L-3 Donates Night-Vision Goggles to Teach Students Optics, Physics

Leading aerospace defense contractor L-3 Communications has donated a large collection of night-vision goggles to UT Dallas’ School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Night-vision goggles donated by L-3 Communications

L-3 Infrared Products donated nearly $700,000 in equipment to the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

The gift-in-kind, valued at nearly $700,000, was made through L-3 Infrared Products, the Dallas-area division of the company. Based in Garland, L-3 Infrared Products designs and manufactures military and commercial thermal imaging cameras and modules. The company’s products are used by military ground forces and urban tactical teams in support of global defense initiatives, public safety and homeland security efforts.  

The gift, which will create new educational opportunities for students in a variety of programs, was facilitated by Dr. Joseph Estrera, a UT Dallas alumnus and senior vice president and chief technology officer at L-3. When L-3 underwent reorganization last year at its night-vision and sensors division and shifted its focus to manufacturing long-wave infrared equipment, the night-vision goggles stopped being manufactured there.

“I knew we had state-of-the-art night-vision equipment, some of which had been used by military troops out in the field, but the remaining goggles and equipment were of little use sitting in storage,” said Estrera, who serves on the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Advisory Council.

Dr. Joseph Estrera

From left: Dr. Joseph Estrera MS and PhD’92, a senior vice president and chief technology officer at L-3, shows night vision goggles to Hector de Pedro, a doctoral physics student.

“When I heard that there was a real need for in-kind donations, I started thinking about what L-3 might have to offer. We believe in preserving the industrial base, and what better way to do that than through education?”

In addition to the goggles, L-3 also has begun donating professional-grade lab equipment to the University. All of the gifts from L-3 count toward the School’s $15 million goal as part of the University’s Realize the Vision: The Campaign for Tier One & Beyond. The five-year effort aims to raise $200 million by 2014. More than $12 million has been raised so far for the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics .

Among the many programs that will utilize the new goggles is UTeach Dallas, a program devoted to recruiting, developing and retaining secondary math and science teachers. The goggles will be used in the program’s graduate and undergraduate professional development courses, explained James “Bill” Neal, clinical professor and assistant director of UTeach Dallas.

Realize the Vision logo


“One of our goals is to make learning ‘real’ by giving our students tangible experiences that they can take back to their classrooms,” he said. “This phenomenal gift will help our students go beyond concepts; they’ll have the opportunity to experience science and technology first-hand. The ability to experiment and—quite literally— see things in a different way is invaluable. We’re so excited and grateful for such a generous and forward-thinking contribution to our program.”

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].