OSC Congratulates Endowed Chairs & Welcomes New Faculty

Aug. 3, 2020


The Wyant College of Optical Sciences is excited to announce that the first two Endowed Chairs enabled by the Distinguished Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences fund have been filled.

Prof. David J. Brady, currently the Michael J. Fitzpatrick Distinguished Professor of Photonics in the Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School of Engineering, and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University, will be joining the Wyant College of Optical Sciences as the inaugural holder of the J. W. and H. M. Goodman Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences established in January of 2019 by Joseph and Hon Mai Goodman.

“David is a thought leader in his generation, and Hon Mai and I are really excited to see someone of his stature in this endowed chair position,” said Prof. Goodman, William E. Ayer Professor of Electrical Engineering, Emeritus.

Prof. Brady, who will officially join the faculty of OSC in January 2021, is widely known for his highly innovative work in imaging hardware technologies and image processing, including his experimental realization, and subsequent commercialization, of gigapixel cameras. 

“Since Professor Goodman may be regarded as the founder of optical systems engineering, e.g. my chosen discipline, I am deeply honored to accept this opportunity. New imaging technologies emerging over the past decade, such as cell phone cameras, automotive lidar and holographic microscopy, arise from this field but represent mere glimmers of its long-term impact. The Wyant College of Optical Sciences, and the broader context of life science, astronomy, photography and media programs at the University of Arizona, form a unique global resource at the center of this revolution. I am humbled and excited to have the opportunity to join this program.”

“We’re excited to have David joining OSC.  He’s the perfect leader to champion the advanced imaging technologies that will enable ever-expanding applications in autonomous sensor systems and human engagement.  The endowed chair program is incredibly enabling to our growth into these important new directions for the optics and photonics field,” said Thomas L. Koch, dean of the Wyant College of Optical Sciences.

Our own Prof. James T. Schwiegerling, currently Professor of Optical Sciences and Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Arizona, has been named the inaugural holder of the Robert R. Shannon Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences, established by Jim Wyant in January, 2019.

Jim Schwiegerling has been an icon in the optical engineering group at the Wyant College of Optical Sciences, gaining tremendous respect from his peers and the optics community for his compelling contributions in both education and research.  Jim received his PhD in 1995 at OSC under the supervision of OSC Prof. John Greivenkamp, 2020 President of SPIE.

“Jim Schwiegerling has an outstanding record as an innovator and leader in the applications of optics to enhancement of human vision. This recognition of his work is well deserved” said Emeritus Professor and former OSC Director Robert Shannon.

“Having an endowed chair named in honor of Bob Shannon is truly humbling.  Bob's countless contributions to lens design and being an early proponent of computer-guided lens design are legendary.  I have been fortunate to have one of my designs make an enormous impact, but I have a lot of catching up to do to reach Bob's level.  Bob also has a passion for sharing his knowledge and educated many of today's top lens designers. I will strive to live up to this honor and continue this legacy for the next generation of optical engineers,” said Jim Schwiegerling.

Prof. Schwiegerling’s research spans innovations in wavefront sensing and optical system design with a particular focus in ophthalmic applications.  Jim has been widely recognized especially for highly successful multi-focal diffractive intraocular lenses that are now benefiting cataract surgery patients around the globe.


“I’m really thrilled by both of these outstanding appointments.  It is rewarding to see the kind of impact that the Endowed Chair program will have on the college, and the optics and photonics field at large, and I’m excited to see who will be joining OSC in the future” said Emeritus Professor and Founding Dean of the Wyant College of Optical Sciences James C. Wyant.

Endowed Chairs enabled by the Distinguished Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences fund can be named by $500,000 donors to the Wyant College of Optical Sciences while benefiting from an additional $1,500,000 contribution drawn from the $20M endowment fund established by James C. Wyant, founding dean of the college.  To date, six endowed chairs from this program have been publicly named, in addition to the Harrison H. and Catherine C. Barrett Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences for Cancer Imaging established in early 2018.

“We are fortunate to have a uniquely dedicated OSC community of donors and scholars that embraces and reinforces the College’s mission through their generosity and long-range vision. Their support is essential to providing promising futures for our students and faculty and for advancing the field of optics and photonics at large,” said Kaye Rowan, OSC’s Senior Director of Development.


We’re excited to start out the Fall 2020 semester with two new hires in the Wyant College of Optical Sciences.

The first is Prof. Ronald G. Driggers most recently from CREOL at the University of Central Florida, who will join us as a tenured Professor of Optical Sciences.  Many of you may know Ron from his current role as Editor in Chief of OSA’s journal Applied Optics for OSA, or from his prior role as Editor in Chief of SPIE’s journal Optical Engineering.  Ron is a prolific innovator in scientific and engineering solutions for infrared imaging technology and systems, while also holding major leadership roles in the Department of Defense.  These include Superintendent of the Optical Sciences Division at NRL, Director at the US Army Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, and Chief of the Electro-Optics and Photonics Division at the US Army Research Laboratory.

The second is Dr. Brandon Chalifoux, who received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from MIT last year and is joining the OSC faculty as Assistant Professor of Optical Sciences from his MIT postdoc position.  Brandon’s specialty is optomechanics, with research interests including challenging precision surface engineering for Xray optics and telescopes through innovative thin film stress management and femtosecond laser machining techniques.  In addition to strengthening our linkages with challenging space instrumentation programs and other departments at UA, Prof. Chalifoux will be helping to bolster our new optomechanics curriculum and degree program.

Dean Koch says, "I am very excited about the new research, partnerships, and educational dimensions that Ron and Brandon will bring to the college.  Please reach out to Ron and Brandon to welcome them to OSC!"