To: Dr. Toni Sauncy (2012–14 SPS and ΣПΣ director) from an Old Tech Red Raider (TT ’49)

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To: Dr. Toni Sauncy (2012–14 SPS and ΣПΣ director) from an Old Tech Red Raider (TT ’49)

I just finished reading your “Director’s Space” in the Spring 2014 issue of Radiations, “Finding Historical Ties.” Below are my historical ties with you.

In 1953–54, I was a graduate teaching fellow at Texas Tech under long-term physics department chairman Dr. C. C. Schmidt. In 1954, he asked me to contact Dr. Marsh White, professor of physics at Penn State and then-national director of Sigma Pi Sigma, about establishing a chapter at Texas Tech. What began was some 10 letters via snail mail with Dr. White, completing numerous forms, and Dr. White traveling to Lubbock in the early spring of 1955 to install the Tech chapter. The first nine chapter keys were awarded to the Tech physics faculty (several declined to join). I was awarded key 10 as Tech’s first chapter president. I was able to arrange to have the director of the Sandia Los Alamos National Labs in New Mexico serve as our dinner speaker during our chapter installation week.

Tech at that time did not offer a doctorate in physics, so when I received my MS in physics later that spring, I turned down Dr. Schmidt’s faculty offer. I needed to go somewhere to pursue my doctorate. Besides, after serving in the Air Force during WWII and in the Korean War as a fighter pilot, I now had married a Tech gal and had a small child. Thus I needed to find a job that paid some income and work on my doctorate part time. I also needed access to a technical computer. Tech had only a business computer in the administration at that time.

I left Lubbock in 1955 to work for North American Aviation in L.A. They offered a starting salary of $10,000 a year, access to their IBM 6090 Scientific Computer, and to underwrite all my doctorate expenses. My Tech research professor was shocked at this offer, as he was an associate professor making only $4,500 a year at that time.

I have a long story of working on the developments of the F-100, the F-107, and the B-70 aircraft, the X-15 space plane, and as development director for the Apollo Moon Landing Program, etc. Now I am sliding down toward 90, and I am in reasonably good health. I have had two spinal surgeries these past four months, which has affected my mobility at the present.

Needless to say, I am elated to discover a Tech physics person guiding Sigma Pi Sigma at the national level and doing a great job.

Best personal regards,

Joseph (Joe) H. Robinson III, PhD, MBA (Retired)

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