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University of Arizona Receives $20 Million Gift for New Faculty

The University of Arizona has received a $20 million gift from its founding dean to create new endowed faculty positions at the College of Optical Sciences.

James C. Wyant, who is a professor emeritus at the college and well known for co-founding optics companies, including WYKO Corp. and 4D Technology Corp., made the donation to create ten new faculty chairs to stimulate innovation and research at the school.

To be received by the college over a five year period, the gift is the largest ever in the university’s history to be donated for creating endowed faculty chair positions.

“Jim Wyant’s leadership, vision and support for students has already had an incredible impact on the UA College of Optical Sciences, and his legacy is one of the main reasons why the UA is a global leader in optics and photonics,” university president Robert C. Robbins said.

“This new gift will support faculty and enhance our students’ experience by enabling an environment that fosters leadership, learning, collaboration and connections, and it will help shape the success of UA students far into the future.”

The Optical College, known for its innovation, was set up in 1964 and has many private sector-engagements and research to its credit. Wyant joined the university as an assistant professor in 1974 and then rose up to become the founding dean in 2005.

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