Medal Monday: Martin Hafter, OD ’49
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Medal Monday: Martin Hafter, OD ’49

President’s Medal Recipients

Marty and Florence Hafter on stage with Tom LewisMany people have been part of the proud history of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) and Salus University.  Alumni, faculty, and friends of the College helped establish PCO as a pioneer and leader in the field of optometric education and the profession of optometry. The following people - highlighted on Medal Mondays - were honored on May 20, 1995 at the 75th Anniversary Gala Celebration for their outstanding contributions to the College and the field of optometry and vision care.

At the Centennial Gala Celebration on April 27, 2019, additional alumni, faculty, and friends will be honored.  

Martin Hafter, OD ’49, LLD (Hon.) ‘88
(1923- 2011)  

Marty and Florence Hafter

Dr. Martin Hafter had a successful career that blended his love for engineering and Optometry. He was born in 1923, 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

According to a long-time friend and classmate, Dr. Harry Kaplan ’49, PCO, “Marty was a smart student with a reputation for having the ‘golden touch’ in all things business, he had foresight.” At one time, Dr. Hafter saw the profit in war surplus items. 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. 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.

Hafter Center dedicationDr. Hafter was actively committed to optometric education. He was the largest, individual financial supporter of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO), yet he never sought attention for his contributions. His contributions to PCO have 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, the Hafter Student Endowment Fund and the Hafter Student Community Center. He is a founding member of the President’s Associates and is a life member in the Iris Society. Dr. Hafter, who worked in engineering while studying for his Doctor of Optometry, founded ESCO Electrical Supply Company, Inc. He received the Alumnus of the Year Award in 1983. 

The Salus University community lost a true friend and advocator on October 14th, 2011. We cannot thank Dr. Martin 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.