After graduating from Pacific Lutheran University where she later would be named Alumna of the Year, Anita Hendrickson earned a Ph. D. from the Department of Biological Structure of the University of Washington followed by postdoctoral training in Chicago and Seattle. She joined the faculty of the newly founded Department of Ophthalmology as an instructor and rose to the rank of Professor of Ophthalmology and then Chair of Biological Structure, the first woman to chair a basic science department in the history of the University of Washington.
After her first publication in Investigative Ophthalmology, Anita published more than 150 scientific papers in the best journals, some still in press, as well as many book chapters. She became an internationally recognized authority on primate retinal and visual development and always was cognizant of the importance of her research to the human condition.
Her work did not go unrecognized. Anita’s many awards and honors include Dolly Green Scholar of Research to Prevent Blindness, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Paul Kayser International Award of Merit in Retinal Research, and the Proctor Medal of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. Her international studies were expanded by a Wellcome Fellowship in Cambridge and a Humboldt Professorship in Frankfurt.
Perhaps Anita’s most important and lasting legacy lies in the many students and fellows, scientific and clinical, who passed through her laboratory and now extend her work here and abroad. She had a remarkable ability to bring out the best in those she touched.
Anita died at her home in Seattle on March 7, 2017. She leaves behind her three children and countless others in the community of science and medicine, all grieving for the loss, but celebrating a life well lived.
Contributions in Anita's memory may be made online to the UW Department of Biological Structure Graduate Endowment Fund or to the UW Department of Ophthalmology Resident Research Support Fund. For additional information or to make a gift by phone, please contact Abbey Norris at 206.221.8274 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to see her obituary on Seattle Times please click here.
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