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October 21, 2017

M.J. Soileau is a ‘Florida Icon'

Art Levy | 12/28/2016

M.J. Soileau: former vice president for research and commercialization at the University of Central Florida; researcher and professor of optics, physics and engineering, Orlando, age 72. The article begins:

"I never was the brightest star in the galaxy — and I’m still not — but I grew up learning how to work. I think one of the most important things you learn in science is, if you really push on a problem long enough and hard enough, it gives up.

"When I was a child and we were sharecropping, that was the only time I remember being hungry. What I remember about it, really, is the trauma associated with it. One morning, I was hungry and I started to cry because there wasn’t any bread. My mom, who was a very, very forceful lady, one of the most forceful people I have ever known, she grabbed me by the hand and marched me to the company store. She asked for a loaf of bread. The owner of the store was also the person we were sharecropping from. He said no. He would not sell us bread on credit. I thought my mother was going to kill him — I mean quite literally. She grew up cutting sugar cane from the seventh grade on, so she was a person to be reckoned with. We walked out with a loaf of bread..."

 

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