Remembering the Past While Planning for the Future

July 8, 2013
Norman W. Edmund

CEO of Tucson Co. Establishes Scholarship at UA College of Optical Sciences









TUCSON, Ariz. — Norman W. Edmund was known for his fearless entrepreneurial spirit.

Seventy years ago, Norman Edmund founded a mail-order company providing optical devices called the Edmund Salvage Co., which later became known as Edmund Scientific. 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. Today, the company, now called Edmund Optics, is regarded as a leading producer of optics, coatings, imaging systems and photonics supporting the worldwide technical community.

"My father's life's work was fueled by a passion for discovery and learning made possible through the use of optical instruments," said Robert Edmund, CEO of Edmund Optics. "It is only appropriate that a scholarship in his name be made available to those who also delight in the rewards of exploration."

Robert Edmund has chosen to honor his father's memory with a generous gift to the University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences, establishing the Norman W. Edmund Merit Scholarship in Optical Sciences. This permanent endowment will support undergraduate students who intend to pursue careers in optics. This scholarship is in addition to the company's own Norman Edmund Inspiration Award, which will be awarded on Oct. 9 to the outstanding STEM program that best embodies the legacy of Edmund Optics' founder, Norman Edmund.

"I feel a deep sense of pride when hearing stories of childhood memories linked to Edmund Scientific. Now, each time the Norman W. Edmund Merit Scholarship is awarded, my father's legacy will again be celebrated in a very tangible way in the field of optics," Robert said.

"The Norman W. Edmund Merit Scholarship accelerates the mission of the College of Optical Sciences — and the University of Arizona — by advancing the educational opportunities of our students," said Thomas L. Koch, dean of the College of Optical Sciences. "While the quality of our academic and research programs is the key factor in recruiting talented students, the availability of scholarships helps secure their enrollment."

In addition to Robert's personal interest in the college, serving as a volunteer chair for its development board of directors, his company also has a role as a corporate partner.

"Edmund Optics' commitment is evident from their engagement in student development and recruitment, research collaboration, and community outreach," Koch added. "Many of our graduates have joined the company over the years and gone on to very successful careers. I know that many more will do so in the future. The Norman W. Edmund Merit Scholarship underscores a very strong bond."

"Establishing this scholarship suits my father's unquestionable interest in furthering the fascination of young students. Making this gift was an important decision, not just for my family, but also for the College of Optical Sciences and the field of optics. We want to continue what we're doing here and do it even better. Another generation of engaged optics researchers will be a fitting legacy for my father," concluded Robert.

About Edmund Optics:
Edmund Optics is a leading producer of optics, imaging and photonics technology for research and development, electronics, semiconductor, pharmaceutical, biomedical, and military markets around the globe. EO is the world's largest supplier of off-the-shelf optical components. Customers can purchase items by contacting EO at 800-363-1992, via the catalog or via the website at

Company Contact:
Kirsten Bjork-Jones
Director of Global Marketing Communications

Phone: 800-363-1992
Fax: 856-573-6295
101 East Gloucester Pike
Barrington, NJ 08007

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

The University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences, founded as the Optical Sciences Center, has been shaping the future since 1964 by offering high-quality instruction, cutting-edge research and a solid commitment to the development of the optics industry. OSC remains dedicated to providing the state of Arizona and the nation with an internationally pre-eminent program in all aspects of the study of light. For more information, please visit or call 520-621-6997.


Kaye Rowan