Former Ohio Sen. John Glenn has circled the Earth in space, served in two wars, been a member of the U.S. Senate for four terms, and now has a street named after him on the Ohio State campus.
The Advancement Committee approved and passed the renaming of the stretch of road between College Road and Tuttle Park Place to the Board of Trustees on Nov.5.
The full board approved this movement on Friday, and signs reading “Annie and John Glenn Avenue” were installed that afternoon.
University spokesman Chris Davey said this renaming has been in the works for quite awhile, with University President Michael Drake and other administrators at OSU working together to make it happen.
“Naming a highly visible campus street for both of the Glenns was seen as a lasting way to show how much this extraordinary couple have meant to the entire community,” Davey said.
John Glenn said it came as a surprise to him.
“It was particularly meaningful because it is something that will go on indefinitely (at OSU),” he said.
John Glenn spoke about how he and his wife, Annie, have had plenty of interesting experiences together through the years.
“Annie and I were fortunate in having a lot of opportunities come our way that we were able to take advantage of in our lives,” John Glenn said.
Annie Glenn, John Glenn’s wife, is an adjunct professor at OSU in the speech pathology department.
Both of the Glenns were pleased to hear about what was being planned to honor them, but John Glenn noted his desire for the renaming to serve as inspiration for students who pass down the avenue.
“President Drake called me the day before and told me what they were going to propose,” he said. “It’s a great honor, but mainly I hope it serves as encouragement to students.”
In Spring 2015, the School of Public Affairs became a college and was rededicated in his honor.
The street now named after Annie and John Glenn is only a block away from the college, and some say the presence of the former senator can be felt in the institution.
“Having his energy and spirit as a part of the Glenn College is a daily reminder of what it means to give back to the community, the state and the nation,” said Trevor Brown, dean of the Glenn College.
Brown said John Glenn is the kind of person that all OSU students should use as a role model.
“Senator Glenn is the embodiment of a public servant,” he said.
For many students, both the Glenns already serve as an inspiration. Halie Vilagi, a third-year in public affairs and student trustee, is one of those people.
“Annie and John are models for purpose- and compassion-filled lives,” Vilagi said. “Their unfailing commitment to each other and our country is something I aspire to each day.”