Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Site Content
Expand About JUAbout JUAbout JU
Expand Academic AdvisingAcademic AdvisingAcademic Advising
Expand Academic AffairsAcademic AffairsAcademic Affairs
Expand AcademicsAcademicsAcademics
Expand Accelerated Degree ProgramAccelerated Degree ProgramAccelerated Degree Program
Expand AdmissionsAdmissionsAdmissions
Expand AlumniAlumniAlumni
Expand AspireAspireAspire
Expand AviationAviationAviation
Expand BiologyBiologyBiology
Expand Campus ActivitiesCampus ActivitiesCampus Activities
Expand Campus LifeCampus LifeCampus Life
Expand Campus MinistriesCampus MinistriesCampus Ministries
Expand Campus SecurityCampus SecurityCampus Security
Expand Career Development CenterCareer Development CenterCareer Development Center
Expand Center for Student SuccessCenter for Student SuccessCenter for Student Success
Expand Center for Teaching and LearningCenter for Teaching and LearningCenter for Teaching and Learning
Expand College of Arts and SciencesCollege of Arts and SciencesCollege of Arts and Sciences
Expand College of Fine ArtsCollege of Fine ArtsCollege of Fine Arts
Expand College of Health ScienceCollege of Health ScienceCollege of Health Science
Expand College of Interdisciplinary and Professional StudiesCollege of Interdisciplinary and Professional StudiesCollege of Interdisciplinary and Professional Studies
Expand CommunicationCommunicationCommunication
Expand Computing ScienceComputing ScienceComputing Science
Expand ControllerControllerController
Expand Davis College of Business at Jacksonville UniversityDavis College of Business at Jacksonville UniversityDavis College of Business at Jacksonville University
Expand Department of ChemistryDepartment of ChemistryDepartment of Chemistry
Expand Division of HumanitiesDivision of HumanitiesDivision of Humanities
Expand Division of Student LifeDivision of Student LifeDivision of Student Life
Expand Dolphin AlliesDolphin AlliesDolphin Allies
Expand Dolphinium RecordsDolphinium RecordsDolphinium Records
Expand DuplicatingDuplicatingDuplicating
Expand EchoEchoEcho
Expand Employee Advisory CouncilEmployee Advisory CouncilEmployee Advisory Council
Expand EngineeringEngineeringEngineering
Expand EnglishEnglishEnglish
Expand Event SchedulingEvent SchedulingEvent Scheduling
Expand Experts ListExperts ListExperts List
Expand Faculty & StaffFaculty & StaffFaculty & Staff
Expand Finance & AdministrationFinance & AdministrationFinance & Administration
Expand Financial AidFinancial AidFinancial Aid
Expand FrenchFrenchFrench
Expand Freshman Interest NetworkFreshman Interest NetworkFreshman Interest Network
Expand GeographyGeographyGeography
Expand Green Pages Student HandbookGreen Pages Student HandbookGreen Pages Student Handbook
Expand HonorsHonorsHonors
Expand Human ResourcesHuman ResourcesHuman Resources
Expand HumanitiesHumanitiesHumanities
Expand Information TechnologyInformation TechnologyInformation Technology
Expand Institutional EffectivenessInstitutional EffectivenessInstitutional Effectiveness
Expand Institutional Review BoardInstitutional Review BoardInstitutional Review Board
Expand International Student ServicesInternational Student ServicesInternational Student Services
Expand Journal of Research Across the DisciplinesJournal of Research Across the DisciplinesJournal of Research Across the Disciplines
Expand JU BlogJU BlogJU Blog
Expand JU CheerleadingJU CheerleadingJU Cheerleading
Expand JU Marching BandJU Marching BandJU Marching Band
Expand JU Public Policy InstituteJU Public Policy InstituteJU Public Policy Institute
Expand JU Sailing TeamJU Sailing TeamJU Sailing Team
Expand JU Shooting ClubJU Shooting ClubJU Shooting Club
Expand JUTrainingJUTrainingJUTraining
Expand Leadership & LearningLeadership & LearningLeadership & Learning
Expand Marketing & CommunicationsMarketing & CommunicationsMarketing & Communications
Expand MathematicsMathematicsMathematics
Expand Media BoardMedia BoardMedia Board
Expand Military and Veterans InformationMilitary and Veterans InformationMilitary and Veterans Information
Expand OrientationOrientationOrientation
Expand ortho_devortho_devortho_dev
Expand Parent & FamiliesParent & FamiliesParent & Families
Expand PhilosophyPhilosophyPhilosophy
Expand Physical PlantPhysical PlantPhysical Plant
Expand PhysicsPhysicsPhysics
Expand Post OfficePost OfficePost Office
Expand PPI DevPPI DevPPI Dev
Expand PresidentPresidentPresident
Expand PurchasingPurchasingPurchasing
Expand RegistrarRegistrarRegistrar
Expand Residential LifeResidential LifeResidential Life
Expand School of EducationSchool of EducationSchool of Education
Expand School of OrthodonticsSchool of OrthodonticsSchool of Orthodontics
Expand SearchSearchSearch
Expand Service LearningService LearningService Learning
Expand Social ScienceSocial ScienceSocial Science
Expand SpanishSpanishSpanish
Expand Sport & Exercise Science ConferenceSport & Exercise Science ConferenceSport & Exercise Science Conference
Expand Sport and Exercise ScienceSport and Exercise ScienceSport and Exercise Science
Expand Student Counseling CenterStudent Counseling CenterStudent Counseling Center
Expand Student Involvement and LeadershipStudent Involvement and LeadershipStudent Involvement and Leadership
Expand Student ResourcesStudent ResourcesStudent Resources
Expand Student Success ProgramsStudent Success ProgramsStudent Success Programs
Expand Study AbroadStudy AbroadStudy Abroad
Expand Support Jacksonville UniversitySupport Jacksonville UniversitySupport Jacksonville University
Expand SustainabilitySustainabilitySustainability
Expand TRIO Student Support ServicesTRIO Student Support ServicesTRIO Student Support Services
Expand Wilma's Little People's SchoolWilma's Little People's SchoolWilma's Little People's School
Expand Writing Across the CurriculumWriting Across the CurriculumWriting Across the Curriculum
Expand Writing at JUWriting at JUWriting at JU
Expand Writing CenterWriting CenterWriting Center
Page Banner LibraryPage Banner Library
Expand Site AssetsSite AssetsSite Assets
Site Collection DocumentsSite Collection Documents
Expand Style LibraryStyle LibraryStyle Library
Featured StoriesFeatured Stories
Large PicturesLarge Pictures
MainPage Banner LibraryMainPage Banner Library
News ImagesNews Images
Spotlight BannersSpotlight Banners
Content and Structure ReportsContent and Structure Reports
Helpful LinksHelpful Links
Main Menu HeadersMain Menu Headers
Main Menu LinksMain Menu Links
Reusable ContentReusable Content
Site Collection ImagesSite Collection Images
Site PagesSite Pages
Top NavigationTop Navigation
University LinksUniversity Links
Workflow TasksWorkflow Tasks


​JU mourns loss of former president Robert Spiro; instrumental in creating Florida’s first Naval ROTC program


Web- 1. Dr. Robert Spiro, 196411.jpegDr. Robert H. “Bob” Spiro Jr., who served from 1964 to 1979 as Jacksonville University’s president, and was a U.S. Navy Reserve rear admiral and Undersecretary of the Army, died Tuesday, Oct. 1, in Charlotte, N.C. He was 92.

As the University’s longest-serving president, Dr. Spiro had an enduring impact on campus – and was a U.S. patriot, as well, said JU President Tim Cost.

“Jacksonville University has lost one of its most instrumental and patriotic leaders; under Dr. Spiro’s 15 years of leadership, JU experienced growth in stature, facilities and enhancements in all areas of campus life,” Cost said. “Admiral Spiro also served our country for nearly four decades in the U.S. Navy and as Undersecretary of the Army, and created Florida’s first Naval ROTC program here at JU.

“We are honored to have graduated more than 1,250 officers who went on to become military leaders in both our Navy and Marine Corps, and will forever be beholden to Dr. Spiro’s contributions to JU and to our country.”

Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne, who succeeded Dr. Spiro as JU president and now is the University’s chancellor emeritus, says she was impressed by Dr. Spiro’s leadership, faculty support, and “how he became part of the JU community."

Dr. Spiro chaired Jacksonville's Sesquicentennial celebration in 1972 and was instrumental in selecting the campus' "Jacksonville Sesquicentennial Oak," which symbolically links the University and community.

(Dr. Spiro) will be remembered for the continuity he provided when we were a young university, and for the stability he lent to JU over the course of his entire tenure,” Dr. Kinne said.

Dr. Spiro’s daughter, Jacksonville resident Elizabeth Spiro, said her father – who was JU’s president in 1970 when Artis Gilmore led the basketball team to the National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball championship game – was a loving man with a special place in his heart for JU.

“For many years, the only watch my father had and wore was his NCAA watch, from the Artis Gilmore era,” she said. “It reminded him of those times and of JU. It showed his love for the school …

“One of the things that I admired most about Dad was his dedication to JU and Jacksonville, to making his university the best it could be, and his city better. Also, his and my mother's deep faith was a guiding factor in my life. Dad was a remarkable man.”

Web- 1. Dr. Robert Spiro, 196412.jpegBorn on Dec. 5, 1920, in Asheville, N.C., Dr. Spiro enlisted in the U.S. Navy in December 1941 at the age of 19. He served as a supply officer and took part in eight major combat campaigns on the Pacific Ocean through the end of World War II. He then entered the Naval Reserve, retiring as a rear admiral in 1979.

As he traveled the world with the Navy, Dr. Spiro focused on academia. With bachelor degrees from Wheaton (Ill.) College and post-graduate degrees from the University of North Carolina, University of Edinburgh (Scotland) and Duke University in Durham, N.C., Dr. Spiro taught history at King College in Bristol, Tenn., and at Mississippi College in Clinton, Miss.

He served as president of Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, N.C., in 1960, and as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and professor of history at Mercer University in Macon, Ga., from 1960 until accepting the JU leadership post in 1964.

In speeches and interviews, Dr. Spiro said his most prideful accomplishment at JU was starting a Naval ROTC program in 1971, during an era when anti-war sentiment was prevalent. Today, the JU Naval ROTC program is the second-largest in the United States.

“We needed to grow our enrollment and Navy midshipmen were, and are, among the best students at any university …” Dr. Spiro recalled in a 2010 speech at JU. “(Then-Navy Secretary) John Warner … said to me, ‘Bob, do you mean that Jacksonville University actually wants an ROTC? Some ROTCs are under attack ... I firmly replied, ‘Aye, aye, sir.’”

Capt. Herbert M. Hadley, JU’s current Naval ROTC commander, said Dr. Spiro was abundantly supportive of the campus’ military program from the time he left JU until his death. Hadley said Dr. Spiro telephoned him a week before his death to “see how the program is going and to keep in touch, which he liked to do.”

“He was extremely proud of the unit and proud of the fact that he had an instrumental part in starting the (ROTC) unit,” Hadley said. “He talked a lot about how when other universities did not want a unit, Jacksonville University embraced the unit.”

Web- 1. Dr. Robert Spiro, 196413.jpg
In 2010, JU dedicated the Admiral Robert H. Spiro NROTC Training Center, which includes an obstacle course and gazebo.
Spiro also established an NROTC scholarship endowment for students exhibiting qualities of high character and academic ability.

“Dr. Spiro embraced the ROTC unit and the ROTC unit embraced the university,” Hadley said. “The award is presented to a student who embodies what (Dr. Spiro) was all about.”

With Dr. Spiro at the helm, JU expanded in number of faculty members, buildings, programs and library book volumes. The Howard Administration and Gooding Building were constructed; the Friends of the JU Library was established; JU’s beneficiary honor society, Order of the Dolphin, was established; and JU adopted Marineland’s Nellie the dolphin as its mascot in 1970. Today, Nellie is the oldest dolphin in human care and the oldest living college mascot in the U.S.

Dr. Quinton White, JU’s Marine Science Research Institute director, said that Spiro helped bring marine science classes to campus and has remained the program’s largest benefactor since leaving the University.

“He also helped JU weather a bit of a storm, because he was president when (the University of North Florida) started, and there was some retrenchment at JU with the new competition, and some enrollment challenges. But he helped us get through it,” White said.

White’s wife, 1978 JU biology graduate Susan (Hite) White, fondly recalls Dr. Spiro’s speech to her 1975 (Jacksonville) Lee High School graduating class.

Web- 1. Dr. Robert Spiro, 196414.jpg“I remember his topic: ‘And then some.’ He spoke at length to the graduates about meeting the main requirements in life ‘and then some’ as they went out into the world,” Susan White said. “He pointed to me and the two other valedictorians on stage and said we were examples of people who had met all requirements ‘and then some.’

Spiro served as President Jimmy Carter’s Undersecretary of the Army appointee from 1980-81, and later undertook various business, academic, governmental and charitable endeavors. Among them, he was National Security Caucus Foundation president, American Security Council chairman, Reserve Officer’s Association national executive director, and University of Edinburgh USA Development Trust president.

In addition to his daughter, Dr. Spiro is survived by his wife, Juanita T. Henderson, of Charlotte; his sons, Dr. Robert T. Spiro of Silverdale, Wash., and James M. Spiro of Sylva, N.C.; sister, Sarah Scott of Bristol, Tenn.; and his eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Suenell Spiro; and sister, Margaret Norwood.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, in the chapel of Hankins & Whittington Funeral Service in Charlotte. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be in Dr. Spiro’s honor made to the American Security Council Foundation, 1250 24th St. N.W., Suite 300, Washington, D.C. 20037; or The Admiral Robert H. Spiro NROTC Award Endowment, Jacksonville University, 2800 University Blvd. N., Jacksonville, FL 32211.










university news


Created at 10/3/2013 7:56 PM by Hogencamp, Kevin
Last modified at 10/29/2013 12:44 PM by Stover, Erick