Carnegie Mellon University

In Memoriam

04-09-2010

Remembering President Stever

The following is a message sent by President Jared L. Cohon to the university community earlier today.

Dear Members of the University Community:

Guy SteverIt is with great sadness that I write to tell you that H. Guyford Stever, the visionary president who helped to create Carnegie Mellon University and many of its colleges and schools, died today (Friday, April 9) surrounded by family and friends. In memory of our fifth president, who served from 1965-1972, Carnegie Mellon will fly its flag at half-staff on Monday, April 12.

Two years ago, we had the privilege of hosting members of President Stever's family during commencement, at which time we named the nation's first green dormitory after him. At the time, we recalled the era of the formation of Carnegie Mellon and President Stever's great leadership during times of deep discussions and change. He oversaw the complex transition to Carnegie Mellon University with characteristic thoughtfulness and effectiveness, setting the stage for the university's growth and achievement.

President Stever announced the formation of Carnegie Mellon University as a result of a merger between the Carnegie Institute of Technology and the Mellon Institute of Research in 1967, leading Carnegie Mellon to a period of tremendous growth. During his administration, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Mellon College of Science, the Carnegie Institute of Technology (engineering) and the School of Urban and Public Affairs (now Heinz College) took their place beside the College of Fine Arts and the flourishing Graduate School of Industrial Administration (now the Tepper School of Business). Carnegie Mellon also made dramatic advances in computing. These advancements led the way for today's School of Computer Science, the Robotics Institute, the Software Engineering Institute and the nation's first university-wide computing network, known as Andrew.

In November 1971, U.S. President Richard M. Nixon nominated President Stever to become director of the National Science Foundation, and he resigned in February 1972 to accept the NSF post.

In addition to serving seven years as president of Carnegie Mellon and director of NSF, he was the Presidential Science Advisor to Gerald Ford. His career was marked by many academic honors. He won the National Medal of Science in 1991 and the Vannevar Bush Award in 1997, which are among the nation's highest honors for scientific work in public service. President Stever was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), serving two terms as Foreign Secretary of NAE. He was also the recipient of the Distinguished Public Service Medal for his work on the redesign of the booster rocket after the Challenger accident, as well as the Corps of Astronauts' Personal Achievement Award for improving the safety of manned spaceflight.

It is difficult to sum up a long life in a few paragraphs, but I wanted to also share with you some additional personal background. President Stever was born in Corning, New York, in 1916, graduating from Caltech with a Ph.D. in physics in the pivotal year of 1941. After Pearl Harbor, he joined the military as a scientific liaison officer, marking the first of many times in his long career when he used his scientific abilities in service to his country. After the war, he served on the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, quickly becoming known as an able department head and administrator. In 1956, he took a leave from MIT to serve as chief scientist of the United States Air Force, where, among many other contributions, he was instrumental in the founding of the U.S. space program.

H. Guyford Stever was a prominent scientist, an important national leader in science policy, and the creator of an enduring legacy here at Carnegie Mellon. The period of tremendous growth and progress that he started continues today. We are all part of his legacy.

We extend our deepest sympathies to his family. The family plans a memorial this summer. At this time, funeral arrangements are incomplete.

Pictured above is the late H. Guyford Stever.

Internal Communications