Jim Walters speaking at a presentation

Remembering Jim Waters

The Northeastern College of Science recently lost an important and influential member of the community. Entrepreneur, benefactor, trustee, and scientist, Jim Waters passed away on May 17th, 2021.

Born and raised in Nebraska, Jim Waters’ family moved to Framingham Massachusetts in 1942. In 1947, he received a bachelor’s degree in physics and engineering from Columbia University.

He served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II. In 1959, he founded Waters Associates, the pre-cursor to Waters Corporation, with five employees located in the basement of the police station in Framingham. Waters Corporation merged with Millipore in 1980. For more than six decades, the company has pioneered chromatography, mass spectrometry, and thermal analysis that serves the life, materials and food sciences while delivering benefit to society.

In 1996 Mr. Waters founded Cetek Corporation, a biotechnology research firm.He served as the chairman of the board until selling the company’s assets in 2007. With his wife, Faith Pigors Waters (MEd’72), he was the cofounder and trustee of the Waters Foundation, a private charitable foundation focused on systems thinking in the field of K-12 education.

Having firm beliefs in the value of higher education, Mr. Waters became a benefactor and trustee of Northeastern in 1984. He and his wife endowed the James L. Waters Chair in Analytical Chemistry with the Barnett Institute and Northeastern. In 2019, Mr. Waters was acknowledged with a Pioneer Award for his continued service toward furthering the mission of developing young scientists and contributing to the advancement of STEM education. The Waterses have provided numerous gifts to the Barnett Institute, including funding the James L. Waters Mass Spectrometry Laboratory and the James and Faith Waters 500 MHz NMR facility. Their generous gifts established the Waters Research Electrophoresis Fund.

Jim Waters was also a member of the Biotechnology Steering Committee, a benefactor of the Huntington Society, and a longtime member of the Barnett Institute Advisory Board. He served as a Lifetime Trustee Emeritus.

We remember Mr. Waters with admiration and appreciation and extend our sincere condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.

We invite you to learn more about his remarkable life and legacy in a remembrance from Waters Corporation.

Barnett Institute for Chemical & Biological Analysis