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No Limits

A NASA astronaut, a highly recognized crossword puzzle editor and the first woman to serve as Indiana Secretary of State highlight the list of Crawfordsville High School graduates who have gone on to achieve fame and success in their careers.

Joe Allen, born in Crawfordsville in 1937 and graduated from CHS in 1955, was a mission specialist on two of the space shuttle flights. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts Degree from DePauw University, Allen went on to receive a Master of Science degree and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Physics from Yale University in 1961 and 1965 respectively. Prior to his selection as an astronaut, Allen served as a research associate in the Nuclear Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington.

Allen’s first stint in space was as mission specialist on the five-day orbital flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia which took off from Kennedy Space Center, Florida on November 11, 1982. Allen and his fellow astronauts made 81 orbits of Earth in Columbia in 122 hours before landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on November 16, 1982. Shortly after the voyage, at a public-wide school convocation in the old CHS gym, Allen presented to the school several items he had taken into space. This space flight memorabilia, which includes a crew patch, a flag, a Crawfordsville High School ribbon and a CHS medal, can be viewed in display cases located just inside the main entrance of Crawfordsville High School.

Two years later Allen was a mission specialist on the second flight of the shuttle orbiter Discovery. This mission was launched from the Kennedy Space Center on November 8, 1984, and landed at the same location on November 16. Items from that mission are also on display at CHS. Discovery made 127 orbits of Earth in 192 hours giving Allen a total of 314 hours in outer space.

Will Shortz, a 1970 graduate of Crawfordsville High School, has been the New York Times Puzzle Editor since 1993.

Born and raised in Crawfordsville, Shortz published his first puzzle at the age of 14. By age 16, he had become a regular contributor to Dell Puzzle Publications. After graduation from Indiana University in 1974 with a degree in Enigmatology, Shortz attended law school at the University of Virginia. He then returned to the puzzle world as editor of Games Magazine where he founded the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament which held its 30th competition in 2016.  He also became the Weekend Edition Sunday puzzle master for National Public Radio.

In 1993, Shortz joined the New York Times as crossword editor while still continuing his roles with NPR and ACPT. He has authored or edited more than 200 puzzle books of crosswords, Sudoku and other brain teasers and owns more than 20,000 puzzle books and magazines dating back 1545, distinguishing his collection as the world’s largest private library on the subject.

Shortz also provided the puzzle clues that the Riddler (Jim Carey) left for Batman (Val Kilmer) in the film, “Batman Forever.” In May, 2010, Wabash College presented Shortz an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree.

Sue Anne (Starnes) Gilroy, a 1966 graduate of Crawfordsville High School, served as Indiana’s first female Secretary of State from 1994 to 2002.

Gilroy graduated cum laude from DePauw University in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree and holds a master’s degree in public administration from Indiana University at Indianapolis. While a senior at DePauw she interned with Crawfordsville Mayor Will H. Hayes. During that time she was introduced to then Mayor Richard Lugar which resulted in her first job in government as assistant to the mayor of Indianapolis. She became the first female UniGov Director of the Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation. Gilroy returned to public service as Senator Lugar’s Indiana State Director from 1990-93 before serving the next eight years as Indiana’s Secretary of State.

Gilroy is presently serving as the vice-president of development and executive director of the St. Vincent Foundation. In 2015 she was the recipient of the Nancy A. Maloley Outstanding Public Servant Award which was established in 2003 in memory of the public servant who served three Presidents, a U.S. Senator and a U.S. Congressman. Presented by the Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series, the award in given each year to recognize a Hoosier Republican woman who has demonstrated extraordinary dedication to serving the public good through appointed governmental and political office. In winning the award, Gilroy was described as ‘’a model for all Hoosier women.”

Joe Allen, Will Shortz and Sue Anne Gilroy are proof that Crawfordsville High School graduates have no limits placed on them when it comes to career opportunities. Simply put, a diploma from Crawfordsville High School can serve as a solid base for future success.


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