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06 March 2024

Optica Fellow Named University of Arizona 2024 Alumnus of the Year

Kent B. Rochford is honored by the Wyant College of Optical Sciences for his contributions to the field of optics.

Caption: Kent B. Rochford

Credit: SPIE

WASHINGTON—The James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona is a keystone institution for the optics community. Founded in 1964 as the Optical Science Center, the Wyant College is one of only a handful of academic units in the United States dedicated entirely to optics and photonics. Those who have received degrees in optics from the college include Optica Fellows Jack Jewell, inventor of the vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser; Jannick P. Rolland, an innovator and professor in optical engineering; and Eustace L. Dereniak, an internationally recognized expert and educator in infrared detectors and systems. From among more than 3,000 outstanding alumni, the College has named Kent B. Rochford—another Optica Fellow—as its 2024 Alumnus of the Year.

Rochford received his PhD in 1990 in Optical Sciences from the University of Arizona. He has an established track record as a leader in the field. His career includes a number of roles at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), including Acting NIST Director. He previously served as director of NIST-Boulder Labs and Assistant Director for Laboratory programs. He is currently the CEO of SPIE in Bellingham, WA, Optica’s sister society.

“Kent has been making important contributions to our field, as a researcher public servant and now in his leadership position as SPIE CEO,” says Optica CEO Elizabeth Rogan. “I congratulate him on behalf of Optica for this well-deserved recognition.”

Rochford impacts optics on a global scale. In addition to being an Optica Fellow, he was named a Fellow of the Chinese Optical Society. He currently serves as a member of the board for Photonics21.

“Dr. Rochford brings a wealth of expertise to Photonics 21,” says Jose Pozo, Chief Technology Officer at Optica, who also serves on the Photonics 21 board. “It is a great joy to serve alongside someone with such a passion for optics as we work together to promote the growth of the industry across the EU.”


About Optica

Optica, Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide, is the society dedicated to promoting the generation, application, archiving and dissemination of knowledge in the field. Founded in 1916, it is the leading organization for scientists, engineers, business professionals, students and others interested in the science of light. Optica's renowned publications, meetings, online resources and in-person activities fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate scientific, technical and educational achievement. Discover more at:

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