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Space Pioneer, Distinguished War Hero and Retired U.S. Senator John Glenn to Be Honored By the University of Cincinnati

Glenn will receive an honorary Doctor of Engineering.

Date: 4/4/2013 7:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: John Glenn Archives, The Ohio State University

UC ingot   Legendary space pioneer and statesman John Glenn will be awarded (in absentia) an Honorary Doctor of Engineering at the University of Cincinnati Commencement Ceremony at 9 a.m., Saturday, April 27, in Fifth Third Arena.
John Glenn

At the height of the Cold War and the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States, Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth on Feb. 20, 1962, when he orbited Earth three times aboard the Friendship 7 Mercury spacecraft. In 1998, at age 77, he became the oldest person to fly in space as he studied the effects of space travel on seniors while aboard the shuttle Discovery.

From 1965 to 1974, Glenn was a business executive before he was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he served four terms and served on several prominent committees before retiring in 1999. He was chief author of the 1978 Nonproliferation Act, served as chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee from 1978 until 1995, and sat on the Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees and the Special Committee on Aging.

John Herschel Glenn was born in Cambridge, Ohio, and graduated from New Concord High School, before earning a bachelor of science in engineering degree from Muskingum College. A graduate of the Naval Aviation Cadet Program, Glenn was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1943. During his World War II service, he flew 59 combat missions. He flew 90 missions between the Marines and the Air Force during the Korean War. In 1957, he set a transcontinental speed record from Los Angeles to New York, spanning the country in three hours and 23 minutes. At NASA, Glenn logged more than 218 hours in space. He was promoted to the rank of colonel in October, 1964, and retired from the U.S. Marine Corps on Jan. 1, 1965.

Glenn is the recipient of numerous honors. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on six occasions, and holds the Air Medal with 18 Clusters for his service during World War II and Korea. Glenn also holds the Navy Unit Commendation for service in Korea; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; the American Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; the China Service Medal; the National Defense Service Medal; the Korean Service Medal; the United Nations Service Medal; the Korean Presidential Unit Citation; the Navy's Astronaut Wings; the Marine Corps' Astronaut Medal; the NASA Distinguished Service Medal; and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. On March 1, 1999, NASA renamed its Cleveland center the John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in his honor. On Nov. 16, 2011, he received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the U.S. Congress. In 2012, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

He married his childhood playmate and high school sweetheart, Annie, in 1943. They have two children and two grandchildren.

In 1998, The Ohio State University founded the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy.  The institute merged with the University’s School of Public Policy and Management and became the John Glenn School of Public Affairs in 2006. Senator Glenn serves as chairman of the school’s Board of Advisors.