Historical Lens: Graduate Stories, 'OSC and Beyond,' Wyant College of Optical Sciences, 1964-2020

    Date Posted: 
    Monday, May 18, 2020

    By Tammy Orr

    “Hi, Aden, this is Mary Warga at the Optical Society. You know Van Zandt Williams, don’t you?” Yes, but not very well. “Last week Van died of a heart attack while traveling in London. He was chairing our Needs in Optics Committee. They had made a recommendation that the U. S. needed another optical sciences center. Rochester’s Institute of Optics is the only one, and most new members of our society are from physics and engineering departments, or re-trained in industry. We think this study should go on to completion. Will you head it for us?” That sounds like a big order, Mary. Who are the other members of the Committee? “Rod Scott of PE, you know him well, Bob Hopkins of UR, Lem Hyde of American Optical, F. Dow Smith of Itek. If you agree, why don’t you come to our Washington office and discuss the future with them?” I did, and a new chapter began.(Aden Meinel, Echoes from a Simpler Time, p. 80)

    The founding of the College of Optical Sciences (OSC) has been recounted many times, and one need only look to the History section of OSC’s website to learn about the major milestones along the way. But the texture—how it actually looked and felt to graduates over the years—is something I hoped to capture with this article.

    For instance, how Bob Breault felt in 1969—after leaving a promising career in the U.S. Air Force—driving to campus his first day in Arizona, making his way up University Blvd. to a big hole in the ground (future site of the OSC building); or how Jannick Rolland, whose native language was French, wished she could have held a conversation in English on her first day of graduate school.

    I hope you enjoy these ‘chats’ with graduates through the years on how OSC’s faculty, staff and students enriched and enhanced their day-to-day graduate school experiences, and prepared them for life beyond the hallways of the Meinel building.

    OSC Academic Degrees Awarded

    First OSC Graduate—Captain James Mayo, MS, 1968
    1 MS Degree awarded in Spring, 1968

    Number of degrees awarded in Spring, 2020
    31 PhD, 41 MS, 32 BS, 1 Grad Certificate

    Total number of degrees awarded since 1968
    887 PhD, 1,482 MS, 7 MS PCE, 663 BS, 88 Grad Certificates

    1968James Mayo, MS1990Kent Rochford, PhD
    1971Leonard Mott, MS1996Joanna Schmit, PhD
    1974Brian Hooker, PhD1996Joseph Shaw, PhD
    1974Virendra Mahajan, PhD1998Erik Novak, PhD
    1976James Breckinridge, PhD2005Matthew Novak, PhD
    1976James Harvey, PhD2009Dae Wook Kim, PhD
    1979Robert Breault, PhD2009Michael Kudenov, PhD
    1980Devon Crowe, MS2011Anael Guilmo, MS
    1980John Greivenkamp, PhD2011Garam Yun Young, PhD
    1984Jack Jewell, PhD2012Stefano Young, PhD
    1984John Hayes, PhD2012Eduardo Bendek, PhD 
    1985Amy Phillips, MS2014Blake Coughenour, PhD
    1985Steven Saxe, PhD2014Laura Coyle, PhD
    1985Philip Stahl, PhD2014Tianquan Su, PhD
    1985Kenneth Castle, PhD2016Stacey Sueoka, PhD
    1990Jannick Rolland, PhD2017Daniel Millstone, MS