Marta Witer (OD ’79)

60th Anniversary Alumni Award Recipient

Optometrist Marta Witer’s (OD ’79) first year in residence at Conrad Grebel University College was so overwhelmingly positive that she remembers feeling like part of an extended family — and today as a member of the University’s Board of Governors, she’s delighted to be part of an even larger family. 

“Working together with motivated people dedicated to making the University the best it can possibly be — this shared goal makes for a very rewarding experience,” Witer says. “Having been involved in the strategic planning process and seeing the implementation and positive results of the plan only strengthens my support for the most innovative University in Canada.”

As the School of Optometry’s top donor and one of its top fundraisers and volunteers, Witer’s expertise and involvement with various health organizations have proven to be a valuable asset as the University expands. 

She and her husband Ian Ihnatowycz have also made a personal leadership gift of $500,000 to the School of Optometry’s recent expansion project — and in recognition of their support, the Witer Learning Resource Centre (WLRC) was officially opened in November 2009.  

Witer regularly attends Waterloo events, bringing a broad knowledge of health care issues to the table and demonstrating a true passion for the advancement of education.

“My experience at Waterloo was very special and different from many faculties in that the optometry school is very small,” she recalls. “I was part of a class of 60 and we spent four years together as a class. This created long-lasting friendships that have endured to this day. Many of my classmates have been involved in continuing leadership roles in their respective communities, so over the years many of us have stayed connected through our work on many initiatives important to our profession.

“We have many success stories to be proud of from our University, building an influential and supportive alumni community, helping the University to reach its goals of excellence in education, innovative research, and unique student experience.”