Winthrop A. Gustafson

2013 Co-Op Hall of Fame Inductee  

Rick Bried


Winthrop A. Gustafson was born in Moline, Illinois. He attended the University of Illinois to study aeronautical engineering, and he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1950 and a commission in the United States Air Force. After two years of active duty in the Air Force and Propulsion Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Gustafson returned to the University of Illinois and completed his master’s degree in 1954 and his Ph.D. in 1956.

Professional Career

After college, Gustafson went on to work at the Lockheed Missiles and Space Division in Palo Alto, California conducting satellite research. In 1960, he joined the faculty in Aeronautics and Engineering Services at Purdue University and continued doing research on hypersonic vehicles and spacecraft. Gustafson was actively involved with a Purdue program that started in 1963, which sought to recruit recent graduates from the Air Force academy to Purdue to pursue a master’s degree; a number of these students went on to become astronauts. In 1980, he became the associate head of the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics and was the acting head from 1984 to 1985.

Co-Op Coordinator

Gustafson became Co-Op coordinator for the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1984 and continued those duties for 14 years until his retirement in 1998.

Purdue News

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