Long-time resident receives honor
March 4, 2014
John Bloomberg stood by his wall of medals, looking up at them proudly with his hands on his hips. He is an original member of the Park City Mountain Resort Masters Skiing Program and has won several gold medals at the national and world championships.
"My wife hates it when I show off," he said with a laugh as his wife, Toni, waved him off from the kitchen. "But it started with one instructor and seven wannabe ski racers, myself included. Now there are four coaches and 140 wannabe racers."
In 1981, after retiring at the age of 45, Bloomberg and his wife moved to Park City, one of their favorite ski vacation destinations, with their 7-year-old son, John.
Thirty-three years later on Thursday, Feb. 20, Bloomberg was presented with an Honorary Alumnus Award from the University of Utah for his contributions to the John A. Moran Eye Center.
He said if it was not for Dr. Randall Olson at the University of Utah health facilities, he might not be able to see the slopes he loves to ski on so much anymore.
"Randy saved my eyesight about 20 years ago after a botched operation at Scripps [Memorial Hospital] in La Jolla, Calif. left me with uveitis," he said. "He put in an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens, in my eye and saved my sight, so I thanked him and asked him, ‘What can I do for you?’"
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Olson asked Bloomberg for help in moving the eye center out of the "small space" in the University Hospital and creating a building with a research center. Bloomberg agreed to help and enlisted Steve Wynn of Wynn Las Vegas to become a primary donor and the chairman of the board of the Eye Center.
He then helped organize a board of directors, and John A. Moran, an alumnus of the University of Utah, made a "major donation." Now, the John A. Moran Eye Center has grown out of the first building Bloomberg helped to erect and expanded with the continued help of Bloomberg and the board.
Bloomberg graduated from Amherst College with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, joined the Army and returned to college to obtain his Master’s in Business Administration from Harvard University in 1962.
He then traveled to New York’s famous Wall Street and began working at Kidder, Peabody & Co. as a chemical and pharmaceutical analyst, working his way up to director of research at a larger firm until he retired at the age of 45.
Now Bloomberg and his wife live in Park City where they continue to raise money for the Moran Eye Center, enjoy skiing and collect art, something Bloomberg said he appreciates even more now after almost losing his eyesight.
He said he was honored to have received the Honorary Alumnus Award and proudly displays the crystal trophy that came with it next to his wall of ski racing medals.
"Sometimes when I’m racing, people ask me, ‘Did you graduate from the U?’ and I used to say, ‘No, I didn’t, but thank you,’" he said. "Now when people ask me that, I’ll be able to say, ‘Actually, I am an honorary alumnus.’ And I take that as a great compliment."