The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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College Donor Receives Distinguished Achievement Award

Jerome “Jerry” M. Paros, the Founder and CEO of Paroscientific, Inc. and one of the largest contributors to the College of Engineering, received a Distinguished Achievement Award from the university at its commencement ceremonies on May 13. Paros is an internationally recognized innovator and leader in the field of measurement sciences, the owner of more than 20 U.S. patents, a successful businessman, and a visionary philanthropist. Paros has established endowments at a number of national universities, including the Jerome M. Paros Fund for Measurement and Environmental Sciences Research at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, created with a gift of $2 million. That fund currently supports the NSF Engineering Research Center on Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere.

He has also funded the Jerome M. Paros Endowed Chair in Sensor Networks at the University of Washington School of Oceanography, created with a gift of $1 million, and the Jerome M. Paros Senior Research Scientist of Observational Geophysics at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, created with a $1.5-million gift. In addition, he created scholarships at five technical societies and established high school math and science enrichment programs in the Boston and Puget Sound regions. 

Paros was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, the son of Russian immigrants. He followed his brother to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he received his B.S. in physics 50 years ago. He then went on to earn his graduate degree in physics from Columbia’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1963.

Paros held positions during his early career with Kistler Instruments, Singer-Kearfott, and Perkin Elmer. In 1972, he left his job at Sundstrand Corp. in Redmond, Washington, to form his own company, Paroscientific, based in the same town. His research experience in the development of digital force sensors created the foundation for his groundbreaking work on quartz crystal resonator sensor technology and led to his invention of digital sensors of high resolution and increased accuracy. Paros currently holds more than 20 patents and has authored numerous articles in the field of instrumentation.

In 2006, he received the Albert F. Sperry Founder Award from the International Society of Automation (ISA) for his achievement in developing the first quartz crystal resonator pressure transducers and for the profound impact this innovation has had on the broad field of instrumentation.

His business prowess allowed him to foresee the marketplace possibilities of microprocessor-based digital data acquisition and the need for precise, digitally compatible sensors. He founded Paroscientific and saw its revenues steadily climb from $5,000 its first year to nearly $3 million in 1977. Today, Paroscientific occupies a five-acre campus in Redmond's Overlake area and employs nearly 50 people. It is the leader in the field of precision pressure measurement and generates annual sales in excess of $10 million. (May 2011)