In Memoriam: Chuck DeMund

    Date Posted: 
    Thursday, May 16, 2019

    Charles ”Chuck” DeMund, science photographer, author, philanthropist and eminent friend to the UA James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences, passed away on Thursday May 9, 2019. As a world-renowned photographer of sciences, Chuck’s images captured outer space to the depths of the ocean. He made an undeniable impact on the field of optical sciences and photonics with this skill, an opportunity made possible by his 36-year career with defense contractor General Dynamics.

    His lifetime also included a long-standing active engagement with SPIE, serving as president from 1972-1974. As the chief officer for the DeMund Foundation, Chuck was committed to providing financial assistance at universities throughout the country with scholarships and grants. Among his commitments was the DeMund Foundation Graduate Student Scholarship in Optical and Medical Sciences established at the college.

    The scholarship was designed to honor his father, Herman’s, passion for supporting medical advancements and Chuck’s accomplishments in optics. It was Chuck’s intent that this scholarship would offer its recipients greater opportunities to work on unique and high-impact research, bringing the optical and medical sciences together, so that these scholars will develop exciting technologies that change lives. The DeMund Scholarship is among the 30 Friends of Tucson Optics (FoTO) scholarships at the college, offering an award of $20,000 minimum plus waived tuition to a first-year graduate student.

    “Chuck’s ties to the college started seven years ago when I found him on LinkedIn and learned about his early investments with SPIE," says Kaye Rowan, senior director of development at the college.  "We met at SPIE Photonics West for coffee and I learned all about his fascination for optics and his commitment for higher education. Those two passions bridged to the DeMund Scholarship at the college which was awarded annually for two years and then endowed in 2014 for permanent awards.”  

    “While students at the college have - and will forever - benefit from Chuck's sincere interest in student achievement, there are many of us here who will also miss a dear friend,” she added.

    "Chuck was a truly remarkable leader and friend to the field of optics - as a mover and shaker, as an enthusiastic champion of people, and especially as a champion and supporter of new students entering the field," said Tom Koch, Dean, Wyant College of Optical Sciences, adding that Chuck secured the DeMund Foundation’s five-year sponsorship to the college’s Winter School and Workshop in Optics.

    "All of us here at the college will miss him tremendously," said Koch.

    Also read: OSC Watts Up – Etendue Column SPIE- In Memoriam Charles “Chuck” DeMund