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Robert R. Spitzer Receives Wisconsin History Maker Award | Wisconsin Historical Society

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Robert R. Spitzer Receives 2010 'Charles Van Hise Award for Distinction in Education'

Wisconsin History Maker Award

Robert R. Spitzer Receives Wisconsin History Maker Award | Wisconsin Historical Society
Robert R. Spitzer.

Robert R. Spitzer, 2010

President Emeritus of the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Robert R. Spitzer is one of four individuals honored by the Society as a 2010 Wisconsin History Maker.

The Wisconsin Historical Society celebrated the lifetime achievement of Dr. Robert R. Spitzer, along with three other individuals with Wisconsin ties, during the Fifth Annual History Makers Gala in Milwaukee in May 2010. Spitzer received The Charles Van Hise Award for Distinction in Education.

A Wisconsin History Maker is a living individual who has recently made significant contributions to history in the state, across the nation or around the world.

Robert R. Spitzer is president emeritus of the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) founded in 1903.

Spitzer earned a B.S. in Agriculture, and both a master and doctoral degree in animal nutrition, biochemistry and medical physiology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Prior to leading MSOE, Spitzer spent 28 years at Murphy Products Co., a nationally known agribusiness firm located in Burlington, Wisconsin. While there he served as director of research, executive vice president, president and CEO, and chairman of the board.

He was chosen by industry leaders to be president of the American Feed Manufacturer's Association, the largest agricultural trade association in the U.S. He also served as a member of the Committee on Animal Research of the National Academy of Sciences as well as president of the Wisconsin Manufacturer's Association. After retiring from Murphy Products Co., Spitzer was coordinator of the U.S. State Department's Food for Peace Program in Washington, D.C., an effort that served 50 countries. He participated in the World Food Program in Rome as a citizen advisor and delegate of the United States.

From 1977-1991 he served as president of Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) where he innovated financial and management charting systems. During this time he became known as the "businessman president" and the school's team approach to management and strong financial discipline attracted national attention. Under Spitzer's leadership, undergraduate and graduate degree programs expanded, incorporating international dimensions and global awareness into the MSOE mission. A Uihlein/Spitzer Professorship of Entrepreneurship was endowed by David Uihlein, Sr. Today, MSOE graduates are highly sought after because of their excellence in engineering, entrepreneurship, business enterprise and national awareness.

Spitzer is the founding chairman of the Norman Vincent Peale Guideposts Advisory Cabinet. He has authored numerous books and articles and is a four-time recipient of the George Washington Freedom Foundation Award for his film and literary work. He has three honorary degrees and is recognized as an accomplished lecturer throughout the nation.

Always feeling a strong personal respect for teaching as well as research, he established the Spitzer Excellence in Teaching Award in 1968. It is awarded by the UW College of Agricultural and Life Sciences annually to a teacher selected by the college.

He also served as a director or trustee to numerous companies, including: Roundy's Foods, Maple Leaf Farms, Tracy Seed Company, Egg Products Company, State Financial Bank and the Bank of Burlington. In addition, Spitzer worked with Fiduciary Management, Inc., as the director for the Fiduciary Capital Growth and the Fiduciary Total Return Funds.

Today, he continues involvement with numerous civic and business organizations. He is a 60-year member of Rotary International and past president of both Milwaukee and Burlington (Wisconsin) clubs. He is a 33rd Degree Mason. Additionally, he currently serves as director and senior mentor of Kikkoman Foods, Inc. of Walworth, Wisconsin, and Tokyo, Japan. He frequently speaks nationally and internationally at universities and seminars.