| Jack Hanna, Class of 1969
Jack Hanna, popular host of the hit television series, Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures, is one of America’s most beloved naturalists and adventurers. Each week, Hanna takes millions of family viewers on exciting journeys to learn about animals and the places they live. What makes the series a success to a broad segment of viewers is Hanna’s enthusiasm and wonderment with every new creature and experience he encounters.
Hanna began to receive national attention after he became director of the Columbus Zoo in Columbus, Ohio in 1978. He not only transformed the zoo into a model facility, but through his media savvy, made the Columbus Zoo a household name. He is a regular guest on shows like Good Morning America, Larry King Live, The Late Show With David Letterman, and Live with Regis and Kelly. He also makes countless personal appearances and speeches throughout the U.S.
Not only is Hanna a regular on national talk shows, his autobiographical book, Monkeys on the Interstate, was a hit in 1989. Other books, including one for children, Let’s Go To The Petting Zoo With Jungle Jack, followed.
The route to becoming a national celebrity began in his family’s bathtub in Knoxville, Tennessee, where he raised bluegills and then extended his menagerie to their backyard. After majoring in business at Muskingum, Hanna (with support from his wife, Suzi) started a pet shop and petting zoo, worked for a wildlife adventure company and directed a small Florida zoo.
The natural progression for someone with Hanna’s knowledge of animals and the wild, along with his media popularity, was to have his show. Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures. It is available to 95 percent of U.S. television households every weekend. Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo since 1993, he still remains active in the zoo and his community.