Marshall Rafal

RafaMarshall Rafal’s career started with five years at Esso Math and Engineering where he honed skills in the application of the digital computer to simulating real world chemical engineering plant systems. In 1971, he founded OLI Systems, Inc., which is now in its 52nd year of operation. CEO until 2017, Rafal helped to create a unique thermophysical properties engine and databank to support simulation of plant systems throughout the chemical process industries. OLI’s specialty is its unique ability to predict the behavior of electrolytic chemical systems to enable applications to process simulation as well as corrosion.  Perhaps the most gratifying outcome of this effort has been the application of OLI software to address environmental sustainability. After stepping down as CEO in 2017, Rafal has continued as OLI’s Chairman.

Rafal was the recipient of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) CAST Award for lifetime achievement in computing practice in 2002. He received his bachelor's in chemical engineering from The Cooper Union in 1963.

Role: Alumni Trustee
Elected to the Board: June 2023
Class Term: 2023
Term Limit: 2027

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.