UCI Gavin Herbert Eye Institute benefactor, Josephine Gleis, Dies

January 20, 2018
Josephine Herbert Gleis, longtime UCI friend and benefactor.
Josephine Herbert Gleis was a longtime UCI friend and supporter. 

Josephine Herbert Gleis, a longtime friend of UCI, has passed away at the age of 105. Her generous gifts to the university changed lives in the arts, neurology, and perhaps most significantly, vision health and research.

In 2007, Mrs. Gleis and her son, Allergan founder Gavin Herbert, made the initial $10 million naming gift to UCI to build Orange County’s only academic eye center. Community leaders and local ophthalmic companies followed their lead, ultimately contributing the $39 million needed to complete the building entirely through philanthropic investment.

“The generosity and leadership Mrs. Gleis demonstrated in the creation of the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute had an immediate impact on improving our region’s vision health and leaves a lasting presence through the research and clinical care her many gifts continue to support,” said Howard J. Federoff, Vice Chancellor, Health Affairs, and CEO, UCI Health.

The center opened in late 2013 and has impacted vision health locally through more than 162,000 outpatient visits and upwards of 12,000 surgeries.

Mrs. Gleis, who suffered from macular degeneration, continued to support the institute through gifts for research into novel treatments and possible cures for preventable blindness.

“She was an amazing person,” said Baruch D Kuppermann, MD, PhD, Roger F. Steinert Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology and Director of the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute. “Her commitment to eradicating potentially blinding disease was unwavering. Nothing would give the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute faculty greater pleasure than making her legacy one of supporting the people and research that make preventable blindness a thing of the past.”

Mrs. Gleis had two children, Gavin Herbert, Jr. and Marilyn Hausman (deceased). She leaves an extended family including 8 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, and 4 great-great-grandchildren.