Dr. Spivey was born in 1934, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He received his BA from Coe College and MD from the University of Iowa College of Medicine. He later completed his ophthalmology residency and received a Master’s Degree in Ophthalmic Science in 1964 from the University of Iowa, a Master’s Degree in Medical Education from the University of Illinois in 1969 and an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Coe College in 1978.
Dr. Spivey served in the Army from 1964-66, including one year as Chief of Ophthalmology of the 85th Evacuation Hospital in Qui Nhon, South Vietnam, where he received the Bronze Star. From 1966-71 he was Assistant and Associate Professor at the University of Iowa. He then moved to San Francisco and became Professor and Chairman of Ophthalmology and Director of Medical Education at the Pacific Presbyterian Medical Center which is now California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), (1971-87) . From 1971-76 he served as Dean of its School of Medical Sciences. In 1976 he became President of the Board of Trustees of CPMC and held that position until 1991.
In 1976 he became the founding CEO and Executive-Vice President of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), where he served for 17 years. Then, in 1992 and until 1997, he served as President and CEO of Northwestern Healthcare Network in Chicago and Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Northwestern University. In 1997-2002 he became the President and CEO of Columbia Cornell Care and Network Physicians in New York and Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Columbia and Cornell Medical Schools. In 1994 he became the Secretary General of the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) and from 2006 to 2014 served as its President. Dr. Spivey’s main fields of interest are Health Profession Education, Health Care Management, International Medical Care, Educational Exchange and Strabismus.
Dr. Spivey served on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology from 1974-1978 and of the AAO from 1978-92. He has been a member of the American Ophthalmological Society (AOS) since 1976 and served as its Council Chair in 1990-91. He received the Howe Medal in 1993, and was President of the AOS in 1994-95. He was Secretary General of the International Congress of Ophthalmology, in San Francisco (1978-82) and President of the American Board of Medical Specialties (1980-82). He was President of the Society of Medical Administrators from 1999-2001 and a member of the National Eye Advisory Council of the National Eye Institute (NIH) from 1987-92. He served on the Board of Directors of the Ophthalmic Publishing Company (American Journal of Ophthalmology) and as its President from 1998-2003, and was the founder and Secretary of the Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company.
Dr. Spivey is the recipient of over 40 medals and awards in ophthalmology and medicine. He is the author of over 140 peer reviewed scientific, education and management articles, and has given over 40 named lectures, including the Jackson Lecture. He received the Laureate Award of the AAO in 2015.
His community involvement includes founding the Pacific Vision Foundation, co-founding of the United States-China Educational Institute, the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the International Council of Ophthalmology Foundation. He has served on the Board of the Center for Macular Degeneration, University of Iowa from 2003-13. He is a member of The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem since 1999, becoming a Knight of the Justice in 2014.
Dr. Spivey has been married to Patti Amanda Birge Spivey since 1987. He has two grown children, Eric W. Spivey and Lisa L. Spivey, and four grandchildren.