Alumni Profile: Leslie Berlot ME’54

Upon graduating from The Cooper Union as a Mechanical Engineer in 1954, Leslie worked for six months at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and then spent about two years enlisted in the Army. After this, he spent a year teaching Thermodynamics and heat power lab at CCNY before moving on to work at Lever Brothers as a junior project engineer in Edgewater, N.J. for about 3 years. Then he was at Picatinny Arsenal for 5-6 years first in plant engineering before switching to munitions development at one of their laboratories for the rest of his time there. 

During this period, Leslie got married, had two sons, and moved to Dover, New Jersey. After a short stint in the Washington D.C. area, he ended up at Bechtel in New York for about 5 years and then Con Edison for another half a decade. He then decided to try his luck out west – moving out to California first to Sharpe Army Depot (near Stockton, CA) then to Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo. Here he spent the rest of his working career (about 10 years) and switched from mechanical to environmental engineering, which he claims was very rewarding and stimulating. 

Leslie retired in Sonoma, California playing tennis and reading for about 10 years before finally convincing his second wife, Esther (whom he married in 1979), to move to Arizona. Now he says he’s happily living in Tucson, still playing tennis and studying philosophy, Spanish and keeping up with the political situation in the world and trying to keep Esther happy. Leslie recalls fond memories of his time at Cooper and says his experience there has had much to do with my journey and ability to enjoy life. 

At a recent alumni gathering in Tucson, Arizona, Leslie brought along his personalized Cooper Union medal, which he received at Commencement in 1954. Since many alumni had never seen one before, we decided to investigate their origin and piece together the history of these unique medallions, which can be found below under “Commencement History” in the May 2013 Alumni Newsletter.

Janet Reed AR’80 and Leslie Berlot ME’54 holding Leslie’s Commencement Medal