Fresnel Technologies

Richard Claytor and Nelson Claytor

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Optics research has yielded breakthroughs in medical imaging and communications, and UT Arlington’s capacity to explore this growing field is expanding, thanks to a $500,000 endowment established through a gift from Nelson Claytor. The commitment creates a distinguished professorship in the College of Science in honor of Nelson’s father, Richard Claytor, for his role in shaping Fort Worth-based Fresnel Technologies, a leading manufacturer of molded plastic lenses and related optical components.

Richard, who holds 28 U.S. patents, now serves as the company’s vice president. “Our hope is that this commitment leads to more and more visible support for optics in this region,” says Nelson, Fresnel’s president and a longtime member of the College of Science Advisory Council. He and the company committed $250,000 to create the professorship in the Physics Department. The sum doubled through Maverick Match, which leverages UT Arlington’s natural gas royalties to bolster the University’s endowment.

Where there are strong networks of companies in a technology such as optics there are also strong universities,” Nelson says. “There’s interaction between industry and the professors, and there are students coming out of the program who want to be hired locally.”

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