Sugihara George (SHS 1968)


George Sugihara began his academic career in a blaze of glory. After earning his B.S. from the University of Michigan, he went on to Princeton University securing a Masters and Ph.d in 1980 and 1983 respectively. His Phd. in mathematical biology received the Ogden Porter Jacobus Prize, Princeton’s highest academic award given by the Graduate School.

For three years, Sugihara was the Wigner Prize Fellow at Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Then, except for two significant breaks from the academic world, he taught and did research at Scripps Oceanography from 1986 to the present. In 2006 he was appointed the first holder of the McQuown Chair a gift totaling $500,000.

Meanwhile, Sugihara’s interests interested others. As he explored the patterns of systemic risk including the various factors that might trigger a catastrophic event, he
put aside his interests in college theoretical learning and replaced them with the issues in the business world.
For five years Sugihara was Managing Director of the Deutsche Bank, applying his understandings to hedge funds, banking and issues of credit. Then he returned to his intellectual home, Scripps. He seemed likely to stay. Then in center of all this
activity the world’s financial markets began to shake. Sugihara was working at his desk when as he put it, “China walked in and offered a big number.” All he had to do was think, and help China preserve itself through his understanding of the natural and economic forces in the world.

George Sugihara left for Beijing ten days ago.