Three McKinley Fellow Award Recipients to be honored at Alumni Weekend

April 06, 2010

Mount Union College will honor three McKinley Fellow Award recipients during the alumni luncheon at this year's Alumni Weekend, June 7 - 9.

Initiated in 1993, the McKinley Fellow Award honors a non-alumnus/alumna who has demonstrated significant involvement with the College above and beyond expectation. This year's recipients are Robert Bordner, Robert Plajer and Robert Spitzer.

Robert Bordner earned his bachelor's degree in business and marketing from Capital University in Columbus in 1958. Before returning to his hometown of New Washington, he spent four years working in advertising at the Columbus Dispatch.

Bordner is the owner of The Herald Printing Company, and through his business relationship with Mount Union, he has become aware of the quality of education offered at the College. Through his professional relationship, he has become an avid supporter of Mount Union. Bordner is a former member of the Bucyrus Hospital Board of Trustees and

Bucyrus Area Community Foundation. He currently serves on the Board at First Citizens Bancorp and The Farmers State Bank. He has also served on the Capital University Association and Capital Alumni Board.

Bordner and his wife Carolyn are members of St. John's Lutheran Church in New Washington. They have five children and nine grandchildren.

Robert Plajer, a 1944 graduate of Alliance High School, served as a photographer in the army with 5610 ASU Fitzsimons General Hospital in Denver. In 1948, he entered the photography business, forming a partnership with Ed Cross to open the Plajer and Cross Studio.

In 1989, Plajer semi-retired and worked part-time with the new owner of the studio, Fred Cockrill. He officially retired in August of 1998. In the past 50 years, Plajer had covered nearly every event on campus. He worked with several Mount Union presidents, from President Ketcham through President Kolenbrander.

Married for nearly 45 years to Barbara (Freeman), Plajer has three children, Peter, who lives in Kentucky; Robert, who lives in Atwater; and Amy Carver of Minerva; and five grandchildren, Samantha, Emily, Nickolas, Marrissa and Maisie. Plajer and his wife are members of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Plajer has seen many changes on the campus over the years. He remembers the Morgan Gymnasium and White Hollow. He says that after spending many years at Mount Union functions, he "feels like an alum of the College."

Robert H. Spitzer became aware of Mount Union College after meeting and marrying Elizabeth A. (Koch '58) Spitzer. He and Elizabeth were colleagues, research collaborators and professors in the department of biology at Finch University of Health Sciences/The Chicago Medical School.

Born in Chicago, Spitzer received his bachelor's degree from Valparaiso University, his Ph.D. from Loyola University and graduated from Stritch School of Medicine. Elizabeth graduated summa cum laude from Mount Union and earned her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. With Spitzer's background in chemistry and biochemistry and his wife's background in developmental genetics, together they studied a wide range of topics, receiving support from governmental agencies and private foundations. They authored or co-authored over 100 refereed papers, chapters and abstracts.

Elizabeth's role as course director and principal lecturer in human genetics focused their attention on individuals living with developmental disabilities and mental retardation. They became supporters of the Luther Home of Mercy (Williston, Ohio) and the Lamb's Farm (Libertyville, IL). Following the loss of Elizabeth in 1998, Spitzer has continued those interests.

Spitzer says that he is "excited" about the emerging events of higher education at the home of the Purple Raiders.

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