With our deepest respect and greatest admiration, Muskingum University remembers John H. Glenn, Jr. today.
The world knew John Glenn as a pioneering Mercury 7 and space shuttle Discovery astronaut, a four-term United States Senator, a record-setting supersonic test pilot, a decorated combat Marine fighter pilot, and a successful business leader.
Our Muskingum University community was extraordinarily privileged and proud to know him as a loyal alumnus, a trustee for nearly five decades, and a distinguished alumni professor.
A member of the Class of 1943, he served as a University Trustee since 1968 and as a Distinguished Alumni Professor in Public Affairs since 1998. He received an honorary Muskingum Doctor of Science degree in 1961, a Muskingum Distinguished Merit Award in 1959, and a Muskingum Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award in 1972.
A native son of New Concord, he often said “I’ve always believed that New Concord and Muskingum are the center of the universe, because if you get your start here, you can go anywhere.”
(Learn More about America’s Astronaut John H. Glenn, courtesy of PBS NewsHour and YouTube)
In Brown Chapel, on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941, he attended the senior music recital of his childhood sweetheart Annie Castor and afterward, they talked about how the rumblings of war would change their lives.
Glenn was one of the ‘Mercury Seven‘ group of military test pilots selected in 1959 by NASA to become America’s first astronauts, and on February 20, 1962, he flew the Friendship 7 mission and became the first American to orbit the Earth and the fifth person in space.
Glenn returned to New Concord on March 3, 1962 for a homecoming parade.
When the student broadcasters of radio station WMCO learned from his father, John H. Glenn, Sr., that his plane had landed, they broke the news of his arrival ahead of the national television network broadcasters in town to cover the parade.
Glenn received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978, was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1990, and also received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.
After he resigned from NASA in 1964, and retired from the Marine Corps in 1965, Glenn planned to run for a U.S. Senate seat from Ohio.
A member of the Democratic Party, he first won election to the Senate in 1974 where he served through January 3, 1999.
It was fromMuskingum’s campus in 1973, John Glenn publicly announced his decision to campaign for the US Senate, as well as his decision to retire from the Senate in 1997 after representing Ohio for four consecutive terms.
In 1998, while still a sitting senator, he became the oldest person to fly in space, and the only one to fly in both the Mercury and Space Shuttle programs as crew member of the Discovery space shuttle.
Glenn was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
When he returned to orbit at the age of 77 on October 29, 1998 aboard the space shuttle Discovery STS-95 mission and became the oldest human to travel in space, Muskingum students marked the occasion by renaming the campus radio and television stations “Orbit Media” in his honor.
He later presented the University with a “Muskingum College” banner which accompanied him on his Discovery flight.
The Muskingum University community extends our deepest sympathy to Anna Castor Glenn, Muskingum Class of 1942 alumna, Trustee Emerita, and Distinguished Service Professor, and to the Glenn family.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you as we join with the world in saying, once again, “Godspeed, John Glenn.”