Optical Sciences Alumnus of the Year: Jacobus “Jim” Oschmann

Oct. 24, 2014

Leading up to the UA's 100th Homecoming, we are highlighting UA alumni who are being honored by their colleges with alumni of the year awards.

With two optics-related patents and more than 20 scientific publications to his name, Jacobus "Jim" Oschmann personifies enormous influence and is the UA College of Optical Sciences Alumnus of the Year.

Earning a master's degree in optical sciences from the UA in 1983 was not easy for the New York native. Granted a fellowship to study at the UA for one year, Oschmann doubled up on courses and lab work.

"It was intense, but extremely rewarding," he said. "Dedicated professors like Jack Gaskill and Eustace Dereniak, the college's 2013 Alumnus of the Year, helped me succeed."

In 2001, Oschmann returned to Tucson, this time to pursue an MBA.

His career has been a progression of increasing responsibility in technical and managerial positions across the industry and science community. Today, Oschmann serves as vice president and general manager of the Civil Space and Technology strategic business unit at Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

A consistent advocate for the optics profession, Oschmann has served on review panels and advisory boards for NASA, the National Science Foundation and the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy. He is a lifetime member, a Fellow and a former member of the board of directors of SPIE, the international professional society for optics and photonics technology. Also, he serves on UA College of Optical Sciences development board and is the principal for Ball Aerospace's membership with the college's Industry Affiliates program.

Oschmann credits the generosity of others for his education and says that he and his wife, Michelle, are giving back through the the Jacobus M. and Michelle L. Oschmann Scholarship in Optical Sciences and Business Leadership to support a first-year graduate student.

Other UA alumni being honored are: