About IFL
Dr. James S. Tyler
Dr. James S. Tyler
The Coast Guard Academy's first endowed chair is funded by a generous gift from Dr. James S. Tyler Jr. and his wife Karen. Dr. and Mrs. Tyler live in California. Dr. Tyler grew up in Newburgh, New York. In July of 1954, following his high school graduation, he journeyed to New London, where he was sworn in as a Coast Guard Academy cadet with the Class of 1958. After completing three years, he left the Academy to continue his education at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). He graduated from WPI in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. He went on to receive a master's degree and a Ph.D. from Yale University.

Following his formal education, Dr. Tyler moved to California, where he was an entrepreneur involved with a series of high-technology companies in the Silicon Valley area. As a venture capitalist in the 1980s, he fostered an interest in a small firm, Optivision, Inc., of Palo Alto, which designed optical switches for Defense Department applications. In 1989, he became president and chief executive officer of the company. 

Dr. Tyler retired from Optivision in 1998, shortly after spinning off the organization's optical networking technology to Optical Networks, Inc. Dr. Tyler considers his Academy experience as very important in his professional development. "This place made an indelible mark on my future," he said, explaining that he learned how to deal with adversity, how to pick up and move on after a failure and how to persevere in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. "It was wonderful training, a wonderful background for an entrepreneur, though it may not have seemed like it at the time. So, I decided it was time for me to pay back the Academy." 

In 2003, Dr. Tyler read about then-Superintendent Admiral Olsen's desire to establish an endowed chair in leadership in The Bulletin and was impressed with the Admiral's vision of developing strong military leaders. In March 2004, Dr. Tyler visited the Academy to meet with the Superintendent, faculty, staff and cadets to discuss a chair in leadership and what it could do for the Academy. At the conclusion of his visit, Dr. Tyler met with Admiral Olsen and announced his intention to provide a gift to endow a chair in leadership. 

During Commencement Week 2005, the Academy proudly met Dr. Tyler's lofty expectations by announcing that Admiral James Loy (CGA '64) had agreed to fill the inaugural Tyler Chair. The James S. Tyler Distinguished Chair in Leadership is the Academy's first endowed chair, which is befitting Dr. Tyler's entrepreneurial and pioneering spirit. In May 2005, the Chair became the focal point around which the Academy stood up its Institute for Leadership.