INDIANAPOLIS—The Honorable John H. Glenn, Jr., former United States senator and NASA astronaut, has been named the recipient of the 2008 Theodore Roosevelt Award, the highest honor the NCAA bestows.
The award, also known as the “Teddy,” will be presented at the NCAA Honors Celebration on Sunday, January 13, during the annual NCAA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.
The “Teddy” is presented annually to a former NCAA student-athlete for whom competitive athletics in college and attention to physical well-being after graduation have been important factors in a distinguished career of national significance and achievement.
The award is named after President Theodore Roosevelt, whose concern for the conduct of intercollegiate athletics led to the formation of the NCAA in 1906. Past recipients of the Teddy have included a variety of public- and private-sector leaders including Byron R. White (1969), Omar Bradley (1973), Althea Gibson (1991), Bill Richardson (1999), Williams S. Cohen (2001), Eunice Kennedy Shriver (2002), Sally K. Ride (2005) and former presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower (1967), Gerald R. Ford (1975), George H.W. Bush (1986) and Ronald Reagan (1990). Last year’s award winner was Paul Tagliabue, former commissioner of the National Football League (NFL) from 1989 to September 2006.
Jack Ford, Emmy and Peabody award-winning journalist and nationally recognized trial attorney, author and teacher, will serve as emcee of the event. Ford, a former Yale football student-athlete, has served on the NCAA Honors Committee and was named a 1997 Silver Anniversary Award honoree.
Glenn was a football student-athlete at Muskingum College, where he received a bachelor of science degree in mathematics and was a member of the Stag fraternity and Interclub Council. Committed to academic excellence and progress, Glenn has been awarded honorary doctoral degrees from nine different colleges and universities.
He entered the Naval Aviation Cadet Program in March 1942 and after graduating was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1943. After advanced training, he joined Marine Fighter Squadron 155 and spent a year flying F-4U fighters in the Marshall Islands. Glenn served in World War II, flying 59 combat missions and flew 63 missions with Marine Fighter Squadron 311 in the Korean War.
Following Korea, Glenn attended Test Pilot School at the Naval Air Test Center and was a project officer on a number of aircrafts. In the Fighter Design Branch of the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics (now Bureau of Naval Weapons) in Washington from 1956 to 1959, he set a transcontinental speed record from Los Angeles to New York, spanning the country in 3 hours and 23 minutes.
Next, Glenn was assigned to the NASA Space Task Group at Langley Research Center and selected as a Project Mercury Astronaut. In 1962 Glenn flew on Mercury-6, becoming the first American to orbit the Earth. He returned to space in 1998 aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. While at NASA, Glenn specialized in cockpit layout and control functioning, including some of the early designs for the Apollo Project.
In 1974, Glenn was elected to the United States Senate where he served until his retirement in 1999. He was reelected to appointment in 1980, 1986 and 1992. In 1998, he was the chair of the Committee on Governmental Affairs.
Glenn’s outstanding accomplishments and service have been recognized nationally. He has been 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. In March 1999, NASA renamed its Cleveland center the "John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field" in his honor.
The “Teddy” honoree is selected by the NCAA Honors Committee, comprised of athletics administrators at member institutions and nationally distinguished citizens who are former student-athletes. Members of the committee are: Gene Corrigan, former Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner; Timothy W. Gleason, (chair) commissioner, Ohio Athletic Conference; Stephanie Harrison-Dyer, associate director of athletics/compliance coordinator, Albany State University (Georgia); Calvin Hill, consultant, Jerry Jones and the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys; Jackie Joyner-Kersee, former University of California, Los Angeles, track and field student-athlete and Olympian; Gibbs Knotts, faculty athletic representative, Western Carolina University; Julie Powers Ruppert, senior woman administrator and associate commissioner, America East Conference and Barbara Walker, senior associate director of athletics/senior woman administrator, Wake Forest University.