Scranton, the scion of the prominent Pennsylvania family, was the grandson of U.S. Congressman Joe Scranton and was seemingly always destined for politics.
After graduating from Yale University, he moved on to Yale Law School although he dropped out to enlist in the Army Air Corps in World War II. During the war, Scranton never saw combat yet eventually rose to the rank of Captain in the Air Force.
While practicing law, Scranton was enlisted to serve in the Eisenhower Administration in the State Department. In 1960, he was elected as a Congressman for Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District.
In 1962 Scranton was elected Governor and proceeded to implement major reforms in the state’s educational system. The state community college system, the state board of education, and the state’s Higher Education Assistance Agency were all created during his term.
Scranton was a moderate, “Rockefeller Republican”, and was perhaps most famous nationwide for his attempt to prevent Barry Goldwater’s nomination at the 1964 Republican Convention. Scranton’s failed yet he received 214 votes at the convention, finishing second in the balloting.
After his term expired in 1966, Scranton pledged never to seek elected office again and kept that pledge till the day he died. He did, however, help draft the new state constitution and was named Ambassador to the United Nations in 1976 by President Ford.