Frank Borman


Honorary Degree (1976)
Doctor of Laws
Location: Gary
Presenter: John W. Ryan


Colonel Frank Borman, best known as commander of the Apollo 8 spaceflight in December, 1968 - the first manned lunar orbital mission - and previously as commander of the Gemini 7 mission in 1965, is now president and chief operating officer of Eastern Airlines.

Colonel Borman was born March 14, 1928 in Gary. He received most of his early schooling in Tucson, Arizona. He was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, in 1950 and a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1957, and completed the Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program in 1970. In addition to his many special honors and service decorations, Colonel Borman is the recipient of the Harmon International Aviation Trophy, the Robert J. Collier Trophy, and the National Geographic Society's Hubbard Medal.

Borman was a career Air Force officer from 1950 to 1970, when he retired with the rank of colonel. Prior to joining the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's space program in 1962, he served as a fighter pilot with the 44th Fighter Bomber Squadron in the Philippine Islands, 1951-1953; an operational pilot and instructor in various squadrons in the U.S., 1953-1956; an assistant professor of thermodynamics and fluid mechanics at West Point, 1957-1960; and an experimental test pilot in organizing and administering special projects for the USAF Aerospace Pilot School, 1960-1962. In 1966 and 1968, Colonel Borman served as special presidential ambassador on trips throughout the Far East and Europe. In 1970, he undertook another special presidential mission - a world-wide tour to seek support for the release of American prisoners of war held by North Vietnam. In 1967, he served as a member of the Apollo 204 Fire Investigation Board and later became the Apollo program resident manager, heading the team that re-engineered the Apollo spacecraft. He also served as field director of NASA's Space Station Task Force.

Colonel Borman's association with Eastern began in early 1969 when he was invited by Floyd D. Hall, Eastern's chairman of the board and chief executive officer, to serve the company as special adviser. He was named senior vice president-operations group in December of 1970, with administrative responsibility for the company's engineering and maintenance, flight operations, and operational coordination division. In March of 1974, with the addition of the sales and services division, his duties were expanded to include administration of all groups concerned with the day-to-day operation and sales of the airline. Concurrently, his title became senior vice-president - operations. In July, 1974, he was promoted to executive vice-president - general operations manager and elected to Eastern's Board of Directors. In May, 1975, he was elected president and chief operating officer.