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In memoriam: Roger Lessard

Roger A. Lessard died on February 26 after a battle with cancer.

Lessard was interim Editor of the SPIE Optical Engineering journal in 2000. Lessard served a one-year term while Editor Donald C. O'Shea served as SPIE President that year. He served as a member of the Editorial Board of Optical Engineering for several years, with his areas of expertise in photophysics, spectroscopy, and optical data storage. He was also a member of the SPIE Board of Directors from 1998 through 2000.

Roger A. Lessard obtained a bachelor's degree in science from the Université of Moncton, NB and in physics from Université Laval. In 1973, he graduated with a D.Sc. in physics and optics from Université Laval where he spent most of his career as a researcher and professor.

Dr. Lessard was Director of the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Optics at Université Laval. A tireless builder, he founded in 1989 the Centre for Optics, Photonics and Lasers. He is also co-founder of Holospectra (which became Lasiris and now StockerYale) and Laser InSpeck (now InSpeck). He sat on the Board of Directors of Gentec Electro-Optics and the Société du Centre des Congrès de Québec. He was a member of the scientific committee of Molex, a company located in Chicago and acted as a consultant to numerous start-up and established businesses in the province of Quebec and in the rest of Canada. He was an active member of scientific organizations such as SPIE-The International Society for Optical Engineering, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the Optical Society of America (OSA). He left his mark for his commitment to the Canadian Association of Physicists and as the founder of the annual Photonics North Conference. Recognized for the excellence of his research and training, he was an invited professor at the Imperial College of Sciences and Technology in London, Tianjin University in China, the Institute of Sciences in India and the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.

Dr. Lessard was a fellow of SPIE-The International Society for Optical Engineering, of the Optical Society of India and of the Optical Society of America. He was a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. He was named Ambassador of the Year for Quebec City in 1996 having organized several international scientific conferences. In 1998, the Quebec Tourism Board also named him Ambassador of the Year. He received an honourary doctoral degree from the Université Blaise-Pascal in France for his contributions to holography and to the development of optical materials. The Quebec Association for Industrial Research gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the field of optics in the greater Quebec region. In May 2002, he was named Knights of the National Order of Quebec for his dedication to the development of optics in Quebec and internationally.

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