National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA History Division

NASA 40th Anniversary Banner 1958-1998

Special Dedication by
Daniel S. Goldin
NASA Administrator

To Honor
T. Keith Glennan
NASA Administrator
James E. Webb
NASA Administrator

Announced Upon the Occasion of the
NASA Headquarters
40th Anniversary Celebration
October 1, 1998

During NASA's history, seven remarkable individuals preceded me in the position of Administrator. Their leadership at the Agency's critical stage of development established the traditions of excellence that has become the hallmark of our missions and programs.

I would like to give special recognition today to two of these leaders.

Dr. T. Keith Glennan, was the President of Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio, when President Eisenhower asked him to come to Washington to be the first Administrator of the new space agency.

Under Dr. Glennan's leadership that lasted two and a half years, NASA grew from 9,000 civil servants to 17,000 with a budget that increased from $300 Million to $1 Billion. Thirty-five launches for human and planetary missions were launched during his tenure. And NASAís domain, initially built on the facilities of the NACA, grew to include installations transferred from the Department of Defense.

With the election of 1960, Dr. Glennan prepared the Agency for a transition to the Administration of John F. Kennedy. Dr. Glennan left his successor with a new Agency ready to take on the challenges of a new President.

Dr. Glennan died in 1995 at the age of 90. To commemorate his service to the Agency, the Headquarters Library will now be known as the T. Keith Glennan Memorial Library.

Dr. Glennan's successor was James E. Webb. When he was first approached to take on the position as Administrator, Mr. Webb was reluctant. Trained as a lawyer, he felt that someone with a technical background ought to lead the Agency. But he was exactly the kind of person President Kennedy wanted. Mr. Webb had served previous administrations as Director of the Budget and as Undersecretary at the Department of State. He also brought the perspective of the private sector from his years of service with technology companies.

His 7 year and 8 month tenure saw remarkable growth throughout NASA as it accepted the challenge of Apollo. He served until October 1968 and allowed his successor Thomas Paine to carry the ball and achieve Kennedyís mandate.

Mr. Webb has been described as a leader with immense energy and overwhelming intensity. Beyond his commanding personality lay a set of management techniques he understood and practiced. It was his dedication to management that later inspired him to advocate the creation of the National Academy of Public Administration.

As noted in his biography by Dr. Henry Lambright, Mr. Webb's career is a case study in what it takes to achieve administrative success in the U.S. -- "to be a master of the fourth branch of government.."

It is my pleasure to recognize Mr. Webb's service to NASA by naming this auditorium the James E. Webb Memorial Auditorium.

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Updated February 8, 2005
Steven J. Dick, NASA Chief Historian
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