Introduction – John Jefferies

Let me say how grateful we must all be to the Director and staff of the Institute for the opportunity to celebrate a program that has risen, during its 50-year lifetime, from little but hope and determination to the world-class status it enjoys. All of those who, over this long stretch of years, worked to make this possible should take a personal pride in having contributed to the creation of something of real distinction. The people of the State of Hawai’i, too, may  share a genuine satisfaction in seeing their state brought to the forefront of humanity’s effort to understand the Universe and the place we play in it. I would like to think that Governor John Burns, always a strong supporter of our program, would take great satisfaction in seeing what has been built here at the Institute, and all that has sprung from it in Hawai’i. I believe he would have seen it as one realization of his dream of a future of far broader opportunities for the people of his state than were then available. Finally no acknowledgment would be complete without a special notice of those at all levels in NASA who were willing to take a risk on a very untried program. Without their boldness and unfailing support we would surely not be celebrating this anniversary.

As the person responsible for leading the Institute for its first 16 years I am naturally very proud to have been associated so intimately with it, and gratified at how well it has thrived from its hesitant roots. For what it is worth, let me offer my admiration to the several directors and all the staff who succeeded me for making this so. Finally let me reserve a special word of thanks to all those colleagues and friends, at all levels, who worked with such integrity and in a spirit of mutual support and respect, to advance us toward the bright and shining goal that was ours from the start. Working with them was the most rewarding part of my professional life – I hope that they look back on those days with equal satisfaction and pleasure.

— John T. Jefferies