In Memoriam

Distinguished Graduate Maj Gen William A. Anders ’55, USAFR (Ret.)

Anders was one of three astronauts who orbited the moon on the Apollo 8 mission, the first to leave earth’s gravity. He later became executive director of the National Aeronautical and Space Council, and advisor and architect to future space and satellite programs. As commissioner of the Atomic Energy Commission, he was named the first chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission when the agency split from the AEC. He subsequently served as ambassador to Norway during the Ford administration. A fellow classmate of Anders said, “William A. Anders has had a distinguished career in the service of the country and the public as a fighter pilot, astronaut, civil servant, ambassador, and business leader, making significant and lasting contributions in each area.  Although Anders was commissioned in the Air Force, he was and is a strong supporter of the Navy and a significant contributor to the Naval Academy, both financially and professionally.”

Leaving government service, Anders was named vice president of General Electric’s jet engine division and was later chosen as CEO of Textron Corporation. Later, he was lured to General Dynamics as its top man.

Throughout both his public and private career, Anders remained in the Air Force Reserve, earning promotion to Major General. 

Anders served on the board of directors of the United States Naval Academy Foundation and took a leading role in developing and building the Glenn Warner soccer facility at the Academy.

In 2000, he was recognized as a U.S. Naval Academy Distinguished Graduate Award recipient. Anders died on June 7th, 2024 while piloting a Beechcraft T-34 Mentor; he was 90.

Full NASA biography

NASA Remembers Apollo 8 Astronaut Bill Anders

Passage: Rememberiing Astronaut William Anders (CBS Sunday Morning)