Glennan, T(homas) Keith (1905–1995)

T. Keith Glennan

T. Keith Glennan was the first Administrator of NASA, serving from 1958 to 1961.


Glennan earned a BS in electrical engineering from the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University in 1927 before becoming involved with the newly-developed sound motion picture industry at Paramount Pictures and Samuel Goldwyn Studios. In 1942 he joined the Columbia University Division of War Research, serving first as administrator and then as director of the United States Navy's Underwater Sound Laboratories. Shortly after the end of the war, he was appointed president of the Case Institute of Technology, in Cleveland, Ohio, and from October 1950 to November 1952, concurrent with his Case presidency, was a member of the Atomic Energy Commission.


During his period as NASA Administrator, Glennan presided over the unification of the nation's civilian space projects and the addition to the Agency's organization of the Goddard Space Flight Center, the Marshall Space Flight Center, and JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory). Upon leaving NASA in January 1961, he returned to the Case Institute of Technology, where he continued to serve as president until 1966. During this period he helped to negotiate the merger of Case with Western Reserve University, creating Case Western Reserve University. After his retirement in 1966, Glennan spent two years as president of Associated Universities, Inc., a Washington-based advocate for institutions of higher learning.