The end of a year will often find us in a reflective mode. For a great many of us, the cautious optimism with which we may have greeted 2021 can now be only a rueful recollection. Yet again, we have been reminded—individually, corporately, and nationally—that none of us is in full control of our own destiny. For an organization with a membership and staff on the level of SPIE, core operations have again demanded an unprecedented level of rapid response and ingenious flexibility. Yet with hope, and the benefit of this gained experience, we trust in the emergence of a Society that is stronger and wiser in the service of each individual. May that be true for both SPIE and for society at large.
For sure, SPIE is in powerfully good shape to sustain and further its role as the international society for optics and photonics. This year, we have augmented our conference operations, extending facilities for constituents in every location to connect with each other and communicate their results around the world. Indeed, SPIE membership has grown; our financial position remains remarkably solid, with staffing levels scarcely changed; and we have awarded new educational endowments and scholarships, providing tangible support for each causeway leading towards a brighter future. The annual refreshing of positions for volunteer leadership is now introducing another group of eminently well-qualified individuals from around the world to help steer the Society forward in 2022. In wishing them well, I know SPIE is in very safe hands.
To conclude this, my last President's Letter, I do want to take the occasion to thank all who, over many years, paved the path I have trodden. It is, of course, invidious to single out individuals—not least because there are so many who would richly deserve it. So let me simply acknowledge all whom I have met in, and through, my involvement with SPIE. I am thinking of past conferences, receptions, business trips, visits to Member groups both nationally and internationally, and numerous committees and boards whose intricate and very necessary work is far more interesting than could ever be guessed from outside. I thank all Members for their support of SPIE, adding especially heartfelt thanks to the many who have so enriched my life and career. In all my endeavours to serve the Society this year, I still cannot repay that debt, but I shall continue to try. Thank you.
2021 SPIE President