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Secret Service hero honored

Posted by on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 in Around the Mall, News, Summer 2014.

Ever in the background, Jerry Parr (far right) with President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan. (provided by Parr)

Retired Secret Service agent Jerry W. Parr, BA’62, received Peabody’s 2014 Distinguished Alumnus Award during Commencement May 9.

He may be best known as the agent protecting President Ronald Reagan on March 31, 1981, during a near-fatal assassination attempt.

When would-be assassin John Hinckley Jr. opened fire, Parr shoved Reagan into the waiting car and ordered him taken to George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., actions credited with saving the seriously wounded president’s life.

Parr graduated from Peabody with a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy in 1962.

He then joined the United States Secret Service, moving up the ranks until his retirement in 1985. Parr went on to earn a master’s degree in pastoral counseling from Loyola University in Maryland and spent the next two decades as a counselor, pastor and humanitarian.

Learn more about Jerry Parr.

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