Robert L. Sproull Center for Ultra High Intensity Laser Research Dedicated

May 2005

Dr. Robert L. Sproull

On 11 May 2005, LLE dedicated the Robert L. Sproull Center for Ultra High Intensity Laser Research. This facility was named in honor of the University of Rochester’s seventh president and will house the OMEGA EP Laser System.

Robert Sproull first came to Rochester from Cornell University in 1968 to become vice president and provost. An internationally know physicist, he had been a vice president at Cornell, where he distinguished himself for his commitment to undergraduate education, his strong interest in both the humanities and the sciences, and his insistence on excellence in faculty appointments.

He had also served as Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency, supporting a range of programs from nuclear test detection to computer networking.

He was named president in 1970 but continued working alongside Chancellor W. Allen Wallis until 1974, when the responsibilities of the chief executive officer pass to Sproull.

The Laboratory for Laser Energetics became a leading center for laser research under Dr. Sproull’s leadership. He had the vision to move the Laboratory from the main academic campus to a new building on the University’s South Campus. This was crucial to the growth of the project because the new building was needed to house the next stage in the project: the 24-beam OMEGA Laser System. To support this goal he secured funding through a consortium of federal, state,and industry sources. This system supported nearly 10,000 target shots until it was replaced in the early 1990’s with a new 60-beam system that has already supported nearly 11,000 target shots and will continue to do so well into the next decade. Dr. Sproull firmly believed that LLE would become a venue for training future generations of scientists and researchers, as well as the world-class facility that it is today.

While president, Sproull also served as a member or chairman of many governmental and industrial advisory boards, earning him and the University national recognition.

He was named president emeritus and an honorary trustee of the University upon his retirement in 1984. He continued to consult with a variety of associations and government agencies, including the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Department of Defense where he had previously served as Chairman of the Defense Science Board.

Since his retirement, Sproull has also served as a trustee of the China Foundation for the Promotion of Education and Culture, as a board member of the George Marshall Institute, and has worked with the International Executive Service Corps.


Left to right: LLE Director Robert L. McCrory, Jr., University President Thomas H. Jackson, Board of Trustees Chairman G. Robert Witmer, UR President Elect Joel Seligman, President Emeritus Robert L. Sproull, and Principal Deputy Director for National Nuclear Security (NNSA)
Jerald S. Paul

On Stage

Left to right: Vice President Emeritus Donald K. Hess, President Emeritus Robert L. Sproull, LLE Director Robert L. McCrory, and Jerald S. Paul of the National Nuclear Security Administration

VIP tour of the OMEGA EP Viewing Gallery

VIP tour of the OMEGA EP Viewing Gallery

Dr. Sproull and Dr. McCrory Shaking Hands

Dr. Sproull and Dr. McCrory