Rettaliata-4171732

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John T. Rettaliata John T. Rettaliata, president of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) for 21 years and member of Dwight D. Eisenhower's National Aeronautics and Space Council, the predecessor to NASA, died on Saturday at the age of 97. Mr. Rettaliata became president of IIT in 1952 at the age of 40, the youngest IIT president to date and, at the time, the youngest chief executive of a scientific school in the United States. During his 21-year tenure, he initiated an ambitious fundraising effort that secured a $20 million annual budget, saw the main campus built, added the Chicago-Kent College of Law, founded the Stuart Graduate School of Business and lead IIT to become the largest and one of the most prominent engineering schools in the United States. While architect Mies van der Rohe's design of the main campus made it the historical landmark that it is today, Mr. Rettaliata's vision of an innovative cooperative education program-one of the first in the nation-made the university a leader in education. Before coming to IIT, Mr. Rettaliata, a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University who earned his Ph.D. in 1936, was employed by Allis-Chalmers. There he worked building steam turbines for military destroyers. His diligence earned him a position on the U.S. National Advisory Council's subcommittee on aeronautics gas turbines. During World War II, he embarked on the first of many roles for the United States government, taking part in the tour of British aeronautical research facilities that enabled America to develop its first jet aircraft and secure dominance in aeronautical research. Because of that work, Mr. Rettaliata became one of the first people to fly in a jet aircraft. When Nazi Germany fell, the United States Navy, Bureau of Ships, sent him to Germany to investigate the defunct military's U-boat factories and discovered the engineers' secret-an innovative hydrogen-peroxide submarine. Rettaliata studied the technology and filed a confidential report on the U-boat. While consulting with the Navy after the war, he also helped with the development of gas turbine applications and consulted on other projects for the United States Air Force that were deemed secret. …