University of Rochester to Increase Optics Faculty by 50%

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A $12 million challenge fund has granted the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester the opportunity to increase its faculty by 50%.

The fund, endowed by University of Rochester life trustee James C. Wyant and his wife, Tammy, will provide 60% of the $1.5 million required for a professorship and the $2 million required for a distinguished professorship.
James and Tammy Wyant. Courtesy of the University of Rochester.
James and Tammy Wyant. Courtesy of the University of Rochester. 
The first distinguished professorship will recognize Nobel Prize recipient Donna Strickland, among the most notable alumni of the institute. An $800,000 gift from Optica will be more than matched by $1.2 million from the Wyant Challenge.

The 10-year challenge fund will create 10 endowed professorships — five distinguished professorships for renowned faculty and five professorships for early-career faculty. This will allow the institute to increase the number of its full-time faculty members from 20 to 30, with most of the expansion expected to occur in time for the institute’s 100th anniversary celebration in 2029. A visiting professorship and staff position will also be endowed.

With the funding, there will be a focus on hiring new faculty with expertise in laser science, integrated photonics, and quantum optics, said institute director Thomas Brown. Though the new faculty will have primary appointments in optics, many will also have secondary appointments in other science and engineering units across the university, including the Medical Center and the Laboratory for Laser Energetics.

Published: September 2022
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