Kevin Rolland-Thompson Named Arizona Alumnus of the Year
TUCSON, Ariz., Aug. 14, 2015 — In celebration of his contributions to the field of optical systems development, Kevin P. Rolland-Thompson has been named Alumnus of the Year by the University of Arizona's College of Optical Sciences.
Rolland-Thompson is group director of R&D in optics at Synopsys Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., and a supporter of optics education.
He was the principal optical designer of the null lenses for the Hubble Space Telescope’s first servicing mission. He was also an optical designer for 29 years at Optical Research Associates (now part of Synopsis), where he provided optical layout for Sandia National Laboratories’ Solar 1, the first large-scale central tower solar collector. He also worked for the optical design group in the government division of Perkin-Elmer Inc.
"Kevin's accomplishments in the field of optics, as well as his commitment to providing opportunities to future generations of optical scientists and engineers, are nothing less than brilliant," said Arizona University Dean Thomas L. Koch. "We are proud that he is an alumnus of this college and that he is receiving this distinguished recognition from the university."
Rolland-Thompson received his doctorate from Arizona in 1980, working with professor Roland V. Shack on optical aberrations for optical systems without symmetry. He is a fellow of both The Optical Society and SPIE, has served as topical editor for the Journal of the Optical Society of America and was cochairman of the 1998 International Optics Design Conference.
Rolland-Thompson is also a philanthropist, campaigning with his wife and fellow Arizona alum Jannick Rolland-Thompson (an optics professor at the University of Rochester in New York), to secure $500,000 each for three optical sciences graduate student scholarship endowments in 2013 and 2014.
"Few people working in the fields of optics and photonics today have had the same level of impact as Kevin," said George Bayz, vice president and general manager of the Optical Solutions Group at Synopsys. "Even fewer have made themselves available, like Kevin has, to peers and students to share ideas and provide encouragement."
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