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Stanford Oral History Collections

Kays, William M.
Kays, William M.
Kays, William M. and Fetter, Alexander L.
Corporate Author:
Stanford Historical Society
William M. Kays begins the interview by discussing how he became interested in engineering, how he came to Stanford, and how he became specialized in thermodynamics and mechanical engineering. He describes the university and the programs as they were when he first arrived at Stanford and how they evolved over the years. He mentions numerous people who helped shape the programs and who influenced him along the way, while discussing where he feels he made a contribution. Kays talks about his experiences in ROTC and subsequently in the Army Corps of Engineers and the Infantry during World War II. He relates how he and many others returned to the university under the G. I. Bill and how that enabled them to pursue advanced degrees. Next he describes his experiences on the faculty and his approach to teaching. He talks about the emergence of Stanford as a top-ranked university in the field of engineering due to the innovation and the creativity of the faculty and the students. He emphasizes the importance of various types of funding and how that has evolved since the earlier years to ensure ongoing success of the programs. He also mentions the increase in the number of women faculty and students in engineering. In conclusion, he reflects on his career and his decisions to stay at Stanford despite other opportunities. His final thoughts are about the profound experience of his service in World War II, including combat and the people with whom he served.
William M. Kays, Stanford Historical Society, oral histories, interviews, Atomic Energy Commission, Engineering Battalion of the 1st Infantry Division, and James Gibbons
October 17, 2013
Stanford Historical Society Oral History Program interviews, 1999-2012