Clifford C. Furnas

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Clifford Furnas
1st President of the University of Buffalo
In office
Preceded by Himself as Chancellor
Succeeded by Martin Meyerson
Chairman of the Defense Science Board
In office
Preceded by Howard P. Robertson
Succeeded by Robert L. Sproull
In office
Preceded by Seymour H. Knox, II (Acting)
Succeeded by Claude E. Puffer (Acting)
9th Chancellor of the University of Buffalo
In office
Preceded by Claude E. Puffer (Acting)
Succeeded by Himself as President
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering
In office
Preceded by Donald A. Quarles
Succeeded by Frank D. Newbury
Personal details
Born October 24, 1900
Died April 27, 1967
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Sparkle M. Furnas

Clifford Cook Furnas (October 24, 1900 – April 27, 1969) was an author, Olympic athlete, scientist, expert on guided missiles, university president, and public servant. He was first cousin of the author Evangeline Walton.

Furnas participated in the 1920 Olympic Games, taught Chemical Engineering at Yale, and directed the airplane division of Curtiss-Wright during the Second World War. He became the ninth chancellor of the private University of Buffalo (UB) in 1954. After guiding the University through the merger process with the State University of New York in 1962, Furnas became the first president of the State University of New York at Buffalo. Between 1955 and 1957 he was on a leave of absence to serve as Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Eisenhower administration.

He retired from UB in 1966 and died in 1969.

Athletic career[edit]

  • 1920 Olympic Games, Antwerp, Belgium[1]
  • 1922 Big 10 Conference Medal, for best combined scholastic and athletic record


Academic career[edit]

Government career[edit]

  • 1952–1953 Chairman, Guided Missile Commission, Research and Development Board
  • 1954–1957 Chairman, U.S. Department of Defense Advisory Panel on Aeronautics
  • 1954–1969 Member, U.S. Army Science Advisory Panel
  • 1955–1957 Member of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
  • 1955–1957 Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Development
  • 1956–1957 Chairman, Air Navigation Development Board
  • 1957–1969 Member of the Defense Science Board
  • 1958–1969 Member of the Naval Research Advisory Committee
  • 1961–1965 Chairman of the Defense Science Board
  • 1961–1969 Chairman, New York Advisory Council, Industrial Research and Development
  • 1968–1969 Vice-Chairman, National Research Council


  • 1932 America's Tomorrow: An Informal Excursion Into the Era of the Two-hour Working Day
  • 1935 The Unfinished Business of Science
  • 1936 The Next Hundred Years (full view from Hathi Trust)
  • 1937 Man, Bread and Destiny
  • 1937 Technological Trends and National Policy (section on metallurgy) (full view from
  • 1939 The Storehouse of Civilization (full view from Hathi Trust)
  • 1940 The Individual and the World
  • 1940 Excerpts from Our Intellectual World Sections 9-13, Division II of The Individual and the World
  • 1948 Research in Industry
  • 1957 Sputnik. Why did the US lose the race? Critics speak up, Life Magazine, October 21, 1957
  • 1966 The Engineer


External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
T. R. McConnell
Chancellor of the University at Buffalo
Office abolished
New office President of the University at Buffalo
Succeeded by
Claude E. Puffer (acting)
Government offices
Preceded by
Donald A. Quarles
Assistant Secretary of Defense (Research and Development)
Succeeded by
Frank D. Newbury
Preceded by
Howard P. Robertson
Chairman of the Defense Science Board
Succeeded by
Robert L. Sproull