David H. Cushing Endowed Scholarship in Optical Sciences

David H. Cushing, an expert in thin films and optical coatings, was born and raised in Boston, where he earned his B.S. in electrical engineering from Northeastern University. He worked for several years at Baird Atomic Inc. with thin films pioneer Edgar Barr, and then cofounded MicroCoatings Inc. The company became renowned the quality of its work; NASA used their filters for the Galileo and Voyager spacecrafts.

After MicroCoatings was acquired by the Optical Corporation of America, Cushing was employed by JDS Fitel Inc. and Corning Precision Lenses. He and his wife, Helen, retired to Tucson in 2004, where he discovered the College of Optical Sciences.

David Cushing was extraordinarily generous to the college, donating a coating machine and sharing his expertise with students. After his death in 2009, Helen endowed this scholarship in his honor.


The Cushing Scholarship is awarded to one undergraduate student per academic year who is a U.S. citizen, preferably with an interest in optical coatings.

2021-2022: Matthew Hevert, Caroline Humphreys
2020-2021: Natalie Shultz
2019-2020: Clayton Kingsley
2018-2019: Diana Garland
2017-2018: Phillip McCann
2016-2017: Phillip McCann
2015-2016: Kaitlyn Williams
2014-2015: Derek Keyes
2013-2014: Benjamin Cromey
2012-2013: Hannah Grant
2011-2012: Gregory Jacob


Photo courtesy of Will Rivera