William F. and Helen M. Reynolds Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences

Reynolds endowed chair

William F. Reynolds, M.D., was raised in Chicago, Illinois. While his parents were strong supporters of his academic ambitions, the Depression era impacted the family’s savings. William then used his aptitude for competitive mathematics tests to earn a university scholarship that included graduate school.  Although a gifted musician and accomplished at science, art, and mathematics, he chose medicine as his field of study at the University of Chicago. Post-graduation, William served in World War II, and then became a faculty member at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. To satisfy his passion to help others, he moved into private and hospital practice, specializing in cancer diagnosis and therapy. 

Helen M. Reynolds grew up in Columbus, Ohio and pursued a nursing education at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati to fulfill a desire to help others. During her clinical work she met William Reynolds, an intern, and they were married shortly afterward. She retired from nursing to raise a family but remained an active volunteer with medical organizations and with caregiving.

As a tribute to William and Helen’s compassionate care for the well-being of many, including himself, their son, Robert O. Reynolds, gratefully established the William F. and Helen M. Reynolds Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences.


Robert O. Reynolds has degrees in Engineering, Physics, and Optical Sciences and has devoted much of his career to the development of optical instruments for astronomical and planetary science research and for national defense programs.