Title: Vice Chancellor (Retired)
Company: University of Massachusetts Boston
Location: Larkspur, California, United States
Robert H. Spaethling, PhD, Retired Vice Chancellor at the University of Massachusetts Boston, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in German language and higher education.
A native of Weißenstadt, Germany, Dr. Spaethling was drafted into the German military at the age of 16. Deciding against living in Germany, he traveled to the United States and served in the United States Army from 1953 to 1955. During this time, he attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in 1953 and 1957, respectively. Soon thereafter, he earned a Doctor of Philosophy from the university in 1959. His first teaching post was as an instructor and assistant professor at Harvard University, positions he held from 1959 to 1965. Ascending the ranks to associate professor until 1968, he transferred to Williams College, where he served in the same capacity from 1965 to 1966.
From 1968 to 1969, Dr. Spaethling was a professor of German language at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where he would spend the remainder of his career. After serving a brief stint at the University of California, San Diego, as a professor of the German language from 1969 to 1971, he returned to Massachusetts as a provost and vice chancellor from 1974 to 1975 and dean of graduate studies from 1976 to 1978. After more than a decade, he returned to his post as vice chancellor in 1989, holding the role for one year before retiring from the industry in 1990.
Dr. Spaethling has contributed myriad articles to professional journals throughout his tenure and most recently authored “Mozart’s Letters, Mozart’s Life” in 2000. Earlier in his career, he wrote “Mozart and Goethe” in 1987. A member of the Modern Language Association and the Mozart Society of America, he has been honored several times for his contributions to the industry. He was a fellow and grantee of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Harvard University presented him with an honorary master’s degree in 1966. However, he cites the highlight of his career to be when he served as vice chancellor and dean of the University of Massachusetts Boston, as he was afforded opportunities to contribute to the student body and his community.
Married to Ellen Louise Sonnenberg since 1953, Dr. Spaethling is the proud father of three children and grandfather of six grandchildren. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and swimming.
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