Gerald Ford is the only President since Herbert Hoover not to be named “TIME” Person of the Year.

  • President Gerald Ford
President Gerald Ford
Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Though the outcome of any given presidential election is always in doubt, one thing is not: Whoever wins will almost certainly be named TIME magazine’s Person of the Year. The tradition dates back to 1932, when Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first President to be so honored. The title itself was established in 1927, with TIME naming aviator Charles Lindbergh its first Man of the Year (the name was changed to Person of the Year in 1999). President Calvin Coolidge, who was in office in 1927, was passed over by the magazine, as was Herbert Hoover, Coolidge’s successor. Since then, Gerald Ford is the only U.S. President who has not been named Person of the Year.

In a way, that’s fitting, as Ford is also the only commander in chief to never actually be elected Vice President or President. He was appointed to the former office after Richard Nixon’s original VP, Spiro Agnew, resigned in disgrace, and he became President after Nixon avoided a likely impeachment over the Watergate scandal by likewise resigning. Ford’s controversial decision to immediately pardon his predecessor is widely considered a black mark on his record that doomed his reelection chances. Jimmy Carter, who defeated Ford in the 1976 election, was named TIME’s Person of the Year shortly after his victory.

You may also like