Engineering Departments

Joseph Loring honored as the 2012 Distinguished Alumnus of Virginia Tech


Joseph Loring
Blacksburg, VA , May 09, 2012
Virginia Tech College of Engineering

Joseph R. Loring, of Arlington, Va., and the founder of LORING, with offices in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Princeton, N.J., is the 2012 recipient of Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering Distinguished Alumnus Award, as well the University’s Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award.

Loring’s work appears all over the world. He started his private practice in 1956, called Joseph R. Loring & Associates, Inc. After only six years in business, Loring was selected as the engineer to design the electrical systems for the twin 110-story towers comprising the World Trade Center in New York - then the world's tallest building. Ever since, his company has been labeled a pioneer in introducing efficient, reliable, environment-friendly building systems.

His trademark is now scattered around the world from the Federal Parliament House atop Capital Hill in the city of Canberra, Australia, to the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C., to the King Fahd Airport in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

With the Australian Parliament House, Loring, who received his degree in December of 1947 in electrical engineering, teamed with Mitchell/Giurgola and Thorp Architects in 1980, and they won an international design competition that Newsweek magazine later called “The Architectural Commission of the Century.”

When he worked on the U.S. Supreme Court Building, the ambitious project required that work be completed while the building was occupied and in use as usual. Loring described this complex project as one of the most challenging of his career that spans six different decades.

His company also received the 1999 American Consulting Engineers Council’s Grand Prize in the transportation category. The award was for the design of the mechanical and electrical systems for Terminal One at JFK International Airport, the first new terminal built at JFK in 35 years.

At Virginia Tech, Loring and his wife, Sheila Johnston, are members of the University’s Ut Prosim Society. He has served on the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s Advisory Board and on the College of Engineering’s Advisory Board. He is also a member of the College’s Committee of 100, the Advisory Board of the National Institute of Building Sciences, and a life member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

In 1999, Loring was inducted into the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni. He funded a scholarship under his company’s name that is awarded to a Virginia Tech student on an annual basis. In 2001, he was inducted into the College’s Academy of Engineering Excellence. Of the more than 58,000 living alumni, just over 100 other engineering alumni hold this honor.

He has funded the Loring Professorship, currently held by Saifur Rahman, professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Loring’s close ties with Virginia Tech came about in an unusual way. A native of New York where he attended Boys High School in Brooklyn, he had not planned on coming to Blacksburg. In 1944, he enlisted in the Army Reserve. He was given a test, and due to his high grades, the Army “escorted” him to Virginia Tech to study engineering for 12 months. Afterwards, he was assigned to work on a top-secret voice scrambling installation in the Pentagon during the remainder of World War II. He rose to the rank of staff sergeant, and after the war, he returned to Virginia Tech to complete his degree in electrical engineering in December of 1947.

“Joseph Loring’s exemplary career is a testament to his personal drive and skill as an engineer and as a businessman, and to the solid start his education at Virginia Tech gave him on the road to success. We can be proud to count him among our outstanding alumni. Well into his 80’s Mr. Loring has continued to go to work daily, contributing to his firm’s outstanding success,” said Richard C. Benson, dean of Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering and the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Chair of Engineering.


Lynn Nystrom
(540) 231-4371