Robert M. Edmund Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences

Edmund Endowed Chair

Robert M. Edmund, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors for Edmund Optics, is well known for his expertise in business strategy, optical manufacturing and product development, as well as global catalog marketing. He has over 50 years of professional contributions in the field of optics and photonics.

In 1942, Robert’s father, Norman Edmund, founded a mail-order company, Edmund Scientific, providing consumers with optical devices. Within a decade, Norman's small optical surplus company became famous as the go-to source for telescopes, microscopes, science toys and gadgets of every description. In 1976, Robert assumed the leadership role and has since overseen the growth and re-positioning of the company, now called Edmund Optics, to its current emphasis. Today, Edmund Optics is regarded as a leading producer of optics, coatings, imaging systems and photonics supporting the worldwide technical community.

Among his commitments to the optics industry and education, Robert dedicated the company’s Edmund Scientific Division to outreach, teaching thousands of young students throughout the U.S. about optics each year. In addition, he has lobbied on Capitol Hill in support of optics for more than 30 years. He is also very involved with the University of Arizona, serving on advisory boards and is the founding chairman of the Wyant College of Optical Sciences Advisory Board.

Also at Wyant College, Robert established an undergraduate student scholarship, named for his father, and a graduate student scholarship bearing his own name to help further the academic and research interests of future generations of optical engineers.

Among his many industry accolades, Robert was named Fellow of the International Society for Optics and Photonics, SPIE, in 2021. This prestigious honor is a distinction recognizing individuals for their technical accomplishments and for their service to the general optics community. Robert is a graduate of Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business and is an exceptional Horseman.

In appreciation for Robert’s arduous commitment to help advance the field of optics, the Robert M. Edmund Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences was established by his long-time friend and Edmund Optics board member, Dr. John P. Schaefer, and the Fredrick Gardner Cottrell Foundation.