UA College of Optical Sciences Announces Two Newly Established Endowed Chairs in Optical Sciences

Feb. 5, 2019
















OSC Announces Two New Endowed Chairs in Optical Sciences Named for J.W. and H.M. Goodman and Robert R. Shannon

Tucson, AZ – Two legendary scientists in field of Optics now have their names on endowed chairs with The University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences.

Announced today at a reception held for the College’s alumni and corporate partners in San Francisco, Thomas L. Koch, dean, said the College received commitments to name the J.W. and H.M. Goodman Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences and the Robert R. Shannon Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences. These endowments will support two new faculty positions in the College of Optical Sciences.

“Endowed chairs are among the most generous and critical gifts in higher education and serve as vital support of academic excellence,” said Koch. “Having these two new endowed chairs named after giants in the field will attract the exceptional faculty we need to advance our teaching and research mission into exciting new areas of optics and photonics.”

J.W. and H.M. Goodman Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences

Joseph W. (Joe) Goodman said that he and his wife, Honmai, established the endowed chair in their names to support faculty who are committed to taking discoveries in optics to new heights.

“It's hard to overstate the importance of an endowed faculty chair,” said Joe Goodman, named the William E. Ayer Professor of Electrical Engineering when teaching at Stanford. "Honmai and I know first-hand the impact the College of Optical Sciences has on the emerging new leaders in optics – and are grateful for the opportunity to support a faculty member who will teach future generations of leaders to excel.”

Joe Goodman, a renowned optical scientist, has been a steadfast leader in both the academic and corporate dimensions of the global optics community for many decades.

In academics, Joe held various positions at Stanford University from 1963 through his retirement in January 2001, including chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and senior associate dean for faculty and academic affairs of the School of Engineering.  He has authored more than 220 technical papers and served as Ph.D. thesis advisor for 49 students – a number of whom are now accomplished members of the faculty in the College of Optical Sciences.

He has written four major textbooks: Introduction to Fourier Optics, Statistical Optics, Speckle Phenomena in Optics and, with R.M. Gray, Fourier Transforms: An Introduction for Engineers. In 1965, his first full-length publication was named a Citation Classic by the Institute for Scientific Information. Joe is also a co-founder of Roberts and Company Publishers.

In the business world, Joe served as a Director of several corporations, including Optivision, Inc. (of which he was a co-founder), ONI Systems (for which he was the founding Chairman of the Board), and E-TEK Dynamics. He served on the Board of Directors for Ondax, Inc. from its founding until December 2004, and as the Chairman of the Board of Nanoprecision Products, Inc., a company he co- founded, until September 2006.

Joe is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, IEEE, OSA and SPIE. Also among his accolades are the OSA Frederic Ives Medal and the SPIE Gold Medal, both societies’ most distinguished awards.  He also served as OSA President in 1992.

In 2018, the Optical Society (OSA) named Joe the 2018 Honorary Member of The Optical Society. This honorary membership is the most distinguished of all OSA Member categories. The honor recognized Goodman for his fundamental contributions in the fields of Fourier Optics and Optical Information Processing through his research, teaching and classic textbooks.

“We’re thrilled to have an endowed chair carrying Joe and Honmai Goodman’s names.  It brings honor and prestige to the college and will certainly help us attract outstanding faculty to lead the exciting advances in our field,” said Thomas L. Koch, dean of the college.

The Robert R. Shannon Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences

Good friend and academic colleague, Jim Wyant, gifted the Robert R. Shannon Endowed Chair in Optical Sciences to the College.

“To me, this endowed chair is a fitting tribute to Bob, who has been a wonderful mentor to me for more than 50 years- first at Itek and then at OSC,” says Wyant, who fully funded the endowment at $2 million. “I want this endowment to honor this remarkable man who has made countless contributions to the science of optics as well as the College. He has a legacy for encouraging others to share in his passion for optics and I envision that the recipient of this chair will also carry that commitment.”

Grateful for the gift of an endowed chair in his name, Shannon stressed the importance that faculty have on the College’s global reputation for academics and innovation.

“Endowed faculty positions will transform the College, the University, the state of Arizona, and the world, as the students they teach will graduate and go on to develop technological innovations that impact society and drive economic growth,” said Shannon.

After receiving his degrees in optics from the University of Rochester, Shannon began his career as a staff physicist and senior lens designer with Itek Corp. in Lexington, MA, and progressed to the director’s role for Itek’s Advanced Technology Labs. His research focused on the use of computers for testing and optical design, metrication of large optical systems, design of synthetic-aperture optical systems, analysis and design of unobscured-aperture optical systems, and optical fabrication and test methods.

In 1969, Shannon came to the University of Arizona as a professor of Optical Sciences and in 1984, appointed Director of the University’s Optical Sciences Center (now known as the College of Optical Sciences). He served in that role until 1992, and now continues as Professor Emeritus of Optical Sciences at the University.

A prolific leader in the optics community, Shannon held terms as president of both SPIE and the OSA. He served on the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and Aerospace Corp.’s board of trustees, as well as a number of National Academy of Sciences committees. Bob’s many technical contributions have earned numerous awards including SPIE’s Goddard Award and Gold Medal and membership in the National Academy of Engineering. He is a fellow of OSA and SPIE.

“These endowments will provide a critical competitive edge to attract emerging leaders in the field to the College of Optical Sciences, and represent real growth in the size and scope our program,” said Koch, adding that a search will be begin immediately. He anticipates recipients for both the Goodman and Shannon chairs will be determined by the fall 2020 academic semester.

About the University of Arizona James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences: 

The University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences, founded as the Optical Sciences Center, has been shaping the future since 1964 by offering high-quality instruction, cutting-edge research and a solid commitment to the development of the optics industry. OSC remains dedicated to providing the state of Arizona and the nation with an internationally pre-eminent program in all aspects of the study of light. For more information, please visit or call 520-621-6997.


Kaye Rowan, Senior Director of Development
University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences