Awarded to an alumnus or alumna whose professional accomplishments and achievements are exceptionally noteworthy and distinctive in his/her profession.


Professor Emeritus of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, Bill Wolfe majored in physics at Bucknell. A member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, he was Phi Beta Kappa and graduated Cum Laude. He then earned postgraduate degrees in both physics and electrical engineering at the University of Michigan.

Bill was a research engineer and lecturer in Ann Arbor, he was chief engineer at Honeywell Radiation Center before becoming a professor at the University of Arizona in 1969. His research has focused on electro-optical systems, analysis of optical device performance, physical properties of optical materials, infrared radiation, measurements and system design, radiometry, infrared detectors, and surface scattering.

Among his many professional endeavors, he was the editor of Infrared Physics and Technology, and past president of the International Society for Optical Engineers. A noted author and researcher in optical engineering, he has conducted programs on the space craft probe to Venus, been a consultant on the infrared aspects of the U.S. anti-missile program, participated in the design of weather satellites, and the Apollo Lunar landing communication systems. In the commercial sector he was responsible for the first design of the Cadillac infrared night-driving system. Recently he received a patent for the fluorescent detection of certain cancers.

Bill and his wife, Mary Lou, have two daughters, a son, and six grandchildren.