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University of Texas Endowment Supports Optics

ARLINGTON, Texas, Oct. 7, 2011 — To honor his physicist father and also strengthen the university's optics-related research, Fresnel Technologies President Nelson Claytor has established the Richard N. Claytor Distinguished Professor in Optics endowment at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Richard Claytor founded Fresnel Technologies Inc. of Forth Worth, a manufacturer of molded plastic lenses and related optical components. He holds a doctorate in physics and 28 US patents and currently serves as the company’s vice president.

"I've been working at the company since I was 12 years old in one way or another, and he's taught me quite a lot of different things, from how to control a machine for optics manufacturing to how to run a company," Nelson Claytor said of his father.

The $500,000 endowed professorship will be funded by a $250,000 gift from Nelson Claytor and his company and a matching gift from the Maverick Match program, which uses the university’s natural gas royalties to encourage philanthropy and bolster its endowment.

“Our hope is that this commitment leads to more and more visible support for optics in this region,” Nelson Claytor said. “Where there are strong networks of companies in a technology such as optics, there are also strong universities. There’s interaction between industry and the professors, and there are students coming out of the program that want to be hired locally.”

The university said the gift will help UT Arlington recruit a world-class faculty member to lead optics research within the College of Science.

"This investment will have a significant, direct impact on the future of the optics industry and economic development in North Texas for generations to come," said Ronald L. Elsenbaumer, UT Arlington vice president for research and federal relations.

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