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The Guggenheim Schools Of Aeronautics: Where Are They Today?

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

History of Aerospace Education

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Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1218.1 - 14.1218.19



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Paper Authors

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Scott Eberhardt Boeing Company

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Narayanan Komerath Georgia Institute of Technology

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The Guggenheim Schools of Aeronautics: Where are they today? Narayanan Komerath Georgia Institute of Technology, 270 Ferst Drive Atlanta GA 30332-0150

Scott Eberhardt The Boeing Company, P.O. Box 3707, MC 0R-MM, Seattle, WA 98124-2207

Introduction The purpose of this paper is to present a brief summary and history of the seven original Guggenheim schools. Between 1925 and 1930, the family of Daniel and Harry Guggenheim invested more than $2.6 million in aviation-related programs at Universities around the United States. During this period, funding was given to New York University, the California Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of Michigan, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Washington and the Georgia School (later Institute) of Technology to establish Guggenheim schools of aeronautics. In addition, Harvard University, Syracuse University, Northwestern University, and the University of Akron were given funds to establish research centers. Of the original seven Guggenheim schools, all have active aeronautics programs except New York University, which dropped its aeronautics program in 1973. The remaining six generally rank as top aerospace programs in the country. This paper reviews the history of the Guggenheim schools and research centers, and discusses how the original contributions have led to the existing programs of today.

History of the Guggenheim Schools Daniel Guggenheimi,ii was the grandson of Jewish immigrants from Switzerland. Following his father Meyer, Daniel expanded the growing smelting and mining business into a global enterprise. By the turn of the 20th century, the Guggenheims were well established and wealthy. In 1923, the largest asset of Guggenheim Brothers was sold, leaving Daniel to explore philanthropic interests. Daniel’s son Harry became interested in flightiii. Recruiting a team of fellow Yale students, Harry set up a flight club. On Sept. 14, 1917, the Navy commissioned Harry as a Lieutenant, at first in navigation. Harry continued flying after the war. It was this interest in flying and a fledging program at New York University that led Daniel to set up what became known as the Guggenheim Schools of Aeronauticsiv.

In the early 1920s only five schools offered courses in Aeronautics. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), under the leadership of Jerome Hunsakerv, and the University of Michigan, under Felix Pawloski, each had degree programs in aeronautical engineering. The California Institute of Technology (Caltech), University of Washington and Stanford University offered special courses in the new field. The courses at the University of Washington were offered in an agreement with William Boeing in exchange for donating a wind tunnel to the At New York University in 1923, two mechanical engineering faculty, Prof. Collins Bliss and Prof. Alexander Klemin, who studied under Hunsaker at MIT, began offering students an

Eberhardt, S., & Komerath, N. (2009, June), The Guggenheim Schools Of Aeronautics: Where Are They Today? Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4835

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