John Joyce Gilligan

Gov. John Joyce Gilligan


January 11, 1971 - January 13, 1975

March 22, 1921

August 26, 2013


Notre Dame University; University of Cincinnati

Birth State

National Office(s) Served:

Military Service:

Married Mary Kathryn Dixon; four children

Silver Star


JOHN JOYCE GILLIGAN was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He received a B.A. from Notre Dame University in 1943 and an M.A. from the University of Cincinnati in 1947. Gilligan was a naval officer during World War II and was awarded the Silver Star in 1944 for gallantry in action. Prior to becoming governor, he was a member of the Cincinnati City Council (1953-64, 1967-68) and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1965-1966). He ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1968 but went on two years later to win election as governor. During his administration, the state lottery—which he had opposed—was implemented. In addition, Ohio adopted a graduated state income tax to address budget shortfalls. Two years into his term, Gilligan concurred with the state legislature to lower the voting age to eighteen. Gilligan also secured funding for the improvement of Ohio’s transportation infrastructure. After losing his reelection bid in 1974 in one of the closest elections in Ohio history, he served as director of the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) from 1977 to 1979. He also taught at several universities, including Notre Dame. In 1999 he returned to politics, winning election to the Cincinnati School Board.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

The Ohio Historical Society

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Relation to Another Governor
  • Father of Kansas  Governor Kathleen Sebelius