October 8, 2014 — As part of its homecoming festivities, The University of Arizona (UA) will honor Jacobus (Jim) Oschmann, Vice President and General Manager of Civil Space and Technology at Ball Aerospace Corp. as a 2014 Alumnus of the Year on November 7. Jim is receiving this honor in recognition of his significant contributions to the field of optical sciences, particularly in optical design and technology development.
The College of Optical Sciences is globally known for its outstanding teaching and research programs,” said Thomas L. Koch, Ph.D., dean of the college. “While this reputation stems from the brilliance of our students and the dedication and expertise of our faculty, it is also our Alumni, like Jim, who have driven our success. His extraordinary accomplishments and dedication to his career makes Jim most deserving of this prestigious honor,” Koch added.
“I have worked very closely with Jim since 2008 and found him to be not only a superb leader and mentor, but also a powerful advocate for the development and advancement of the optical sciences in industry and academia,“ said Robert Freedman, Vice President and General Manager of Tactical Solutions, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. “As a University of Arizona alumnus he is an outstanding role model who has brought great credit to the University and the industry,” Freedman added.
Jim received a Bachelor of Science in Optics from the University of Rochester which ignited an interest to further his studies in this field. In 1983, he earned a Master of Science degree from the UA College of Optical Sciences and later ,returned to the University to earn an MBA from the Eller School of Business.
Prior to joining Ball Aerospace Corp. in Boulder, Colorado in 2004, Jim held positions in technical and managerial positions across the science and industry community, including the Gemini Observatory and the National Solar Observatory.
Jim holds two patents and has authored over 20 publications. He is a Fellow and Lifetime member of SPIE, chair of its membership committee and has served on the Board of Directors. He is a chairman of the SPIE conference on Optical, Infrared and Millimeter Space Telescopes. He has and continues to serve on various NASA, National Science Foundation and Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy review and advisory boards for a broad range of technology and both ground and space based observatories.
“Having an education from a world leading academic institution of optical sciences has opened many incredible doors of opportunities for me throughout my career. And because of my education, I have especially enjoyed the chance to work side-by-side with so many fascinating and accomplished scientist and business leaders,” Oschmann said.
Recognizing the critical importance to mentor a new generation of scientists, engineers, and scholars, Jim also volunteers on several advisory committees that are charged with providing strategic and mission guidance and advice to university and academic department administrators. At the UA, he serves on the College of Optical Science Development Board and is an active leader at Eller College.
“My continued connections with the College of Optical Sciences and Eller have also offered great benefits to my employers for recruiting purposes,” Oschmann added.
In 2012, Jim and his wife, Michelle, established the Jacobus and Michelle Oschmann Scholarship in Optical Sciences and Business Leadership. The scholarship supports first-year graduate students in optical sciences who may also hold a career interest in business management.