Spyros Polemis '61
Graduate Commencement Speaker
Spyros M. Polemis hails from a family with roots in shipping that date back several centuries. He is a widely-respected international business leader and prominent figure in the global shipping industry. Born in Greece and educated in Athens, London and the United States, Mr. Polemis attended Stevens Institute of Technology, where he obtained a Mechanical Engineering degree in 1961, majoring in Naval Architecture.
Following graduation, Mr. Polemis performed his national service with the Hellenic Coast Guard as an officer/ships’ inspector, and later joined the family business until 1970, when he formed his own company—Seacrest Shipping Company, Ltd.
He is chairman and serves on the board of a number of shipping and maritime-related organizations. Currently, he serves as chairman of the American Bureau of Shipping UK National Committee. He is a member of the ABS Council USA; a member of the International Marine Industries Forum; a member and past chairman of the Board of the North of England P&I Association; past chairman of the Newcastle P&I Association; past chairman of the International Dry Cargo Ship-owners Association; and past director of the Hellenic Mutual War Risk Association.
Mr. Polemis is also the immediate past chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the international association for merchant ship owners concerned with all regulatory, operational and legal issues related to shipping, and also of its sister organization, the International Shipping Federation (ISF), the organization responsible for labor affairs and training issues for seafarers. These world leading shipping organizations represent the collective interests of ship-owner associations from 36 nations including the United States, most of Europe, Japan and Australia. ICS membership consists of national ship-owner associations representing more than 80 percent of the world’s merchant fleet.
As head of ICS, Mr. Polemis worked with shipping associations worldwide, as well as government ministers and governmental agencies, including the International Maritime Organization, a United Nations agency with responsibility for the safety of life at sea and the protection of the marine environment, and the International Labour Organisation, a UN agency with responsibility for labor affairs.
Mr. Polemis is a passionate yachtsman and is affiliated with numerous non-industry associations. He is a former president of the Yacht Club of Andros, past President of the Greek Orthodox Community of St Michael’s and the Holy Cross, London; a member of the Board of the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain; Archon of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople; a member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, New York, USA; a Freeman of the City of London; a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights; and a member of The Royal Thames Yacht Club.
In a career spanning 50 years, Mr. Polemis has been an illustrious figure in maritime commerce, shipping, and yacht-building. In May of 2012, he was inducted to the International Maritime Hall of Fame in New York.
In May of 2009, Mr. Polemis was elected to the Stevens Board of Trustees. As a member of Stevens’ Board of Trustees, Mr. Polemis has been unfailing in his commitment to advance the university’s strategic goals. Under his wise guidance and stewardship, Stevens continues to make great strides in its ascent among the world's leading technological universities.