Paul A. Bonenfant Memorial Scholarship planned

By Lee Mather
The optics community lost a dear friend and leader when Paul Bonenfant passed away. To honor his life and accomplishments, Paul’s colleagues and family are working with the OSA Foundation to establish a special scholarship program.

With the goals of providing international experience to students as they prepare for their professional lives and promoting global engagement and collaboration, this new need-based scholarship will enable undergraduate students enrolled in an engineering or physical science program to attend a semester-abroad program offered through their university.

“The unexpected and all-too-early loss of Paul was devastating to our family and to his colleagues and friends in the optical communications community," said Bonenfant’s wife Maria. "I am pleased to partner with the OSA Foundation to establish this scholarship campaign in Paul’s memory. His work was greatly enhanced by international collaborations and experiences so it is fitting that this scholarship seeks to provide that same important foundation to students. I encourage anyone who knew Paul and those who value international student programs to consider a contribution to this cause.”

The first scholarship will be awarded in 2013, and is very much in line with Paul’s enthusiasm for education and his advocacy of global engagement. Throughout his career, Paul enjoyed working with colleagues around the world; the success of his efforts is a great example for the next generations of business leaders and innovators.

Special recognition of Bonenfant and the scholarship campaign took place during the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition/National Fiber Optics Engineers Conference (OFC/NFOEC) and the OSA's Executive Forum, both of which were held in March 2012 in Los Angeles, CA, USA. Bonenfant was a long-standing active member of the OFC/NFOEC program committee and had been a presenter at past Executive Forum events.

Recently, the OSA Foundation announced a new challenge grant that will benefit the scholarship fundraising effort. An anonymous donor has agreed to a 1:1 match of any donation made after February 14, up to $50,000. The total fundraising goal for the campaign is $190,000. The Foundation asks supporters to help meet the $50,000 goal in the coming weeks.

To learn more about the scholarship program and to make a donation securely online, please visit .

The OSA Foundation (OSAF) was established in 2002 to support philanthropic activities that help further the Optical Society's (OSA) mission. The OSAF is concentrating its efforts on programs that provide career and professional development resources and support awards and honors that recognize technical and business excellence. The grants funded by the OSA Foundation are made possible by the generous donations of its supporters as well as the dollar-for-dollar match by OSA. The Foundation is exempt from U.S. federal income taxes under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is a public charity. To learn more about the OSA Foundation, please visit .


GRACE KLONOSKI is the Senior Director, Foundation, Membership & Education Services for the Optical Society of America, 2010 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20036; email: ; .

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