James Rhyne Killian
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|James Rhyne Killian|
|President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|Preceded by||Karl Compton|
|Succeeded by||Julius Adams Stratton|
July 24, 1904|
Blacksburg, South Carolina
|Died||January 29, 1988
|Awards||Vannevar Bush Award (1980)|
Dr. James Rhyne Killian, Jr. (July 24, 1904 – January 29, 1988) was the 10th president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from 1948 until 1959.
Killian received an S.B. (scientiae baccalaureus, B.S.) in management from MIT in 1926. While there, he was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.
In 1932 while serving as the editor of MIT's alumni magazine, Killian was instrumental in the founding of Technology Press, the publishing imprint that would later become the institute's independent publishing house, MIT Press. He became executive assistant to MIT President Karl Taylor Compton in 1939, and co-directed the wartime operation of MIT, which strongly supported military research and development. He was from 1948 until 1959 the 10th president of MIT. In 1956, James R. Killian Jr was named as the 1st Chair to the new President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board by the Eisenhower Administration; a position which he held until April 1963.
He was Special Assistant for Science and Technology to President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1957 to 1959, making him the first true Presidential Science Advisor. Killian headed the Killian Committee and oversaw the creation of the President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC) shortly after the launches of the Soviet artificial satellites, Sputnik 1 and Sputnik 2, in October and November 1957. PSAC was instrumental in initiating national curriculum reforms in science and technology and in establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
In 1956 Killian was awarded the Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Sciences. He (co-)authored a book, "The Education of a College President" (1985),[ISBN missing] which serves as an autobiography as well. After stepping down as president of MIT in 1959, he served as chairman of the MIT Corporation from 1959 until 1971.
Two locations on MIT's campus bear Killian's name: Killian Court, a tree-lined courtyard with views of MIT's Great Dome, and Killian Hall, a concert hall (actually named after Killian's wife, Elizabeth Parks Killian, a Wellesley College alumna).
- Official MIT biography
- Welzenbach, Donald E., "SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: ORIGINS OF A DIRECTORATE", March 15, 1953. Discussion of Killian's involvement with the C.I.A. and Pres. Eisenhower
- Stever, H. Guyford (2002). In War and Peace: My Life in Science and Technology. Joseph Henry Press. ISBN 0-309-08411-3.
- "Public Welfare Award". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
- Killian, James Rhyne, "The Obligations and Ideals of an Institute of Technology", The Inaugural Address, Tenth President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, April 2, 1949
- Records of the White House Office of the Special Assistant for Science and Technology, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library