Dennis Jennings and the History of NSFNET

July 15, 2021
Dennis Jennings

A personal discovery in the middle of a meeting is partially responsible for the forerunner of the modern Internet’s commercialized core.  

A 2014 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Dennis Jennings was the first Program Director for Networking at the U.S. National Science Foundation and responsible for the design and development of its NSFNet

In a recent edition of the “History of Networking” podcast, Jennings talked about how he initially got on with the foundation, which involved taking a red-eye cross-country flight in order to join a meeting with early Internet pioneers. Within 20 minutes, he stepped up to a marker board and was leading the discussion. 

“It was an object lesson to me that you know what, I knew as much and was just as good as these guys,” he said. “It was a very exciting personal discovery that I could pick up the marker and teach these guys something.”