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Robert M. Edmund Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences Has Been Established for the University of Arizona Wyant College

5/3/2022, Mainz, Germany   —

An eminent business leader in the field of optics, Robert M. Edmund, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Edmund Optics, now has his name on an endowed chair with The University of Arizona (UA) Wyant College of Optical Sciences.

Announced earlier this year, Dean Thomas L. Koch said the College received a monetary commitment to name the Robert M. Edmund Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences. The endowment gift was nominated by UA Emeritus President, John P. Schaefer, and funded by The Frederick Gardner Cottrell Foundation, a nonprofit organization established by Research Corporation Technologies Inc. to provide financial support for scientific research and educational programs.

"Endowed chairs are among the most generous and critical gifts in higher education and serve as vital support of academic excellence," said Koch. "Having an endowed chair named for Robert Edmund will attract the exceptional faculty we need to advance our teaching and research mission into exciting new areas of optics and photonics."

"Edmund Optics is keenly aware of the impact the Wyant College of Optical Sciences has on emerging new leaders in optics," said Edmund. "It is, therefore, an incredible honor to have my name on an endowed chair that will support a faculty member who will teach future generations of leaders to excel."

The Edmund Chair was part of an ambitious fundraising campaign launched by the College in 2018, and funded by an initial gift of $20 million from James C. Wyant and his family. The Wyant family gift was placed into the Distinguished Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences Fund to match a donor’s gift, three-to-one. The objective was to ensure that each endowed chair fund held a $2 million balance. By December 2021, the campaign reached its goal of 13 new endowed chair funds, each named by the donors, and raising $28 million.

With over 50 years of professional contributions in the field of optics and photonics, Robert Edmund has been serving as CEO of Edmund Optics since 1997 and Chairman of the Board since 1998. Countless numbers of people have personal tales on how Edmund Scientific (now Edmund Optics) sparked their initial interest in optics or optical technology. With that in mind, Edmund Optics is committed to educating the next generation of engineers with outreach programs designed by the company. In 2011, Edmund dedicated the company’s Edmund Scientific division to outreach and the program teaches thousands of students about optics annually.

Edmund has also lobbied on the Hill in support of optics for more than 30 years and has long been involved with the University of Arizona by serving on advisory councils. He and his family have funded three endowed scholarships, supporting undergraduate and graduate students pursuing careers in optics.

About Edmund Optics:

Edmund Optics® Edmund Optics® (EO) is a leading global manufacturer and distributor of precision optics, optical assemblies and image processing components with headquarters in the USA and manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Asia and Europe and sales representatives around the globe. EO has a very large inventory of optical components for immediate delivery and offers products, standard or customized, in small quantities but also in volume for various industries. Request a quote or place your order through the website or contact us via phone +49 (0)6131 5700 0 or email [email protected] by reference to our catalogue.

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

The University of Arizona James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences (OSC) has been lighting the future since 1964 by providing an internationally pre-eminent program in all aspects of the study of light. OSC offers a diverse student body, challenging courses, pioneering research programs with award-winning faculty, and close relationships with the optics industry. For more information, please visit

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