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John Glenn, Class of 1962

U.S. Senator John Glenn’s ties to New Concord and Muskingum College have grown through the years despite a professional life that has carried him away from the village and literally around the earth.

John Herschel Glenn, Jr. was born on July 18, 1921, in Cambridge, Ohio. Before he started school, his family moved to nearby New Concord where, after graduating from New Concord High School (re-named John Glenn High School in 1962), he enrolled at Muskingum College.

While in college, he learned to pilot an airplane as a member of a Naval civilian aviation training class. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Glenn joined the aviation branch of the Marine Corps, and during World War II, he flew 59 combat missions in the Marshall Islands.

Senator Glenn’s careers in the military, the U.S. space program, business, and politics have not diminished his involvement with Muskingum, as he and his wife, Anna Castor Glenn ‘42, have devoted much time and energy to supporting their alma mater. Both are active members of the college’s Board of Trustees, and both serve as Distinguished Alumni Professors at Muskingm  The Muskingum College Alumni Association has honored the Glenns with Distinguished Service Awards, symbols of their outstanding service to the college.

Senator Glenn has been a featured speaker at commencement exercises and has participated in alumni weekend panels, at the college’s  bicentennial celebration, the dedication of the Boyd Science Center, the inauguration of Dr. Anne C. Steele, and numerous other events.

Muskingum College was the site of a celebration on April 21, 1983, the day Senator Glenn launched his campaign for the presidency of the United States. Glenn also announced his first campaign for the U.S. Senate in Muskingum College’s John Glenn Gymnasium with hundreds of hometown friends and students in the crowd. On February 20, l997, 35 years from the day he became the first American to orbit the earth, Glenn announced his retirement from the U.S. Senate before a packed crowd in Brown Chapel on his alma mater’s campus. Then, in 1998, Senator Glenn became the oldest human to travel in space about the Discovery 7 space shuttle flight.

His parents, Mr. And Mrs. John H. Glenn, Sr., are deceased. The street in New Concord on which the family lived was renamed Friendship Drive after the spacecraft “Friendship 7,” in which  John Glenn, Jr., orbited the earth.

In 1999, Senator and Mrs. Glenn donated the Senator’s boyhood home and that home has been relocated to Main Street, New Concord, where it houses a museum dedicated to telling the life story of John and Annie Glenn (johnglennhome.org).