The optics community is mourning the death of Robert F. “Bob” Novak, a longtime instructor at Monroe Community College. Novak, 67, died Dec. 6 from complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema, according to his obituary. He leaves a wife, son and granddaughter. Novak completed undergraduate studies at Monroe Community College (MCC) and the University of Arizona and postgraduate studies at the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics. He returned to MCC in 1971 to teach, and became chairman of the college’s Optical Technology Department in 1975. He stepped down as chairman of the Engineering Technologies Department in 2006 and retired in 2008 with the title of associate professor emeritus. “During his 37-year tenure, Mr. Novak was the heart of the optics program,” MCC President Anne M. Kress said on the college’s website. “His focus was always on students, connecting them to internships and job opportunities and ensuring that they were prepared for immediate employment.” Kress said Novak “elevated MCC’s standing locally and nationally in the area of optical fabrication.” Novak was an honorary life member The Optical Society (OSA), a member of SPIE and a board member and former board secretary of the American Precision Optics Manufacturing Association. He also served on the board of directors for the Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster.