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Friend of COS receives prestigious Fellowship in International Society for Optics and Photonics

Nelson Claytor established an endowed professorship in his father’s name with a philanthropic gift to the UTA Department of Physics
Nelson Claytor established an endowed professorship in his father’s name with a philanthropic gift to the UTA Department of Physics

Nelson E. Claytor, Ph.D., president of Fresnel Technologies and a longtime member of the UTA College of Science Advisory Council, has been selected as a 2021 Fellow of The International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE).

Claytor, who is also an entrepreneur, inventor, and investor with a distinguished career in optics and fabrication, was selected for the prestigious honor for his technological advancements and contributions to science and the fields of optics and photonics. His father, Richard N. Claytor, Ph.D., was named an SPIE Fellow in 2015.

Claytor leads Fort Worth-based Fresnel Technologies, Inc. (FTI), which was founded in 1986 by Richard Claytor to innovate in and manufacture specialty plastics optics. A world leader in the field, FTI produces made-in-the-USA components which are incorporated into diverse systems worldwide, including those for infrared security monitoring, fluorescence measurements, thermometry, biomedical instrumentation, and skin care.

Displaying his belief in the importance of optics, Nelson Claytor established an endowed professorship in his father’s name with a philanthropic gift to the UTA Department of Physics. James Coleman, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, was named the Dr. Richard N. Claytor Professor of Optics when he joined UTA in 2019.

Claytor said the UTA endowed professorship in optics 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.

“Dr. Claytor is extremely deserving of this honor from SPIE. He has made many important contributions to photonics and optics and has been a leader in the field for years,” College of Science Dean Morteza Khaledi said. “He has also done a great deal to help the UTA College of Science and our Department of Physics, and I am extremely grateful for his service on the COS Advisory Council.”

Nelson Claytor is a 2019 recipient of the Fort Worth Business Press C-Suite Award, which is presented to CEOs, CFOs, information, marketing, innovation and financial officers in recognition of their leadership, business and civic contributions to their organizations and to the community. He is a founding board member of the Fort Worth Medtech Center, now TechFW, and in 2017 was the first recipient of TechFW’s Legacy Award.

Claytor is also director of Optical Fabrication for Ascentia Imaging of Boulder Colorado, and he is co-founder and vice president of the newly established North Texas local section of the Optical Society of America.

“It’s very gratifying to see Dr. Claytor receive this prestigious Fellowship because he has done so much to advance optics technology,” said Alex Weiss, professor and chair of the UTA Department of Physics. “He has worked with local industry to promote collaboration and has helped many of our students get their start in the business by hiring them after their graduation. He has made major contributions to the educational programs here at UTA, particularly through the creation of the endowed professorship in optics.”

Dr. Claytor received a B.A. in Physics from the University of California at Berkley in 1987, an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame in 1993.

In addition to his many other activities, Claytor also serves as chair of the Fort Worth Opera board of trustees, and he is an instructor and enthusiast at MotorSport Ranch in Cresson, Texas.

This year, 57 professionals will be recognized by SPIE as Fellows for their achievements and contributions to science, optics, and photonics. Claytor joins nearly 1,600 SPIE Fellows who have been honored since 1955. SPIE serves about 19,000 current members and more than 258,000 constituents.