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October 2022 Alumni Spotlight

Jerry Kuper

Hometown: North Woodstock (Maple Ridge Farm)

Currently Living in: Pittsford, NY (a suburb of Rochester located in western NY, in the Finger Lakes region)

WA Class of: 1972

Best WA Memory: Working on the yearbook for Class of 1971 and 1972 and managing the varsity basketball team

Favorite Teacher: Dominic Tedeschi – Physics; Thomas Juko – English; Daniel Gill – Chemistry; Marshall Tourtelotte – Guidance counselor (he drove me to Williamstown for a tour and interview of Williams College)

After Graduation: I went on to earn my BA in Chemistry with Honors from Williams College and my PhD in Physical Chemistry from The University of Rochester. WA provided the foundation to explore new subjects at the highest level. I became an optical scientist and have coinvented 17 U.S. patents on lasers, fiber optics, and illumination systems. I have worked with world renowned scientists, including a Nobel Prize winner (Dr. Richard Smalley) and helped explore the frontiers of various aspects of scientific knowledge.

Today: I’m a semi-retired Senior Scientist at the Institute of Optics, University of Rochester, in Dr. Robert Boyd’s group.

WA Takeaways: I developed the ability to manage my time well. During my junior and senior years, I participated in cross country during the fall, managed the varsity basketball team during the winter, and was a member of the baseball team in the spring. During these same years, I was a member of the yearbook staff. I also worked on the family farm for part of this period and maintained my academic achievement level.

Advice for Future Centaurs: Explore all the opportunities offered in high school.