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Stever was raised in Corning, New York, principally by his maternal grandmother. He played football in high school. He graduated from Colgate University with an undergraduate degree in physics and then from California Institute of Technology in 1941 with a Ph.D. in physics. He joined the staff of the radiation lab at MIT. In 1942 he began serving the military as a civilian scientific liaison officer based in London, England until the end of World War II. After D-Day he was sent to France several times to study German technology.
He returned to MIT after the war, serving as associate dean of engineering there from 1956 to 1959 and then as a department head. In 1965 he became the fifth President of Carnegie Mellon University (and the first under that name, in 1967), a position he held until 1972. Stever House, a dorm on Carnegie Mellon's campus is named for him. During this period, he was also chairman of the aeronautics and space engineering board for the National Academy of Engineering advising NASA and other Federal agencies. 
He also served on the board of trustees of Science Service, now known as Society for Science & the Public, from 1982 to 2006.
Stever received an LL.D. from Bates College in 1977. In 1997, he received the Vannevar Bush Award from the National Science Board.
NACA Special Committee on Space Technology
Guyford Stever was chairman or member of numerous advisory committees to the U.S. government. The NACA's Special Committee on Space Technology, also called the "Stever Committee," was among the better-known of these. It was a special steering committee that was formed with the mandate to coordinate various branches of the Federal government, private companies as well as universities within the United States with NACA's objectives and also harness their expertise in order to develop a space program.
Remarkably, Hendrik Wade Bode, the man who helped develop the robot weapons that brought down the Nazi V-1 flying bombs over London during WWII, was actually serving on the same committee and sitting at the same table as the chief engineer of the V-2, the other weapon that terrorised London: Wernher von Braun.
As of their meeting on May 26, 1958, committee members, starting clockwise from the left of the adjacent picture, included:
|Edward R. Sharp||Director of the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory|
|Colonel Norman C Appold||Assistant to the Deputy Commander for Weapons Systems, Air Research and Development Command: US Air Force|
|Abraham Hyatt||Research and Analysis Officer Bureau of Aeronautics, Department of the Navy|
|Hendrik Wade Bode||Director of Research Physical Sciences, Bell Telephone Laboratories|
|W Randolph Lovelace II||Lovelace Foundation for Medication Education and Research|
|S. K Hoffman||General Manager, Rocketdyne Division, North American Aviation|
|Milton U Clauser||Director, Aeronautical Research Laboratory, The Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation|
|H. Julian Allen||Chief, High Speed Flight Research, NACA Ames|
|Robert R. Gilruth||Assistant Director, NACA Langley|
|J. R. Dempsey||Manager. Convair-Astronautics (Division of General Dynamics)|
|Carl B. Palmer||Secretary to Committee, NACA Headquarters|
|H. Guyford Stever||Chairman, Associate Dean of Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|Hugh L. Dryden||(ex officio), Director, NACA|
|Dale R. Corson||Department of Physics, Cornell University|
|Abe Silverstein||Associate Director, NACA Lewis|
|Wernher von Braun||Director, Development Operations Division, Army Ballistic Missile Agency|
NRC Committee on Human Exploration of Space
In 1990 Stever chaired a Committee on Human Exploration of Space for the National Research Council. The committee released a report titled, Human Exploration of Space: A Review of NASA's 90-Day Study and Alternatives.
- Fenton, Edwin (2000). Carnegie Mellon 1900-2000: A Centennial History. Pittsburgh: Carnegie Mellon University Press. ISBN 0-88748-323-2.
- Stever, H. Guyford (2002). In War and Peace: My Life in Science and Technology. Joseph Henry Press. ISBN 0-309-08411-3.
- H. Guyford Stever Oral History from IEEE
- Announcement of his death
- "Unit Formed to Aid NASA". New York Times. 1967. Retrieved 2017-11-02.
- NASA Historical Website
- ...missile research centre run by Wernher von Braun, who later worked on the American space programme[permanent dead link](10 June 2001 Germans at last learn truth about von Braun's 'space research' base. By Tony Paterson in Peenemunde, The Telegraph. Retrieved 9-3-07)
- ...Von Braun soon went to work at a secret laboratory called Peenemünde near the Baltic Sea... heading up the team that developed the V2 missile (IEEE Global History Network Retrieved 1-4-09)
- * Human Exploration of Space: A Review of NASA's 90-Day Study and Alternatives.
|Carnegie Mellon University President
William D. McElroy
|Director of the National Science Foundation
February 1972 – August 1976
Richard C. Atkinson