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Notable Graduates

William Anders

William Anders

United States Ambassador

Class of 1955
  • United States Ambassador to Norway, 1975-1977
  • Astronaut



Bill Anders was born in Hong Kong, the son of an American Naval officer on the Yangtze River Patrol. Upon graduation in 1955, as an electrical engineer from the United States Naval Academy, Anders was commissioned into the U.S. Air Force, earning his pilots wings in 1956. As an Air Force pilot he served in all-weather fighter interceptor squadrons in California and later in Iceland, where he participated in early intercepts of Soviet heavy bombers who were then challenging America's air defense borders. In 1958 he entered the graduate studies program at the USAF Institute of Technology, specializing in nuclear engineering while also taking a night school course in aeronautical engineering from Ohio State University. He graduated with honors in 1962.

In late 1963, Anders was chosen by NASA for the astronaut corps. He was one of the first astronauts to fly the Lunar Landing Training Vehicle. He was Lunar Module Pilot on the December, 1968 Apollo 8 lunar orbit mission, the first manned flight on the giant Saturn V rocket and mankind's first flight away from the earth to another body in the solar system. He was appointed by the President to be the Executive Secretary of the Aeronautics & Space Council.

In 1973, the President appointed Anders to the Atomic Energy Commission, where he was made commissioner responsible for all civilian and military nuclear power R & D. With the breakup of the AEC, he was made the first chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Following that he was appointed the U.S. Ambassador to Norway. Over his distinguished career Anders was the co-holder of several world flight records and has received numerous awards including the USAF, NASA, and AEC's Distinguished Service Medals. He is a recipient of the Collier Trophy, the Harmon Trophy, the Goddard Trophy, the Gen. Thomas D. White Trophy, the American Astronautical Society's Flight Achievement Award, the National Geographic Society's Hubbard Medal for exploration, and several honorary doctorate degrees. He was chosen to be Time Magazine's "Man of the Year" in 1968 along with his Apollo 8 crewmates.

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