Bob Spencer to Retire; Named Director General Emeritus

| September 28, 2012


Webster University has announced the retirement of Robert “Bob” Spencer, effective May 31, 2013. Spencer has served in leadership positions under four university presidents for 40 years.

On Sept. 26, he was given the honorary title Director General Emeritus by President Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble and Provost Julian Z. Schuster.

Spencer joined Webster University in January 1973 as assistant director of Community Education. In the years that followed, he was asked to take on responsibility for drafting self-study reports to serve as bases for a North Central Association accreditation and appointed to head external relations for the then Webster College. He was also assigned the added responsibility of chief development officer.

Spencer was instrumental in the transition of the institution from Webster College to Webster University. As chief development officer, he managed capital funds campaigns for the construction of the Sverdrup Business Technology Complex, the University Center, and the first expansion of the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts.

During Spencer’s 40-year tenure, the Daniel Webster Society was created to promote major annual giving, and he managed annual and capital fund campaigns resulting in $31,500,000 raised, as well as three tax-exempt bond issues totaling $27,700,000.

Spencer also had a major role during the acquisition of the Lockwood Farms neighborhood, which provided the University with critically needed space for the future development of the Webster Groves campus.

In 1991 Spencer was promoted to vice president for Institutional Advancement and secretary of the Board of Trustees, a position he held until 1995 when he was asked to serve as director of the Geneva campus and director general of the European campuses.

During his 17 years in Geneva, he developed a critically needed supply of student housing, now numbering 200 beds. He created a comprehensive Student Services organization which didn’t exist when he arrived.

He built a broad-based program of student support encompassing need-based aid, merit-based scholarships, work-study jobs, and alumni and corporate sponsored scholarships. One hundred students now benefit from this base of support.

Spencer has also built a strong network of friends and supporters of the University in the Geneva community through active involvement in a number of important social, educational, diplomatic and business organizations.

As a result of these efforts, the Geneva campus has become firmly recognized as an established Geneva institution, and headcount enrollment has grown by 70 percent over 15 years.

Under Spencer’s leadership, such critical areas as recruitment, admissions and academic affairs now share common plans, goals and practices across the European region, closely coordinated with Webster University worldwide.

Category: Employee News, Webster News

Comments (9)

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  1. Geneva campus willl not be the same without you. Wishing you a long, happy retirement in good health. Angela

  2. Congratulations for a job well done! Time to take some time…Hopw that we can share some too. love from both E and B xx

  3. Eugene James says:

    Dr. Spencer created an incredible atmosphere around the campus, which truly made one feel part of a community. When I went to study at Webster, I was always certain to do more than just academic learning. This is because there are always so many activities going on and one really wants to make a contribution. When I think of Dr. Spencer, I always remember that my mission never ends at the doorstep of the classroom or the office. I think of how I can make a difference in my life and that of people around me for the better. Dr. Spencer created the environment to prepare us for a life-long learning process. Thank you Dr. Spencer for having instilled in us the value of learning and putting lessons into practice!
    Eugene James, Alumnus 2010

  4. Genc says:

    Dr. Spencer, you have done so much for so many people, the university and Geneva. Thank you. You have also given us a great example to follow, shown us how one that leads needs to act. Things we apply daily, however subtle or daring. Will drop by soon, too much time has passed by.

  5. Michel Firmenich says:

    Dear Bob,
    This is a well deserved honor to a great, ethical and friendly man, who has succeeded in integrating in the Geneva environment and life.

    All the best for your retirement, see you in Vaison-la Romaine…

    Michel Firmenich

  6. You can be proud of all you have achieved at Webster Geneva, Bob and I am sure that in retirement you will continue to be an active member of the Webster Community as well as having the time to enjoy so many other possible activities! Santé!

  7. Thomas LePere says:

    Congratulations, Bob! This is a well-deserved honor. Thanks for all that you have contributed to the field of international education and for the positive way you’ve impacted the countless individuals who have come to know you and appreciate you. We are all very fortunate indeed!

    Warmest Regards,

    Tom LePere
    Office of Higher Education
    Council of International Schools

  8. Nickie Greenwood says:

    I have had the privilege and pleasure of working with you 17 years and we will now be retiring in same time. Together we combine all of 70 years working for Webster!

    Congratulations on this well-deserved honorary title in recognition for all you have contributed.

    Ce n’est qu’un au revoir – as I am sure we will keeping contact be it Geneva or Corfu.

    Warm regards, Nickie

  9. Robert J. Fry says:

    Congratulations, and welcome to the ranks of the happily retired “Old Guard” of Webster U.
    It was a pleasure working with you….from the early day struggles(70’s)to the sucessful times. You were always a helful,insighful,and delightful colleague as we worked through the audits, budgets of our International operations.
    Best wishes to you and Anne in your retirement years…i think you will love it.
    Best Personal Regards
    Bob Fry