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SNAME Remembers - Mandell and Lester Rosenblatt

The Legacy of Mandell Rosenblatt & Son Endures through SNAME Scholarships


At the request of SNAME’s Council and with the enthusiastic support of Presidents Robert Kramek, Keith Michel and SNAME’s Executive Committee, the Society has committed to enhancing its scholarship program in the coming years. SNAME recently introduced its “Matching Scholarship Contribution Program”, which is intended to stimulate giving to the named scholarship funds and encourage new named scholarships. SNAME will match dollar-for-dollar donations given by SNAME members to the various funds. Provision is made on the dues notice to contribute to these funds, and we hope many SNAME members will take advantage of this unique opportunity to assist in the development of future generations of marine professionals. For newly established scholarship funds, SNAME will match the first $50,000 given to the Society. Thus, donations of $50,000 or more by individuals or corporations together with the Society’s matching contribution will provide sufficient funds for a perpetual named scholarship, which would be awarded annually.

SNAME’s first named annual undergraduate scholarship, the Mandell and Lester Rosenblatt Undergraduate Scholarship, was awarded in 2007. Beginning in 2008, the Robert N. and Helen H. Herbert Undergraduate Scholarship, formerly the Robert N. Herbert Undergraduate Scholarship, was also designated to be given annually. As described below in the brief biographies, as two of the leading ship designers of their era, Lester Rosenblatt and Robert Herbert were responsible for many outstanding technical achievements. However, when you ask the former colleagues and business associates about the most important attributes of these industry leaders, the discussion inevitably begins with their exemplary personal integrity, business ethics, and dedication to their profession. These personal characteristics were also instilled in the successful marine consulting firms that these men developed and nurtured over their lifetimes. It is appropriate that the criteria for the two undergraduate scholarships that honor these gentlemen include both good scholastic achievement and contributions to professionalism. Leadership in SNAME student sections and/or the SNAME Student Congress, involvement with technical committees of SNAME, ASNE or other professional organizations, and contributions to K-12 and university level maritime related educational programs are the types of professional contributions that will be considered when selecting the recipients of these scholarships.

Mandell Rosenblatt’s inclination towards and talents in the art and science of ship design were apparent at an early age. When he was sixteen, Mandell entered a design contest sponsored by Motor Boat Magazine and won. He honed his talents through a life long dedication to self-study, and evening courses taken at Columbia University, New York University and City College of New York. He eventually became widely recognized for his expertise in engineering and naval architecture. During the Depression era Mandell taught classes in naval architecture and ship drafting at Drake College, and in subsequent years played a key role in the design of numerous wood and steel yachts, as well as commercial and naval ships.

Lester Rosenblatt received his bachelor's degree in naval architecture and marine engineering from the University of Michigan in 1942. Upon graduation he began his career with the John H. Wells firm, and from 1944 to 1946 served in the U.S. Navy at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, working on the structural repair of damaged warships.

In 1947, Mandell and his son, Lester, formed the firm of M. Rosenblatt & Son, Naval Architects and Marine Engineers as equal partners. The firm was incorporated in 1958 with Mandell Rosenblatt as chairman of the board and naval architect and Lester as president. Years later, Lester’s son, Bruce Rosenblatt, would continue the family tradition by assuming the role as president of the company.

Under the guiding hands of Mandell and Lester Rosenblatt, M. Rosenblatt & Son grew to be one of the world's largest and most respected private engineering firms specializing in naval architecture and marine engineering. The company designed a broad range of naval and commercial ships, extending from aircraft carriers and submarines to tankers, tugs, oceanographic vessels and high performance craft. Before the sale of the firm in April, 2000, M. Rosenblatt & Son had successfully completed over 25,000 design tasks. Among its earlier designs were the aircraft carrier, Saratoga; the experimental submarine, Albacore: and the oceanographic research sister ships R/V Knorr and Melville. Its later work included being Litton’s chief naval architectural consultants for the design of the Guided Missile Destroyer, Spruance and more recent work included the T-AGS 39 Maury Class Oceanographic Survey Ships.

Mandell Rosenblatt was a member of SNAME and served on a number of technical committees. Lester Rosenblatt was an ardent supporter of technical societies and the maritime profession. His contributions are numerous and include serving as president of SNAME, and on the governing board of Webb Institute and the advisory board of the University of Michigan. In recognition of his accomplishments in ship design and marine engineering, Lester was honored in 1967 by his alma mater, receiving the University of Michigan's Sesquicentennial Award. In 1984 he was awarded SNAME's Vice Admiral "Jerry" Land Medal and in 1987 he was awarded ASNE's Harold E. Saunders Award. In 1995 he was inducted into the International Maritime Hall of Fame and presented with the coveted Ship's Lookout Award for his dedication and leadership in the advancement of the marine industry.

With their belief that a strong navy, coast guard and merchant marine are vital to the well being of the nation, Mandell and Lester Rosenblatt dedicated their long and successful careers to professionalism, integrity, and technical expertise. It is most fitting that SNAME’s first named undergraduate scholarship, the Mandell and Lester Rosenblatt Undergraduate Scholarship, will be awarded in perpetuity in honor of these two men who gave so much to the profession they loved.