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Former governor of Puerto Rico was MIT alumnus

Luis A. Ferre, February 2003
Luis A. Ferre, February 2003

Luis Alberto Ferré (S.B. 1924), former governor of Puerto Rico and a staunch advocate of statehood for the territory, died on Oct. 21 in a San Juan hospital of complications following surgery.

A member of the assembly that wrote Puerto Rico's constitution in 1952, he founded the New Progressive Party in 1967 and served as governor from 1969 to 1973.

In addition to the S.B., Ferré earned the S.M. in 1925 in mechanical engineering. An accomplished classical pianist, he studied at the New England Conservatory of Music. He was chair of the Ponce Museum of Art.

Ferré joined the MIT Corporation in 1962, was elected a Life Member in 1975, and became a Life Member Emeritus in 1979. He served on several visiting committees and the Corporation Development Committee. In 1965, he was part of an alumni group in Puerto Rico that established La Sala de Puerto Rico, a function room in the MIT Student Center.

"This extraordinary man will be long remembered by his many friends and associates here and around the globe," Chairman Dana G. Mead wrote to members of the Corporation on Oct. 22.

Born on Feb. 17, 1904 in Ponce, Ferré was the grandson of a French engineer who helped build the Panama Canal before he settled in Cuba. Ferré's father, Antonio, moved to Puerto Rico and married Maria Aguayo Casals, a cousin of cellist Pablo Casals.

Ferré is survived by his wife, Tiody de Jesus; and two children, Antonio and Rosario Ferré. Burial was in Ponce on Oct. 23.

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