Robert Spitze celebrates his 90th birthday with greetings from Bumpers College.
Robert Spitze speaks to agricultural economics and agribusiness class.
Students help Spitze celebrate No. 90
When Robert Spitze, BSA '47, returned to Fayetteville to speak to students and attend the Bumpers College scholarship luncheon, his visit on Oct. 10 coincided with his 90th birthday. That gave Professor Steve Halbrook's class in agricultural economics and agribusiness an opportunity to sing birthday greetings to him and watch him cut the cake.
Spitze and his late wife Hazel Taylor Sptize, BSHE '43, spent most of their careers on the faculty at the University of Illinois. They have sponsored several scholarship and award opportunities for students in Bumpers College. They established an endowed scholarship for students in human environmental sciences, the Spitze public Policy Internship and the Spitze Land Grant University Faculty Award of Excellence, among other gifts.
"This is the place I got started in my professional career," Spitze told the students, recalling how he met his wife at the campus and worked part-time to pay for school. "We wouldn't have gotten through the university if we hadn't had someone to help us. I began winning some scholarships. We got some help from people who put some money down for scholarships."
Spitze, a Berryville native who taught public policy for 40 years, encouraged the students to put aside some money later in their careers to help future college students. "Hazel and I began putting some money down for scholarships. We're paying back. You can find a few cents worth. Think of people you can pay back."