College of Optical Sciences Raises $12.5M for Scholarships

Date: 
Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The University of Arizona’s College of Optical Sciences has successfully completed one of the most ambitious scholarship fundraising campaigns in the University’s history.

More than 270 donors collectively raised $2.5 million in response to a $10 million challenge, establishing 27 new endowed scholarships for optics graduate students, raising the total to 30.

The campaign brings the total new endowed optics scholarship funds to $12.5 million. The news was announced Tuesday in San Francisco at a reception for the SPIE Photonics West, a leading optics industry convention, as the capstone to the college’s 50th anniversary.

James C. Wyant, professor emeritus and founding dean of the college, committed $10 million in scholarship funds in 2013. His vision was to help students through their first – and most challenging – year of graduate study. Then he uniquely structured his gift as a 4-to-1 offer to encourage others to participate. However, no one anticipated that the outpouring of support would happen so quickly.

Each of the new scholarship funds will award a stipend of $20,000 to first-year graduate students, and the university will waive tuition for all 30 of the scholarship recipients.

“Without question, these scholarships will dramatically enhance the college’s ability to attract the very best science and engineering students into optics and photonics, key to producing tomorrow’s leaders in our field,” said Thomas L. Koch, dean of the college.

Since its inception, the college has grown as a center of innovation and interdisciplinary research and today is the largest and most diverse academic optics education and research program in the nation. A prolific producer of intellectual property, it also has brought in a substantial number of the UA’s recent patents and licenses.

“In just over 50 years, the College of Optical Sciences has become a powerhouse of innovation and is a major contributor to the UA's international reputation for research excellence,” said UA President Ann Weaver Hart. “It is gratifying to see many of the builders of the college involved in extending its reach through this fundraising campaign. The University will benefit from their generosity for years to come, and we thank them for their vision."

Donors to the scholarship campaign, dubbed Friends of Tucson Optics, or FoTO, include optics alumni and faculty, as well as industry business leaders, an optics industry association and even faculty from other prominent universities. A graduate student, who wishes to remain anonymous, established a scholarship in a war hero’s name, hoping that it would inspire fellow students to courageously pursue excellence in their careers.

Others include James Mayo III, who helped establish the college in 1964 and also became its first graduate. He funded a scholarship in honor of his family. UA faculty member Nicolaas Bloembergen, a 1981 Nobel Prize recipient in physics, also contributed.

John B. Hayes, who received his doctorate from the college in1984, and his wife, Jane C. Quale, bookended the campaign by funding the first two scholarships. They recently created the 30th.

“Optics is an exciting technology that touches almost everything we do,” Hayes said. “Our high-tech world would not be possible without the understanding and technology enabled by optical science. It is a tremendous privilege to support the future generations of optical scientists and engineers who will continue to further refine our understanding of optical phenomena and develop exciting new technologies.”

The scholarships contribute directly to the Arizona NOW campaign, which was launched publicly in April 2014 and concludes in June 2018. To date, the campaign is ahead of pace, with more than 70 percent of the goal met. The comprehensive fundraising campaign also is distinguished by its unprecedented scope and its ties to Never Settle, the UA’s strategic plan.

“Jim Wyant has dedicated his career to elevating the UA’s College of Optical Sciences, and today he sets a historic bar as a philanthropist,” said James H. Moore Jr., president and CEO of the UA Foundation. “It’s thrilling to see support for students – one of Arizona NOW’s key priorities – transcend what any of us imagined possible in the first year of the campaign’s public launch. We hope this inspires even more donors to set aspirational goals.”

About the University of Arizona
As Arizona’s land-grant university, established in 1885, the University of Arizona produces graduates who are recognized as global citizens, engaged leaders and fulfilled individuals. The university is a member of the Association of American Universities, an elite group of 62 institutions that excel in research and academic achievement. It conducts more than $625 million of research annually.

About the University of Arizona James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences: 

The College of Optical Sciences is the world’s premier optical institute, with award-winning faculty, a diverse student body, challenging courses, pioneering research programs and close relationships with the optics industry. For more about the college, visit www.optics.arizona.edu.

About the UA Foundation
The University of Arizona Foundation is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to advancing the University of Arizona and managing Arizona NOW, the University’s comprehensive $1.5 billion fundraising campaign. Managing an existing asset base of nearly $820 million, the UA Foundation has helped generate nearly $3 billion in private funding to support the University. Learn more about the UA Foundation at uafoundation.org or arizonanow.org.

FoTO Graduate Student Scholarships

  • Arthur G. (Jerry) and Beatrice DeBell Memorial Graduate Student Scholarship in Optical Sciences
  • Boye Family Graduate Student Scholarship in Optical Sciences
  • DeMund Foundation Graduate Student Endowed Scholarship in Optical and Medical Sciences
  • Harrison H. Barrett Graduate Student Scholarship in Optical Sciences and Medical Imaging
  • Jack D. Gaskill Graduate Student Scholarship in Optical Sciences
  • Jacobus M. and Michelle L. Oschmann Optical Sciences and Business Leadership Scholarship
  • James C. Wyant Graduate Student Scholarship in Optical Sciences
  • James Mayo Family Graduate Student Scholarship in Optical Sciences
  • John B. Hayes and Jane C. Quale Graduate Student Endowed Scholarships in Optical Sciences I, II & III (3 scholarships)
  • John M. and Sophie Zavada Memorial Scholarship in Optical Sciences
  • Joseph W. Goodman Graduate Student Endowed Scholarship in Optical Sciences
  • Kenneth E. and Michele L. Moore Graduate Student Endowed Scholarships in Optical Sciences I & II (2 scholarhips)
  • Lawrence A. Johnson Graduate Student Endowed Scholarship in Optical Sciences
  • Nicolaas Bloembergen Graduate Student Scholarship in Optical Sciences
  • Optical Data Storage Graduate Student Endowed Scholarship
  • Professor Michel Cagnet Graduate Student Endowed Scholarship in Optical Sciences
  • Richard L. Shoemaker Graduate Student Endowed Scholarship in Optical Sciences
  • Robert M. Edmund Graduate Student Endowed Scholarship in Optical Sciences
  • Robert R. Shannon Graduate Student Endowed Scholarship in Optical Sciences
  • Roger Angel Graduate Student Scholarship in Optical Sciences
  • Roland V. Shack Graduate Student Endowed Scholarship in Optical Sciences
  • SPIE Graduate Student Endowed Scholarship in Optical Sciences
  • U.S. Army Capt. John E. Tipton Graduate Student Endowed Scholarship in Optical Sciences
  • William L. Wolfe Family Graduate Student Endowed Scholarship in Optical Sciences
  • Willis E. Lamb Jr. Graduate Student Endowed Scholarship in Optical Sciences I & II (2 scholarships)  
  • Louise A. Wyant Memorial Graduate Student Endowed Scholarship in Optical Sciences
Contact: 

Kaye Rowan 
520-626-8754
520-288-1128 (cell)
rowan@optics.arizona.edu