Actions of MIT’s 15th president have ‘grown to inspire generations,’ Reif says.
James E. McCune, 65, who retired as a professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics last year, died at his home in Wakefield on December 13. He was on the MIT faculty for 33 years.
Professor McCune, a native of Tulsa, OK, was a graduate of the Carnegie Institute of Technology and received the PhD from Cornell University. He came to MIT as an associate professor in 1963 and was promoted to full professor in 1968. He directed the Gas Turbine Laboratory from 1978-79.
"Jim was a dedicated teacher whose love for the material not only shone clearly, but also was communicated to the students," said Edward M. Greitzer, Slater Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the department's associate head. Professor McCune won both Undergraduate and Graduate Teaching Awards during his career.
A specialist in the design of jet turbine engines, he received the Lawrence Sperry Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for his work on three-dimensional flow in turbo-machines. While engaged on this project, he established a working relationship with Sir William Hawthorne of Cambridge University.
Professor McCune was a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of the Max Planck Society and a former Overseas Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge University. He is survived by his wife, Ursula B.; three sons, Douglas C. of Princeton, NJ, Christopher S. of Munich, Germany, and Robin T. of Wakefield; a sister, Margaret T. of Tulsa, and two grandchildren.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 8, 1997.