Frederick C. Cordes Eye Society – Alumni Society of the Department of Ophthalmology, UCSF

Frederick C. Cordes
Frederick C. Cordes



The Frederick C. Cordes Eye Society was formed to foster and encourage active participation by alumni in the teaching programs of the Department of Ophthalmology of the University of California, San Francisco. Please see our History, below.

Please contact your Cordes President, Charles C. Lin, MD or Cordes liaison Leah Jarvis (All May See, Manager of Annual Fund and Analytics – or 415.476.4016) with any questions.

Pay Membership Dues

One fee gets you full benefits of the Frederick C. Cordes Eye Society and admission for you and a guest to all Cordes events. 

Please stay tuned for updates regarding membership dues for the 2023-2024 year. Thank you!

If you are able, please donate to the Resident Education Fund at All May See.




Past Event: ARVO 2023 UCSF Faculty & Alumni Reception

Thank you for joining us for our Faculty & Alumni Reception during the ARVO 2023 Annual Meeting (April 23 – 27) in New Orleans, LA

Venue: Napoleon House

500 Chartres Street (In the French Quarter)New Orleans, Louisiana 70130

Date: Sunday, April 23, 2023

Time: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM


Hosted by:


Past Event: 2022 Frederick C. Cordes Eye Society Scientific Meeting during the December Course 

Program and Reception – December 9th, 2022 from 5 – 8pm

The  2022 UCSF Ophthalmology Update was held December 9-10 in San Francisco, CA. Click Here for a copy of the full agenda.The Cordes Program and reception for the December Course attendees were scheduled for Friday, December 9th from 5:00 – 8:00pm at UCSF Wayne and Gladys Valley Center for Vision, 490 Illinois St., San Francisco, CA 94158. The evening’s program were as follows:5:00-6:00pm – Reception and Social Hour (South Lobby)6:00-6:45pm – Cordes Business Meeting (William G. and Ruth R. Hoffman Auditorium)6:45-7:00pm – Presentation of Ophthalmic Device Historical Collection (USF)7:00-7:30pm – Tour of Wayne & Gladys Valley Center for Vision7:30 – 8:00pm – Reception and Social (South Lobby)

For those who have not yet paid their dues, this year’s active Cordes Membership Fee is $150 and helps to cover the costs of our in-person alumni events during the year. Dues can be paid through our online form.

Thank you for your support of our efforts.

Kindest personal regards,
Charles Lin, MD
Cordes Eye Society


Past Event: 2022 Alumni Reception during the AAO Meeting in Chicago – Saturday, October 1, 2022 

A Cordes Alumni Reception was held during the AAO meeting in Chicago – thank you to all of you who were able to celebrate with us!

Sunda New Asian Logo

Venue: Sunda New Asian

             110 West Illinois Street

             Chicago, Illinois 60654

Date: Saturday, October 1, 2022

Time: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Host Logos




 Additional Benefits of Cordes Membership

  • Membership wall certificate
  • Communications and mailings that keep us up to date with each other as well as with the University of California, San Francisco, Department of Ophthalmology
  • Recognition in the roster of Active Cordes Members in an issue of Vision magazine, produced by That Man May See. Every issue of Visions seeks to highlight the accomplishments of our alumni. You are invited to send information to to be included in an upcoming issue
  • Cordes membership directory containing your colleagues’ updated information

Make a Gift to Support Resident Education

As alumni, each of us can take special pride in the increasing luster of your own UCSF education when our residents succeed and become leaders nationwide. The number of HEED Fellowships awarded overwhelmingly come to our UCSF residents. Since 2009, 47 percent of all UCSF Ophthalmology graduates have received this honor. Our program garners more Heed Fellowship awardees than any other in the country, a significant testament to its caliber. Our alumni gifts make a huge difference in the $100,000 spent annually by All May See for the department to provide trainees with didactic materials, surgical training supplies, educational travel, and funding for their research programs.

The education and training of the next generation of clinicians and scientists is one of our highest priorities at UCSF Ophthalmology. Please make a tax-deductible gift to All May See to support resident education. Help us inspire the future of ophthalmology. Click here to learn more about supporting resident education through All May See 












In the winter of 1948, as the Medical School community (and America) was coming back to normal after the end of World War II, Dr. Michael J. Hogan sent out an inquiry to former residents about having a reunion of the U.C. Eye Residents. The handwritten rough draft of his letter survives (Fig. 1 and Fig. 2). Carbon copies of the final draft have been found and date the beginnings of Dr. Hogan’s ideas to February 16, 1948 (Fig. 3).

Having received many favorable responses to his initial proposal, Dr. Hogan (a.k.a. “Uncle Mike”) drafted a formal letter to all of the known residents of the U.C. Medical School program (rough draft handwritten notes are seen on Fig. 4 and Fig. 5 along with a list of residents). He worked from a partially handwritten list of the then known U.C. residents (Fig. 6 and Fig. 7).

His final draft was typewritten on August 17, 1948 (no word processors!) and we do not have an original, but, some carbon copies of his original invitations still survive, one of which is reproduced here (Fig. 8).

Of course, we all must remember that U.C.S.F. medical center was not a “campus” of the University of California at that time, it was governed by a Provost, and considered a division of U.C. Berkeley. The Berkeley campus conferred any undergraduate degrees at that time.

That original meeting of the University of California Eye Residents Association was held as scheduled, on September 11, 1948, and was considered a great success. In succeeding years, the process for holding the meeting and the resident responsibilities for organizing the meeting became more refined. For example, in 1953, when second year resident Vernon Lightfoot, M.D. was the resident in charge of getting the meeting together, his letter was a simple, mimeographed, form letter that allowed for easy responding by potential attendees such as Dr. Harrington (Fig. 9). By the time Dr. Mullen was responding for the meeting, it had boiled down to returning a simple postcard for reserving your attendance (Fig. 10 and Fig. 11).

By the mid-1950s the rosters of the University of California Eye Residents looked like the one reproduced in Fig. 12, 13, 14.

Over the years after Dr. Hogan started the meetings in 1948, Dr. Cordes’ role in this meeting for the residents became of more importance, not only because of his faithful attendance, but also because he would later consistently arrange for the banquets to be held at the Bohemian Club in San Francisco, among other things. When Dr. Cordes retired as Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology, in 1959, members felt that the University of California Residents Association should be renamed in his honor because he had trained or was chairman during the training of all of the known graduates of the program at that time. He was, also, the first chairman of the “Department” of Ophthalmology. Previously, Ophthalmology had been known as a “Division” in the Department of Surgery of the School of Medicine. Since 1959, therefore, this organization has been known as the Frederick C. Cordes Eye Society. (also see Historical References).

In 1999, we celebrated the 40th reunion of the Frederick C. Cordes Eye Society (see Scrapbook Images). The actual 50th anniversary of the University of California Eye Residents Association occurred in 1998.

Therefore, historically, the 2008 meeting will actually be the 60th reunion of the University of California Residents Association. In 2009, the annual meeting was the 50th reunion of the Frederick C. Cordes Eye Society.



A current Roster is available electronically (MS Word format) upon receipt of an email request from a verifiable member of the society. Send your request to: Some additional rosters available online are the following:


Scrap Book

Click here to see images from the 1999, 40th reunion of the Frederick C. Cordes Eye Society.

Click here to see images from the 2008, 49th Annual Banquet.

Click here to see images from the 2009, 50th reunion of the Frederick C. Cordes Eye Society, provided by Greer Geiger, M.D.

Click here to see images (part two) from the 2009, 50th reunion of the Frederick C. Cordes Eye Society provided by Greer Geiger, M.D.

Professional photographs are available:
Genevieve Shiffrar photographed many of the events associated with the Cordes Society Anniversary meeting. She has put online a nice selection of photos for your enjoyment. There’s an easy-to-use shopping cart to order prints. Just go to or to and click on the link “Cordes Society Anniversary.” If you have any questions, please email Genevieve directly at


Historical References

Dr. Cordes’ A.J.O. Special Issue (click here)

Dr. Cordes’ Carter Collection Essay (click here) – A series of typewritten essays, written by historical campus figures, is contained in the Carter Collection of the Rare Books Room of the Main Library. This essay was written by Dr. Cordes as he contemplated his retirement from a 40 year relationship with the Parnassus campus. It recalls his memories from the earliest years of the Medical School of the University of California. It is written in his own style and, if read in its entirety, gives you a feeling that you might know him personally. It is reproduced here in its original formatting. R. Dudley Stone.