Posted by: COSI | May 25, 2010

Two Explorers On One Night, Under One COSI Roof


A Very Special Photo

I had really been counting on going home after my late Friday afternoon meeting at OSU—the long, many week process leading up to the Board meeting and budget approval the day before and prepping for the important OSU meeting had left me tired and drained.

Then I received the note from our special events team that we had two VERY SPECIAL events going on Friday night –one with Senator John Glenn (who doesn’t need introduction) and another in a separate location at COSI with Jim Whittaker (notable American mountain climber, first President of outdoor company REI).  So I grabbed a quick swim at OSU’s pool to revive me and headed back in to COSI.

I’m glad I did.  It was one of those special evenings that I’ll always remember.

We all know that John Glenn circled the globe in 1962 in a Mercury capsule (we have a mock-up here at COSI—take a look next time you come).  Whittaker was the first American to summit Mt. Everest, making his climb in 1963 shortly after Glenn’s vault into fame.

What I didn’t know was that the two of them, both American heroes of the same era, knew each other well, and were both close friends of Bobby Kennedy.  (Kennedy encouraged Glenn to join politics; Whittaker led Bobby Kennedy up the newly named Mt. Kennedy honoring our slain President.  Sadly they were both pall bearers at Bobby Kennedy’s funeral).  So my job of making sure to individually welcome the two American legends and their wonderful wives turned into my serving as activity leader to make sure the four of them came together.  Senator Glenn was intent on assuring that this serendipitous accident of timing and location resulted in their meeting.

Once I escorted Senator Glenn and his treasure of a wife, Annie, over to meet up with Jim Whittaker and his lovely wife Dianne I just stood back while I watched the enthusiastic and special reunion.  They shared that they had not seen each other for over 20 years.  Then they passed a cell phone back and forth as they talked with someone whose name most would recognize that I’ll leave private.  The whole event was special and surreal and taking place under COSI’s roof.

They were kind enough to invite me into a picture—it’ll be special (and look better than my iPhone version posted here).  These are the special opportunities that I get at times through my position at COSI that make the long hours a little less long 😉



  1. That is great. I remember when John Glenn went back into space. I was in middle school and we all went down to the gym to watch the lift off. It was how I image lifts off were to earlier generations before they became so routine. Here is a really old picture of John Glenn by the mock Mercury Capsule (from the Columbus Library website).

  2. Thanks! That photo is special.

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