Dr. Martin “Marty” Hafter had a successful career that blended his love for engineering and ETV-Dinner-and-Hafter-Center-Dedication-10-06-166-(2).jpgOptometry. Born in 1923, he graduated from Gratz High School in 1940 and worked for the U.S. Signal Corps. He attended Drexel University, enlisted in the Air Force in 1942 during World War II, and was discharged in 1945. The following year, he entered The Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) while working in the electrical department at Sears on the weekends, according to a long-time friend and classmate, Dr. Harry Kaplan ’49, PCO assistant professor.

“Marty was a smart student with a reputation for having the ‘golden touch’ in all things business, he had foresight,” said Dr. Kaplan, adding that , Dr. Hafter got interested in  war surplus items and recalling he would disappear for a few days at a time to sequester surplus lots and ship them directly to customers. “He had a true talent for business.”

Given his proven talent for business, Dr. Hafter enjoyed practicing optometry for many years before shifting his focus to his highly successful electrical enterprise. That being said, Dr. Hafter never lost interest in Optometry and in 1983, he received the PCO Alumnus of the Year Award.

Throughout his life, Dr. Hafter was actively committed to optometric education. He was the largest, individual financial supporter of PCO, yet he never sought attention for his contributions. When PCO moved from the Oak Lane campus to Elkins Park in 1998, the new campus lacked a social meeting space for the community. Dr. Hafter agreed that such a space would serve to nurture friendships begun in classrooms that would continue personally and professionally for a lifetime. The Hafter Student Community Center is the result.

His contributions to PCO have also resulted in the development of a number of educational programs and facilities including the Hafter Electro-Diagnostic Service, the Hafter Electro-Physiology Laboratory, the Hafter Light and Laser Institute, and the Hafter Student Endowment Fund. “He was a very philanthropic individual, but always in an unobtrusive way,” said Dr. Kaplan. He points out that Dr. Hafter never asked to have the Hafter Center named after himself. “He was very humble about his support of PCO/Salus, Drexel University and Deborah Hospital, among many others,” Dr. Kaplan said.
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On campus, Dr. Hafter will be remembered as a PCO alumnus and Salus benefactor whose generosity will have an impact on generations of future students and their patients.

The Salus University community lost a true friend and advocator on October 14, 2011. We cannot thank Dr. Hafter and the Hafter family enough for the impact they have made on the University for years to come. Dr. Martin Hafter, you will forever be remembered for your success and humble generosity.