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John Glenn to speak at Ohio State's spring commencement

John H. Glenn, former U.S. Senator and astronaut, will be the speaker for Ohio State's spring commencement, set for Sunday, June 14, at Ohio Stadium.

About 7,500 graduates will receive degrees at the ceremony, which begins at 1 p.m. Graduates and guests can find complete information on the ceremony at http://www.osu.edu/commence/.

Glenn also delivered Ohio State's spring commencement address 25 years ago, in 1984.

Also during the commencement ceremony, Glenn's wife, Annie, will receive an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree. CBS correspondent Erin Moriarty ('77 JD)and Ernest Mazzaferri, Sr. ('62 MD), professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Internal Medicine, will both receive the Distinguished Service Award.

Glenn, a native of New Concord, made history in 1962 as the first American to orbit the earth. He represented Ohio in the U.S. Senate from 1974 to 1999. His strong commitment to public service is carried out at Ohio State's John Glenn School for Public Affairs.

Following graduation from New Concord High School, Glenn enrolled in Muskingum College and began flying lessons at the New Philadelphia airport, earning his pilot's license in 1941. He left college before earning his degree (he was awarded a bachelor of science in engineering from Muskingum in 1962) and was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1943.

As a Marine fighter pilot, Glenn flew combat missions in World War II and the Korean conflict. After Korea, he became a test pilot and, in 1957, set a transcontinental speed record, traveling from Los Angeles to New York in 3 hours and 23 minutes. Following that flight, a parade was held in New Concord to honor Glenn.

In 1959, he was selected to be one of seven NASA Mercury astronauts from an original pool of 508. Three years later, on Feb. 20, 1962, he piloted the "Friendship 7" and made history as the first American to orbit the earth. He completed a successful three-orbit mission around the earth and returned to a hero's welcome.

Glenn retired from the Marine Corps as a colonel in 1965 and became a business executive with Royal Crown Cola. During this time, he took an active part in Democratic politics and early environmental protection efforts in Ohio.

In 1974, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, carrying all 88 counties in Ohio. He was reelected in 1980 with the largest margin of votes in Ohio history. Ohioans returned him to the Senate for the third time in 1986, and, in 1992, he again made history by being the first popularly elected senator from Ohio to win four consecutive terms. He retired from the Senate in 1999.

Glenn returned to space from Oct. 29 to Nov. 7, 1998, as a member of NASA's Shuttle STS-95 Discovery mission during which crew supported a variety of research payloads and investigations on space flight and aging. During that mission, Glenn made 134 Earth orbits in 213 hours and 44 minutes.

Prior to his retirement from the Senate, in October 1997, Glenn donated his papers and memorabilia to The Ohio State University. The John Glenn Archives comprise some 2,000 cubic feet of materials documenting Glenn's careers as a military aviator, NASA astronaut, businessman, and U.S. Senator.

In September 1998, Ohio State announced the establishment of the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy, which is now called the John Glenn School of Public Affairs. The Glenn School is housed in Page Hall, 1810 College Road. Many archival items are on display inside the Glenn School including the hand controller from Friendship 7 and shoulder patches from STS-95.

Glenn is the recipient of hundreds of honors. He holds the Air Medal with 18 Clusters for his combat service and has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on six occasions. He is the recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.