May 18, 1901–June 22, 1994
BY PAUL E. GRAY
JAY, AS HE WAS KNOWN by nearly all who worked with him, served the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Radiation Laboratory at MIT, the federal government, the National Academies, and the Ford Foundation during his long and productive life. His work at MIT, as a member of the faculty and subsequently as provost, chancellor, and president, was vital to the development of both research and education during periods of rapid growth and change at MIT.
Stratton was born on May 18, 1901, in Seattle, Washington. His father, Julius A. Stratton, was an attorney who founded a law firm well known and respected throughout the northwest; later he became a judge. His mother, Laura Adams Stratton, was an accomplished pianist. Following his father’s retirement in 1906, the family moved to Germany, where young Julius attended school through age nine and became fluent in German. In 1910 the family returned to Seattle, where he completed his public school education.
Stratton came to MIT, with which he was associated for 74 years, as the result of an accident at sea and on the advice of a fellow student. From an early age he was interested in how things worked and in building things, particularly devices