University of Rochester

Harvey Pollicove, Founder and Director of the Center for Optics Manufacturing, Dies

January 30, 2004

Harvey Pollicove, founder and director of the Center for Optics Manufacturing (COM) at the University of Rochester, died Sunday, Jan. 25. He was 59.

Pollicove was scheduled to be honored this week at the Photonics West conference by Laurin Publishing's Photonics Spectra for the Distinction in Photonics award to "individuals universally recognized as having made outstanding contributions to the advancement of photonics."

"Harvey was one of those people who made a difference," says Duncan Moore, professor of optics at the University and co-founder of COM. "Through his leadership an "artisan"-based industry that was struggling in the 1980s was transformed into a thriving high-tech industry. It was simply a remarkable achievement by a remarkable man."

After earning his bachelor's degree from the University in 1973, Pollicove spent the majority of his career in optics manufacturing at Eastman Kodak Company. In the 70s, Pollicove lead the Kodak manufacturing team that developed and implemented a lens-fabrication process that allowed the creation of disk cameras, and later he helped develop a similar process that led to better optics in CD players. He held various management positions in optics manufacturing, production engineering, and technical market sales.

In 1990, Pollicove retired from Kodak to join the University and establish the Center for Optics Manufacturing with Duncan Moore, who was at that time the Director of the Institute of Optics. The center researchers design methods to produce lenses and other optical components that are traditionally difficult or impossible to create.

"I always think of Harvey as one of the first champions of research and development collaboration," says Rick Jarmen, director of technology partnerships at Eastman Kodak Co., who worked extensively with Pollicove after Pollicove left Kodak to begin COM. "He had a unique mind and ability to bring the government, industry, and university together—he was just a very special person."

Pollicove chaired several national and international optics professional society conferences on manufacturing, the latest being the SPIE- and APOMA-sponsored Optifab conference held in Rochester last summer. He authored numerous papers, including several articles for Photonics Spectra, and contributed to several books on optical manufacturing technology. He served on the American Precision Optics Manufacturers Association Executive Committee and the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization's Technical Applications Program.

Pollicove was an honorary member of both the Rochester Section of the Optical Society of America and the Hong Kong Photographic and Optics Manufacturers Association. He was active in U.S. and international optics standards, and chaired both the Optics and Electro-optics Standards Council and American Society of Mechanical Engineers optical standards committees. He helped and advised numerous optical companies during his tenure at COM and was recently appointed to the Edmund Industrial Optics' Board of Directors. He had twice received the Department of Defense Manufacturing Technology Achievement Award and was a co-recipient of an R&D 100 Award in 2001.

Pollicove is survived by his wife Catherine; daughters, Carolyn Russell, Sarah Pollicove; sisters, Elaine Kelberman, Betty Bekowsky, and Phyllis Raimone all of Fla.; brother, Allan of Utica, and many nieces and nephews.

Services will be held tomorrow, Jan. 31 at 3 p.m. in the University of Rochester Interfaith Chapel. Contributions in his memory may be directed to The Harvey M. Pollicove Memorial Fund, in c/o The Rochester Area Community Foundation, 500 East Ave., 14607, or to St. John's Home Foundation, 150 Highland Ave., 14620.