Thomas Gaylord to Give Commencement Address

Thomas K. Gaylord, Regents' Professor and Julius Brown Chair in Georgia Tech's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), will address the Georgia Institute of Technology's 222nd commencement ceremony on Friday, August 5, at 9 a.m., in Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Tech expects approximately 1,000 students to participate in the ceremony.

Last April, Gaylord received the Georgia Tech Class of 1934 Distinguished Professor Award. The prize, which includes the honor of delivering the summer commencement address, is the most prestigious award bestowed upon Tech faculty members. The recipient is chosen for his or her outstanding commitment to teaching, research and service and is selected by the Faculty Honors Committee.

At the ceremony, former student Theresa Maldonado (Ph.D. 1990), now on the faculty of Texas A&M, said, "Dr. Gaylord respected my capabilities completely. He demanded excellence. He also demonstrated a powerful human side of compassion when I had my first child while completing my dissertation. He is a key person in my life and a model for me to follow. His impact on me still resonates to this day."

Known for going the extra mile for students, he started an end of semester event called the Extended Program of Attitude Readjustment in 1974. The program is an informal gathering of students, faculty and staff and has taken place every semester for 30 years.

In October, the Optical Society of America will honor him with the Esther Hoffman Beller Medal. The award is in recognition of his ". . . innovative teaching that has brought the latest research results alive for students for 30 years and for his significant contributions to establishing Georgia Tech's optics and photonics programs," according to the citation.

Gaylord came to Tech in 1972. He earned his bachelor's degree in physics and his master's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri in Rolla. He received a doctorate in electrical engineering from Rice University. He has been a key contributor to the founding and development of the optics and photonics program at Georgia Tech. Gaylord is co-developer, with M. G. Moharam, of the Rigorous Coupled-Wave Analysis (RCWA) for the exact analysis of grating diffraction.

He has also developed exact analogies between electromagnetic optics in dielectrics and electron wave optics in semiconductors and contributed to the development of holographic data storage, fiber gratings, semiconductor quantum optoelectronic devices, birefringence measurements, photonic crystals and chip-level optical interconnects.

Gaylord is the author of 350 technical publications and 25 patents in the areas of diffractive optics, optical interconnects, optoelectronics and semiconductor devices. He has received the Curtis W. McGraw Research Award from the American Society for Engineering Education and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Graduate Teaching Award. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, IEEE and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.