By the time E. King Schultz ’48 earned his bachelor’s degree, he had already studied with some of the giants of the engineering world.
Schultz vividly recalls working with some of the greatest minds of his time while at Hopkins. He worked on a research project with environmental engineer Abel Wolman, conducting a study of waste containment systems for the Associated American Railroad. He was also a student of electrical engineer William Kouwenhoven, a founding father of the emergency heart defibrillator and Hopkins’ first-ever honorary Doctor of Medicine degree recipient. In fact it was Kouwenhoven who encouraged Schultz to return to finish his degree in engineering after a tour flying B24 bombers in World War II interrupted his studies here.
Upon return, Schultz studied under Alexander Graham Christie, the internationally recognized expert on steam power plant design and construction. During his lectures, Schultz found himself furiously taking notes and sitting on the edge of his seat in anticipation. And in the towers of Remsen Hall, Schultz worked on the newly developed “Atom Smasher” and on the isolation of the uranium 235 isotope, an area of research that eventually led to the Manhattan Project.
Before graduating, Schultz met his future wife, Paula, then a voice student down the road at the Peabody Conservatory.
Because Johns Hopkins has played such a large role in their lives, the Schultzes recently made the decision to give the school $1 million through their estate for the establishment of the E. King and Paula Schultz Endowed Fund for Engineering Undergraduate Education. And, compared to the complex projects and lifechanging events that Schultz encountered during his undergraduate years, the reason behind the couple’s gift is quite simple.
“Hopkins is where I learned how to think,” he says. “Being close to some of these people— to study and work with them—was wonderful. Working with them just fascinated me. I owe Hopkins gratitude for the gift it gave me: my love for problem solving.”
And that insatiable desire to solve problems is what led a freshly graduated Schultz from his first job as a mechanical contracts salesman for Johnson Controls to a career that culminated in running the company’s entire international business.
“When I graduated and went to the corporation,” Schultz recalls, “I had a tremendous appetite for problem solving. Everyone else got frustrated, but I just loved it.” It was that singular quality, he says, that set him apart from his colleagues early on and catapulted him to success. He stayed with Johnson Controls for his entire career, which led him and Paula around the world, with posts in Australia, Mexico, Hong Kong, Argentina, South Africa, and Malaysia.
The Schultzes are now retired and living in California with their son, daughter, and four grandchildren. These days, he’s still flying—but instead of bombers, it’s a single-engine Cessna, with Paula as his copilot. “We have traveled the world, we have a successful family, and many longtime friends.” As for their generous gift to the Whiting School of Engineering, Schultz simply says, “Hopkins has blessed us so much that we want to give back.”