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Sylvester and Gabriel Miniter standing at a mosque in Egypt

As both a grateful patient and an international businessman, Sylvester F Miniter III has much personal experience and wisdom to share, and we at UNC Ophthalmology wanted to listen. On a late Friday afternoon at the UNC Kittner Eye Center, he took a few moments to speak about the excellent care that his wife, Gabriele, and he have received here, especially from Dr. Kenneth Cohen. “Dr. Cohen is unique. His patient care skills impressed us as being of the highest standard. What was also very apparent was his obvious and deep passion for teaching.” Mr. Miniter also agreed to share with us here at Kittner areas where UNC Eye could improve and he was encouraged to be open and direct. What followed was sound and valuable advice based on many years of business experience.

“Dr. Cohen is unique. His patient care skills impressed us as being of the highest standard. What was also very apparent was his obvious and deep passion for teaching.”

Mr. Miniter is the Chairman/CEO of three businesses with locations in several US states and maintains a condominium in Chapel Hill and a permanent home in Eastern France. He has built a career in science & business on his ability to keenly observe and then draw valuable insights from those observations. Miniter is driven by his vision of how organizations and individuals can become more efficient, effective and profitable and his skill in assessing human talent and situations allows him to quickly identify areas for improvement.

Since re-establishing a base in the States in 2009 in North Carolina, he has been invited on several occasions to observe and advise UNC leadership and faculty in a several diverse areas of science, health care and business management. UNC Eye is pleased to be added to the organizations that benefit greatly from his time and advice. During our conversation and without a break in his attention to the discussion at hand, his eyes observed the comings and goings of patients as well as the services being provided by the UNC Kittner Eye Center staff. Mr. Miniter noted that patients he observed were treated with great courtesy and care and he further indicated areas for future growth and improvement, something as both patient and consultant, he and all patients can appreciate on many levels. In addition, he also noted specific areas where improvements can be made in training, equipment and various procedures and processes. Chairman, Dr. Donald L. Budenz, soon met with him to follow up on the next steps to address these areas for improvements and progress as well as to recognize current areas of excellence as seen through Mr. Miniter’s eyes.

Mr. Miniter’s extensive and varied career has taken him from positions in IBM Research & Management to leadership roles in organizational assessment and private businesses, where he often has applied his ability to identify ways for organizations to restore productivity and profitability.

As Friday afternoon waned, his thoughts were on “Giving Back,” a habit passed on to him from his parents. As a young Irish boy of very modest means, growing up in New York City, Mr. Miniter learned from his parents that with hard work, education and persistence, life could change dramatically. He particularly credits his mother who never failed to encourage her young son’s aspirations, as well as the extreme generosity of private donors whom he had never met, for funding scholarships to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There this promising young man studied electrical engineering and physics – and set off to change his life. “My parents would be pleased to know that I met with you today and I hope my comments have been helpful” was his concluding comment. Giving time to make a difference was a reminder of both his past roots and current purpose.

We are pleased that they chose to come to UNC Eye and its Kittner Eye Center, as we want to continue to improve and serve better all those who come through our doors.