With $500,000 Grant to University of Arizona, SPIE Launches $2.5 Million Endowment Matching Program

SPIE Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona is inaugural contribution from the international society's new endowment-matching program

13 August 2019

SPIE Endowment Matching Program

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA, and CARDIFF, UK - Today, SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, announces a $2.5 million, five-year, educational-funding initiative. The SPIE Endowment Matching Program will enhance educational capacity in optics and photonics by supporting endowment funding at qualified institutions. The program adds to the more than $4 million that SPIE devotes annually to community support, including scholarships, travel grants, and student programs. The program's first grant of $500,000 creates the SPIE Chair in Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona.

With this new matching program, SPIE will support optics and photonics education and the future of the industry by contributing up to $500,000 per award to college and university programs with optics and photonics degrees or with other disciplines allied to the SPIE mission. The initial SPIE contribution to the University of Arizona, matched by a factor of three with funds donated by James C. Wyant and his family, names a new, $2-million-endowed faculty chair. SPIE encourages qualified institutions to establish future endowments with the Society, structuring funds to ensure perpetual or long-term availability for teaching and research.

"At SPIE we partner with educators and universities to advance light-based research, technology, and applications for the betterment of the human condition," said SPIE CEO Kent Rochford. "As a not-for-profit educational charity, SPIE is uniquely positioned to devote resources that create a larger pipeline of scientists and engineers knowledgeable about optics. In partnership with the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences, SPIE is helping to create the future."

"The proposal to fund an endowed chair, initiated by Jim Wyant's philanthropy, generated a terrific reaction from the SPIE Board of Directors," said SPIE President Jim Oschmann. "We were delighted to approve this exciting program and look forward to creating multiple new endowments in partnership with our colleagues at educational institutions across the optics and photonics community."

"The leadership and commitment of SPIE are helping to scale-up the college with this new endowed faculty position, leading to more teaching, more research, and more students, enabling us to provide more expertise to the world," said Thomas Koch, dean of the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona. "SPIE has long been a vigorous supporter of the College, but now we can generate even more talent to fuel innovations in robotics and autonomy, AR/VR, communications, biomedicine, astronomy, and all the other exciting fields enabled by optics and photonics. This is a critical and welcome investment in our faculty and students, and Jim Wyant's generosity and vision transforms the SPIE $500,000 contribution into a $2,000,000 endowment."

For more information about the SPIE Endowment Matching Program, please visit www.spie.org/endowment.

About SPIE

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, an educational not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based science, engineering, and technology. The Society serves 257,000 constituents from 173 countries, offering conferences and their published proceedings, continuing education, books, journals, and the SPIE Digital Library. In 2018, SPIE provided more than $4 million in community support including scholarships and awards, outreach and advocacy programs, travel grants, public policy, and educational resources. www.spie.rog.

Daneet Steffens
Public Relations Manager
+1 360 685 5478