Walter E. Massey was raised in Hattiesburg, Mississippi by his mother, Essie, and stepfather, Elmore Massey, who adopted him. Dr. Massey earned his Ph.D. in physics in 1966 from Washington University, St. Louis. As a professor at Brown University, Massey was hired as director of the Argonne National Laboratory and took over Argonne a month prior to the Three Mile Island disaster in 1979. While working at Argonne, Dr. Massey was theoretical physicist. Throughout the Reagan years, he oversaw many facets of nuclear energy and dealt with Cold War policy shifts from one administration to the next.