University of Texas at Arlington endowment to honor optics innovator

Sept. 23, 2011
Arlington, TX--A new, endowed distinguished professorship at the University of Texas at Arlington will honor Fort Worth physicist and businessman Richard N. Claytor while strengthening the University’s optics-related research.

Arlington, TX--A new, endowed distinguished professorship at the University of Texas at Arlington will honor Fort Worth, TX physicist and businessman Richard N. Claytor while strengthening the University’s optics-related research.

The professorship will be funded by a $500,000 endowment recently established through a philanthropic gift from Nelson E. Claytor, Richard Claytor’s son. Richard Claytor founded molded plastic lenses and related optical components manufacturer Fresnel Technologies, Inc., which is based in Fort Worth, TX. He now serves as vice president of the company.

The hope is that the commitment leads to more visible support for optics in this region, says Nelson Claytor. “Where there are strong networks of companies in a technology such as optics there are also strong universities. There’s interaction between industry and the professors, and there are students coming out of the program that want to be hired locally,” he says.

Ronald L. Elsenbaumer, UT Arlington vice president for research and federal relations, called Nelson Claytor’s gift “a prime example of the role that private investment plays in furthering university research.” The gift will help UT Arlington recruit a faculty member to lead optics research within the College of Science.

Nelson Claytor and Fresnel Technologies committed $250,000 to create the distinguished professorship in UT Arlington’s Physics Department. That sum will be matched by the Maverick Match program, which leverages the University’s natural gas royalties to encourage philanthropy and bolster the University's endowment.

Pamela Jansma, dean of the College of Science, said Nelson and Richard Claytor have been friends of the College for many years. Nelson Claytor is a longtime member of its advisory council.

Nelson Claytor said the named distinguished professorship is intended to honor his father for the role he has played in shaping Fresnel Technologies and for the knowledge he has shared industry-wide through the years. Richard Claytor holds a doctorate in physics and 28 U.S. patents.

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