnosing and treating patients with unusual problems," said Boniuk.