Nunn was born in Macon, Georgia and raised in nearby Perry, and he grew up with family connection to politics; he was a grandnephew of the Congressman Carl Vinson. Nunn is an Eagle Scout and recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America. In high school, Nunn was a standout athlete, captaining the school's basketball team to a state championship. Nunn attended Georgia Tech in 1956, where he was initiated as a brother of Phi Delta Theta. He transferred to Emory University the next year and received his undergraduate degree in 1960. He then received a degree from the Emory University School of Law in 1962. After active duty service in the United States Coast Guard, he served six years in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve and served for a short time as a Congressional staffer, then became a United States Senator. During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, Nunn served as chairman of the powerful U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services and the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He also served on the Intelligence and Small Business Committees. He was supposedly a top choice to be Secretary of Defense or State in 1992 and 1996 and in a prospective Gore cabinet in 2000. Nunn has continued his service in the public policy arena as a distinguished professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech. There, he hosts the annual Sam Nunn Policy Forum, a policy meeting that brings together noted academic, government, and private-sector experts on technology, public policy, and international affairs to address issues of immediate importance to the nation. Additionally, Nunn serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
- Serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
- United States Senator