C A B L E . P O LY. E D U
In Mem or i a m
A Life Well-Lived Paul Soros left an indelible mark on his alma mater, the shipping industry, and the world
n Esperanto, Soros means “will soar,” and Paul Soros undeniably lived up to the name. His life’s trajectory—from his arrival in Manhattan with $17 in his pocket to his rise as one of the most influential shipping-industry engineers of the 44
20th century—was one of soaring vision, soaring achievement and soaring success. Soros, who earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from our school in 1950, had spent his childhood summers on an island in the Danube,
right next to the passenger terminal. Sitting with his friends, he watched the massive ships dock and un-dock and gained an almost visceral understanding of the behavior of mooring systems. As an adult engineer, he realized that holding ships with
mooring buoys would result in a port system that would not only require less initial investment but would also make it possible to load and unload ships in rough seas where it was not feasible to tie the ships to fixed structures, as was the norm. Thanks to his natural ability, stellar education and maritime knowledge, Soros found himself at the forefront of a new engineering specialty. Eventually, Soros Associates, the company he established, had projects in some 90 countries and was involved in engineering the highest capacity ports in the world for iron ore, coal, bauxite, and aluminum. When Soros died, on June 15, 2013, major papers around the world published tributes extolling his professional accomplishments. Many also mentioned his philanthropic ventures, including his creation of the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, which provides aid to immigrants seeking to gain higher education, and his sponsorship of Midsummer Night Swing, Lincoln Center’s outdoor dance party. Fewer mentioned his support of our school, which was, nonetheless, generous, steady, and effective. Among other selfless acts, he made major gifts to the Department of Chemical Engineering and provided seed funding to start a novel graduate program in financial engineering. In 2012 he launched the Paul Soros Prize for Creative Engineering, later renamed, at his modest insistence, the Paul Soros/Jerry Hultin Prize, in honor of the school’s President Emeritus. Thanks to Soros, new generations of students are getting their own chance to soar.