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25 February 2019

University of Arizona Renames College of Optical Sciences for 2010 OSA President James C. Wyant

Esteemed OSA Fellow honored for extraordinary impact as an educator, entrepreneur and philanthropist

WASHINGTON--The University of Arizona in Tucson, U.S.A., has announced that the College of Optical Sciences will be renamed the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences in honor of its founding dean,  2010 President of The Optical Society (OSA) and OSA Fellow.


Wyant was honored by the U. of Arizona for his significant impact as founding dean, faculty member and former director of the College that will now bear his name, and as a business leader and philanthropist.

“Jim Wyant’s generous contributions to the University of Arizona and the field of optics will enable future generations to explore new discoveries and technologies,” said 2019 OSA President Ursula Gibson. “Naming the College of Optical Sciences in his honor is applauded by the many who have benefited from his leadership and commitment to academic excellence.”

In 2018, Wyant created the Distinguished Endowed Chair and fund at the U. of Arizona College of Optical Sciences with a $20 million U.S. gift to support 10 new endowed faculty positions including an endowed chair in honor of 1985 OSA President Robert R. Shannon.

Wyant received M.S. and Ph. D degrees from the University of Rochester, U.S.A., in 1967 and 1968, respectively. His research has focused on applying interferometry to metrology problems in a number of fields including data storage, semiconductors, optical fabrication, and biomedicine. He is the author of more than 300 written publications and invited talks on interferometry, holography and optical testing.

As an entrepreneur, Wyant co-founded WYKO Corporation, 4D Technology and DMetrix. He has been a member of the board of directors for several organizations, including WYKO, ILX Lightwave, Veeco Instruments, Optics 1, DMetrix and 4D Technology. Recognition of his business acumen includes a University of Arizona College of Business and Public Administration Entrepreneurial Fellowship, Arizona’s “Innovator of the Year” Product Award, the Tom Brown Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award and the University of Arizona Technology Innovation Award.

Wyant has been an active OSA volunteer. He has served as editor-in-chief of Applied Optics, member of the Optics Letters Advisory Panel, associate and topical editor for both JOSA and Applied Optics, and associate editor of Optics Express. For the Society’s leadership, he has served as a member of the OSA Board of Directors and its Executive Committee, chair of the Society's Long-Range Planning Committee, chair of the Fraunhofer Award Committee and member of the CLEO Optical Metrology Committee, among numerous other positions.

About The Optical Society
Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and entrepreneurs who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit

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