Skip Navigation
Return to All Schools

Frieda Derdeyn Bambas Professorship in Ophthalmology

School of Medicine

Established in 2011

BambasFriedaFRIEDA GABRIELE MARIE JOSEPH DERDEYN, who later became Dr. Frieda Bambas, was nine years old when she and her mother emigrated from Belgium to the United States prior to World War I to join her father, who had left earlier to establish himself in the U.S.

The family settled first in Illinois and then in Oklahoma, where Dr. Bambas graduated from the University of Oklahoma before going on to receive graduate degrees from Middlebury College (MA) and the University of Oklahoma (PhD). According to her nephew, Conrad Derdeyn of Austin, Texas, Dr. Bambas “fit in very well in the university environment. She has always been a very sociable person, full of personality, as well as a dedicated teacher.” During her academic career as a professor of French, Dr. Bambas taught at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Central Oklahoma before retiring in 1974.

Following the passing of her husband, Rudolph Bambas, a professor of English, in 1998, she established scholarships at a number of colleges, including the University of Oklahoma, Carnegie Mellon, and Middlebury College. The scope of her philanthropy has created an enormous impact at colleges and institutions across the country, including the Wilmer Eye Institute. Her remarkable journey ended in September 2005, at the age of 100.

In appreciation for the care she received at Wilmer during treatment for macular degeneration in 2002, Dr. Bambas made a provision in her will to establish the Dr. Frieda Derdeyn Bambas Professorship in Ophthalmology.