John Glenn is Out of This World

Anthony Dominic

Last October, John and Annie Glenn attended the Jefferson Series' season-opening lecture at the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts in New Albany, featuring columnist and CNN host Fareed Zakaria. After the talk, the couple was soon sharing conversation and laughs with Zakaria and Les and Abigail Wexner, says Jefferson Series producer Lisa Hinson, and, while watching that scene unfold, the seed was planted to put the former astronaut and U.S. senator in the hot seat.

Mark your calendar: A June 10 talk between Glenn and broadcast journalist Charlie Rose will close the series' second season. The topic? Well, there really isn't one, says Craig Mohre, president of the New Albany Community Foundation, the series' sponsor. Glenn, who will turn 94 next month, is the topic. Mohre expects talking points will include Glenn's values, life path, 72-year marriage and the people and events that shaped him. Here, we look back at some of Glenn's greatest accomplishments.

  • As a member of the U.S. Navy, Glenn flew more than 100 combat missions between World War II and the Korean War.
  • In July 1957, while a test pilot at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, he completed the first-ever supersonic transcontinental flight, traveling from Los Angeles to New York in three hours and 23 minutes.
  • Glenn has logged nearly 9,000 hours of flying time in his lifetime, 3,000 of which were in jet aircraft.
  • In February 1962, he became the first American to orbit the Earth aboard Friendship 7 on the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission.
  • Glenn was a U.S. senator from 1974 to 1999, during which time he became Ohio's first four-term senator.
  • In October 1998, Glenn, at 77, became the oldest person to enter space as a payload specialist on the Discovery STS-95 mission.
  • Glenn has spent more than 221 hours in space.
  • In 1998, he founded Ohio State University's John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy, which became the John Glenn School of Public Affairs in 2006 and then the John Glenn College of Public Affairs in 2015.