2007 Professional Achievement Award
Albert A. Alley ’60
Albert Alley ’60 knew he wanted to be a doctor when he was in sixth grade. At that time, Alley’s oldest brother was in his first year of medical school, and as Alley listened to his stories, he was in awe.
That same oldest brother was one of five reasons Alley attended Dickinson. What were the other reasons? His other siblings. Alley’s four brothers and one sister are all Dickinsonians.
After graduating from Dickinson with a B.S. in biology, Alley earned an M.D. from Temple University Medical School. He took a one-year internship at Akron General Hospital before serving as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. While there, he worked with an eye consultant in an ophthalmology clinic.
“Until then, I had no exposure to ophthalmology,” he recalls. “I enjoyed it so much that I applied for an ophthalmology residency.”
After two years in the Air Force, he entered the Temple University Wills Eye Residency Program, after which he started his private ophthalmology practice.
He settled in Lebanon, Pa., and became very involved in the community. He was president of the Good Samaritan Hospital and a member of its board of trustees. He was president of the Lebanon Rotary Club, district governor of Rotary District 7390 and received the Citation for Meritorious Service Award and Distinguished Service Award from the Rotary Foundation and the Service Above Self award from Rotary International.
In 1988, Alley attended an international Rotary convention in Philadelphia, where he met the incoming president of another club who was sponsoring an eye-surgical mission to the Philippines. That turned out to be the first of many mission trips for Alley.
In 1990, Alley officially founded World Blindness Outreach (WBO). Its mission is to treat the preventable and correctable blindness and eye diseases of people in Third World countries and in the United States.
“We have found that more than 42 million people are blind, and 80 percent of that is avoidable,” Alley says. And he would know—he has organized and led more than 60 international missions to more than 25 countries and performed more than 6,000 eye surgeries on these missions. He also trains the local physicians, nurses and technicians in the latest eye-surgery techniques and supplies them with instruments and equipment.
WBO is preparing for its eighth trip to Ecuador in July.
“We are planning about 250 operations,” Alley says. “There’s a pediatric ophthalmologist going with us because one of our major focuses will be on children.”
Alley’s work has received many honors, including the Temple University School of Medicine Certificate of Honor; Pennsylvania Academy of Ophthalmology Humanitarian Service Award; the American Academy of Ophthalmology Humanitarian Service Award; Good Neighbor of the Century Award from the Lebanon Lions Club; Melvin Jones Fellow from Lions International; Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from Boy Scouts of America; and the Lebanon Valley Sertoma Club Service to Mankind Award.
Alley has lived in Lebanon for 37 years. He has three daughters, Julie, Linda and Cynthia.
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