Crawford H. Greenewalt, a member of the MIT Corporation for more than 40 years and president of the DuPont Company from 1948-1962, died Monday, Sept. 27, in Wilmington, Del., a day after suffering a massive stroke. He was 91.
Mr. Greenewalt, a member of the MIT Class of 1922, became a Life Member of the Corporation in 1951 and Life Member, emeritus, in 1977. He served on many Visiting Committees and on the Corporation Development Committee (1968-80), the Investment Committee (1963-65), the Membership Committee (1963-68) and on the Presidential Search Committee (1964-65) which nominated Howard W. Johnson to serve as president of MIT.
Mr. Johnson, MIT president from 1966-1971 and later chairman of the Corporation until 1983, said of Mr. Greenewalt:
"Crawford Greenewalt was a rare individual-one of the leading chief executives of his time-who was also a fine scientist and a discerning humanist. As head of the DuPont Company in the many years following the war, he did much to build its basic research strength, making the company one of the strongest science-based companies in the world. As a photographer and ornithologist of note, his original work on bird flight and bird song is still seen as fundamental. As a president of the American Philosophical Society, he did much to strengthen dialog and understanding among scientists and public affairs leaders. At MIT he was a great contributing member of the Corporation and we shall miss him deeply."
Dr. Paul E. Gray, chairman of the MIT Corporation, said MIT "continues to benefit from actions taken and policies established during Mr. Greenewalt's years of active participation in the governance of the Institute. His interest continued to be strong even in those years when he no longer regularly came to Cambridge and his support and counsel could always be counted on to strengthen MIT activities taking place in his area."
Mr. Greenewalt was born Aug. 16, 1902, in Cummington, Mass., and received the SB in chemical engineering from MIT in 1922.
He began his career as a chemist and worked in four manufacturing and two auxiliary departments of E.I. du Pont de Nemours Co. and later served as a vice president, a director and president from 1948-62. He served as board chairman from 1962-67.
Mr. Greenewalt's played major roles in the development of nylon and in the birth of DuPont's atomic energy program. His widely varied interests included birds and high-speed photography-he was a close friend of the late MIT Professor Harold E. "Doc" Edgerton, developer of the strobe light, who pioneered high-speed photography. Mr. Greenewalt combined those interests in the book Hummingbirds, published in 1960. It contained 70 high-speed photos of hummingbirds and a text documenting how the tiny birds fly and maneuver. In 1968 he published another book on the subject, Bird Song: Acoustics and Physiology.
He also wrote many articles on business management and the economy that appeared in publications like Readers' Digest, Fortune, Saturday Review and leading newspapers.
Mr. Greenewalt's wife, the late Margaretta Lammot du Pont, died in 1991. He is survived by his three children.
A memorial service will be held September 30 in Christ Church, Wilmington, Del. A private burial service was scheduled for Wednesday, September 29.
A version of this
article appeared in the
September 29, 1993
issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume