Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

How Daring Dreams and Unyielding Friendship Turned One Man's Blindness into an Extraordinary Vision for Life

Sanford D. Greenberg, PhD

62'CC 67'BUS, 65'Harvard

Chairman of the Board of Governors, Johns Hopkins University’s Wilmer Eye Institute, entrepreneur, author, and founder of End Blindness

In conversation with:

Miguel Fernández-Flores


Documentary Producer, VICE News

It’s a bitterly cold February in 1961. Sandy Greenberg lies in a hospital bed in Detroit, newly blind. A junior at Columbia University from a Jewish family that struggled to stay above the poverty line, Sandy had just started to see the world open up to him. Now, instead of his plans for a bright future—Harvard Law and politics—Sandy faces a new reality, one defined by a cane or companion dog, menial work, and a cautious path through life.

But that’s not how this story ends.

In the depth of his new darkness, Sandy faces a choice—play it “safe” by staying in his native Buffalo or return to Columbia University to pursue his dreams. With the loving devotion of his girlfriend (and now wife) Sue and the selflessness of best friends Art Garfunkel and Jerry Speyer, Sandy endures unimaginable adversity while forging a life of exceptional achievement.

From his time in the White House working for President Lyndon B. Johnson to his graduate studies at Harvard and Oxford Universities under luminaries such as Archibald Cox, Sir Arthur Goodhart, and Samuel Huntington, and through the guidance of his invaluable mentor David Rockefeller, Sandy fills his life and the lives of those around him with a radiant light of philanthropy, entrepreneurship, art, and innovation.

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend is Sandy's remarkable and inspiring story. He will be interviewed by journalist and VICE News producer Miguel Fernández-Flores. Time will be allocated for Q&A.

Cosponsored by:
  • Harvard Club of Washington DC

"Often his memories brought smiles; other times they left me near to tears. From the first page to the last, I was captivated by his bright mind, ready wit, and indomitable spirit."



Sanford D. Greenberg is Chairman of the Board of Governors of Johns Hopkins University’s Wilmer Eye Institute, the largest clinical and research enterprise in ophthalmology in the United States. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a Trustee Emeritus of Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine, which incorporates the School of Medicine and the Hospital.

Dr. Greenberg received his B.A. as Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia University in 1962. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, and his M.B.A. from Columbia University. He was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University and attended Harvard Law School. ​He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Sue; they have three children and four grandchildren.


Miguel Fernández-Flores is a Mexican documentary producer and shooter at the long-form unit of VICE News in New York. He's the author of the HBO short documentary, 'Beating Blindness.'


July 27, 2021 at 6:30pm - 8pm


Washington, DC
United States

Miyako Yerick


Will you come?