Fermilab History and Archives Project

Early URA

Return to the Wilson Years




(URA was formed in 1965)

Nov 1965 - Jul 1966   J.C. Warner, Interim President
Jul 1966 - Oct 1973   Norman Ramsey
Oct 1973 - Sep 1974   Robert Bacher
Sep 1974 - Apr 1979   Norman Ramsey
Apr 1979 - Oct 1979   Milton White
Oct 1979 - Aug 1981   Norman Ramsey
Aug 1981 - Dec 1981   James Matheson, Vice-President, Acting President
1982 - 1985   H. Guyford Stever
1985 - Dec 1989   Edward Knapp
Dec 1989 - 1994   John Toll
1994 - February 2011   Fred Bernthal
April 2011 - present   Marta Cehelsky

Source: Research contributed by Jackie Coleman, February 2005, URA and Fermilab Annual Reports



2100 Pennsylvania Avenue, N. W. / Washington, D.C. 20037 / Area code 202 293-1382



A year ago at the last Annual Meeting of the Board of Trustees, the site for the Accelerator had not yet been chosen so there was little to report other than general plans and hopes. In contrast, the past year has been one of intense activity with many significant accomplishments.


On December 16, 1966, the Atomic Energy Commission announced that the site for the new Accelerator Laboratory would be at Weston, Illinois, approximately 30 miles southwest of the Chicago O’Hare Airport. At the same time, the Commission announced its intention to proceed at a somewhat reduced scope with potential expansion at a later date. Subsequently, the Commission indicated that the construction cost of the first phase should be about $240,000,000.


On March 1, 1967, Robert Rathbun Wilson was appointed Director of the National Accelerator Laboratory. Dr. Wilson at the time was completing the construction of the 10 BeV Electron Synchrotron at Cornell University, where he had successfully constructed a series of successively higher energy electron accelerators during the past 20 years.

The initial planning activities for the Accelerator began at Cornell University shortly after Dr. Wilson’s appointment. Soon thereafter a site for the Laboratory during the design period was selected at Oak Brook Executive Plaza,1301 West 22nd Street, Oak Brook, Illinois 60521, with telephone 312-654-3460. the Laboratory’s activities have been centered at Oak Brook since June 15, 1967.

Since his appointment, Dr. Wilson has built up a rapidly growing staff which is primarily concentrating on problems of Accelerator design. At present there are 52 members of the permanent Accelerator staff, and 6 more appointments have been made. Edwin L. Goldwasser has been appointed as Deputy Director of the Laboratory, M. Stanley Livingston as Associate Director, and Donald Getz as Assistant Director with particular concern for administrative matters. Donald Poillon is the Business Manager.

With the approval of the National Accelerator Laboratory, the AEC has extended its contract with the architect-engineering organization DUSAF to December 31, 1967. On November 28, l967, the AEC announced that DUSAF had been selected to provide architect-engineer/construction management services under a subcontract to Universities Research Association. The staff of DUSAF has been growing as required and now numbers approximately 26.

The Atomic Energy Commission has appointed Lawrence Mohr as Contracting Officer and Area Manager of the 200 BeV Accelerator Facility Office. Mr. Mohr was the AEC representative for the Stanford Linear Accelerator.

Universities Research Association sponsored a meeting of interested high energy physicists and accelerator designers on April 7 and 8 at the Argonne National Laboratory to discuss the new Accelerator and its relations with the community of high energy physicists. The large attendance at the meeting (407 scientists registered) indicated the depth of interest in the new Accelerator. During this meeting there was general agreement on the desirability of some form of Users Group. An Organizing Committee was elected at subsequent meetings of the Users Groups for the other major accelerators. This Organizing Committee has now proposed a form of organization and has called a meeting of the newly established Users Group on December 9, 1967.

While the Laboratory organization was growing, the Universities Research Association has been completing the organization of its Washington office which now consists of the President; the Vice President for Administration, Bradley Bennett; Secretary, Leonard Bacon; Treasurer-Controller, Robert Williams; and two secretaries. On October 1, URA moved from its temporary Washington headquarters at 2101 Constitution Avenue to its permanent office on the top floor (Room 828) of the new National Academy of Sciences building at 2100 Pennsylvania Avenue N. W., Washington, D. C. 20037.


Design activities of the Laboratory since the middle of June have been intense. In addition to the Laboratory staff itself, a large number of interested accelerator designers and physicists throughout the country participated extensively in the design studies at Oak Brook this past summer. The Laboratory concluded that for a cost of $243,600,000 an accelerator could be designed for 200 BeV with a design intensity of 1.5 x 10 (13) protons per second. A special feature of the design is that the energy of the Accelerator can be increased at a later date from 200 BeV to 400 BeV at a low incremental cost and with a minimal shut-down time.

The National Accelerator Laboratory is seeking authorization in the budget for FY 1969 for the construction of an Accelerator with the above characteristics. The plans of the National Accelerator Laboratory were reviewed by the Scientific Committee of the URA Board of Trustees. With any proposal of this nature, there is always concern as to whether the hopes can be fully realized within the estimated budget. The contemplated time scale is a rapid one, calling for completion of physical construction during the fourth quarter of FY 1973. Obligations are incurred at a particularly rapid rate in FY 1969 and 1970. Nevertheless, both the Laboratory staff and DUSAF are confident that they can meet this rapid schedule. The conclusion of the Scientific Committee was to recommend to the Board of Trustees that the Board authorize Dr. Wilson to submit the proposal as outlined in the Construction Project Data Sheets to the Atomic Energy Commission. At a meeting especially called for this purpose, the URA Board of Trustees on October 12, 1967, authorized the Laboratory Director to submit the proposal to the AEC for authorization of construction in the FY1969 budget, and he submitted it the following day.


On January 5, 1967, a letter contract was signed with the Atomic Energy Commission providing $200,000 to Universities Research Association, for conceptual planning and other preliminary activities relating to the proposed new proton Accelerator. Subsequently, this letter contract has been extended and supplemented. Funds are being provided as required, within the current obligation limit of $850,000. These funds were the dominant source of support for the design work during the past summer and fall.

A definitive contract between the Atomic Energy Commission and Universities Research Association is currently being negotiated and should soon be signed. The few remaining points for negotiation pertain to specific details on personnel policies.

The expenditure of an initial $7,333,000 for this project has been authorized by both Houses of Congress in a Bill which has been signed by the President. The principal controversy pertaining to the passage of the authorization arose from the absence of open housing legislation in the State of Illinois. The appropriation of the same sum of money is included in the regular AEC FY 1968 Appropriation Bill which has passed both the House and the Senate and was signed by the President November 21, 1967.


The potential availability of the funds committed by the Universities to URA has been of great value in obtaining the desired fast start for the design program. In part, this has arisen from the actual expenditure of some of the funds already obtained from the Universities, and in part, from the possibility of making commitments and guarantees where such guarantees were necessary but where it was anticipated that there would probably be little or no net expenditure of URA funds. Although each of the 46 member Universities has committed up to $100,000 to URA, so far $10,000 per University has been requested by the Trustees.

The URA funds spent have primarily been for important objectives for which AEC funds were not available, or for items where unusual speed was required. For example, the operating costs of URA until the letter contract with the AEC was signed on January 5, 1967, were charged to the URA funds, the potential availability of these funds enabled URA to sign a lease for the present Laboratory headquarters, and a temporary building will be constructed with URA funds at the Weston site to house components undergoing experimental tests to affect the accelerator design.


Next year should be a critical but interesting one for URA. Financially, the principal problems will probably pertain to the construction authorization and the appropriations in the FY 1969 budget. Although there seems to be general agreement as to the desirability of the project, this coming year will be a particularly difficult one in which to obtain government financial support. A large number of successive stages of approval must be survived; failure on any one can delay and even jeopardize the project. The past year has been characterized by a series of crises. Although each was successfully passed, the probability of surviving all of the successive critical steps is necessarily diminished by their multiplicity.

The rapid design and construction schedules will present a major challenge to the National Accelerator Laboratory. It must continue to expand rapidly in size and at the same time must be vigorously and intensively engaged in the design and engineering of the new high energy facility so greatly needed by high energy physicists throughout the nation.


Norman F. Ramsey
December 5, 1967

APRIL 7-8, 1967

200 BeV Meeting Program

200 BeV Meeting Program

200 BeV Meeting Program


B. Bennett, R. Buchanan, Jr., N. Ramsey, R. Bauer, D. Bray
(L-R) B. Bennett, R. Buchanan, Jr., N. Ramsey, R. Bauer, D. Bray
at signing of Fermilab management contract

The third contract between Universities Research Association Inc. (URA) and the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA), representing the United States federal government, was signed at Fermilab on June 30. Under the contract, URA will operate and maintain the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory for ERDA for another 5 1/2 year period, to December 31, 1981.

Signing for URA was Norman Ramsey, president of the corporation. Robert H. Bauer, manager of the Chicago Operations Office, represented ERDA, and Robert K. Buchanan, Jr., URA secretary, certified the contract.

The first contract between URA and the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (ERDA's predecessor) was signed January 5, 1967. It followed the meeting of 34 presidents of major universities in June of 1965 at which URA was formed as a corporation to provide a broad national basis for the management of the accelerator facility then under consideration by the Congress. After Illinois was chosen as the site for the Laboratory late in 1966, URA was asked by the AEC to direct the design and planning of the new institution. A second contract was signed in April of 1972.

R. Buchanan (R), B. Bennett give official seal
R. Buchanan (R), B. Bennett give official seal

The leadership provided by URA, representing the leading scientific institutions of the United States, has been an important factor in the nine years of successful construction and operation of Fermilab.

"We are looking forward to the next years under the new contract," Dr. Ramsey commented after the signing, "and we hope and expect that it will be an exciting time scientifically."

URA membership now includes 53 universities, 52 in the United States, one in Canada. (See diagram below.) The University of Hawaii became the newest member-institution, elected in February, 1976.

The affairs of the URA corporation are led by a Council of Presidents consisting of the president of each member-institution. John S. Toll, President, State University of New York at Stony Brook, is chairman of the Council; Dale Corson of Cornell University is vice-chairman. The Council of Presidents meets annually; its next meeting will be at Fermilab in February, 1977, the first here since completion of the Laboratory.

Coffee break after signing
Coffee break after signing: (L-R seated) Robert K. Buchanan, Jr., Norman Ramsey, Robert H. Bauer, Donald L. Bray, Claude W. Dickens. (Standing) Bruno J. Sarocka (ERDA, Batavia), Bradley F. Bennett, Edwin L. Goldwasser, John A. McCook, Herbert L. Kinney (ERDA, Washington)


The Council of Presidents delegates management decisions to the URA Board of Trustees. Fifteen of the 21 Board members are selected on a regional basis, representing neighboring geographical areas of URA membership; six of the Board members are elected at large. The composition of the Board continually reflects a wide variety of interests and experience.

URA's administrative staff has its headquarters at 2100 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. Administrative responsibilities are directed by Dr. Norman Ramsey, professor of physics at Harvard University, and president of URA. The staff also includes Bradley F. Bennett, vice president of URA; Robert K. Buchanan, Jr., secretary of URA; Robert A. Williams, treasurer/controller of URA; and Robert R. Wilson, Director of Fermilab.

Member Universities of URA
Member Universities of the
Universities Research Association, inc.

URA's administrative staff members are frequent visitors to Fermilab, and they maintain close contacts with Fermilab staff and with ERDA representatives.

ERDA is represented at Fermilab by its Batavia Area Office, with headquarters on the 6th floor east of the Central Laboratory. Donald L. Bray is Manager of the Batavia Area Office; Claude W. Dickens is Assistant Manager. The Batavia Area Office is under the jurisdiction of ERDA's Chicago Operations Office, with offices at Argonne National Laboratory. ERDA and the former AEC have maintained staff alongside the Fermilab staff since 1967. The local office at Fermilab provides valuable liaison with other ERDA offices.

Source: Source: The Village Crier Vol. 8 No. 26, July 8, 1976


The Council of Presidents of Universities Research Association, Inc.

The Council of Presidents of Universities Research Association, Inc., held its annual meeting at Fermilab on February 4, the first here since 1970. Here, at business session, (L-R) Milton White, Princeton University (Chairman of the URA Board of Trustees); Norman Ramsey, Harvard University, president of the corporation; John S. Toll, State University of New York at Stony Brook (Chairman of the Council of Presidents); Robert Buchanan, secretary of the corporation; Robert Williams, Treasurer/Controller. The day also included a luncheon, and a tour of the Laboratory. The group elected Dale R. Corson, president of Cornell University, as president of the Council for the coming year and Roland C. Rautenstraus, president of the University of Colorado, as vice-chairman.

Source: The Village Crier Vol. 9 No. 7, February 17, 1977


URA Trustees and Administrators
URA Trustees and Administrators: (L-R) Front row, G. Snow, G. Goldhaber, B. Bennett, N. Ramsey, M. White, J. Colvin. Back row, J. Matheson, D. Miller, R. Carlson, N. Mayall, A. Weaver, A. Clark, M. Davis, O. Schuette, G. Webb, R. Buchanan, R. Williams


The Board of Trustees of Universities Research Association, Inc., held its first meeting of 1977 at Fermilab on February 24 and 25 as the corporation enters its thirteenth year of operation, eleven of which have been as a contractor with the federal government for the construction and management of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

URA membership increased in recent months to 53 institutions as the University of Hawaii was accepted for membership. Now fifty-two universities and colleges in the United States plus the University of Toronto make up the corporate roster.

Elected to the Board of Trustees at the recent Council of Presidents' meeting were: Allen H. Clark, Dean of the School of Science of Purdue University; W. Dale Compton, Director, Chemical and Physical Sciences, Ford Motor Company; Rodney L. Cool, Department of Physics, Rockefeller University; Morris Davis, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of North Carolina; Jerome I. Friedman, Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Robert L. Ketter, State University of New York at Buffalo; Oswald F. Schuette, Jr., Department of Physics, University of South Carolina.

The URA Board also elected officers for the coming year. They are: Chairman, Milton White, Princeton (re-elected); Vice-chairman, Harold Ticho, University of California, L.A.; Chairman of the Administrative Committee, G. Arthur Webb, Carnegie-Mellon; Chairman of the Scientific Committee, George A. Snow, University of Maryland.

At the end of their business meeting, URA officials joined Fermilab people in honoring Bradley F. Bennett who has served as URA Vice President for Administration since 1967. Bennett retired on February 28. He has been a familiar figure at Fermilab for the past ten years in his regular commuting between Illinois and the corporation's offices in Washington, D.C., conducting Laboratory business.

"Captain" Bennett (a retired Naval officer) will be succeeded by James C. Matheson in the VP post. Matheson joined the URA staff a few months ago, coming from a position with the State Department. Other URA corporate officers are Norman F. Ramsey, President; Robert K. Buchanan, Secretary; Robert A. Williams, Treasurer/controller.

Source: The Village Crier Vol. 9 No. 9, March 3, 1977


Retirement Reception for Bradley Bennett Retirement Reception for Bradley Bennett

A retirement reception February 25, 1977 honored Bradley Bennett, Vice President of Universities Research Association, Inc. Above, in left photo, Mr. and Mrs. Bennett display a memento of the occasion, a mounted buffalo skull. Center, Brad greets Fred Mattmueller. Top right, E.L. Goldwasser is shown with Mr. and Mrs. Bennett. Lower right, L-R are A. Brenner, W. Baker, B. Bennett and P. Reardon

Source: The Village Crier Vol. 9 No. 9, March 3, 1977