Distinguished Alumni Awards
John R. Endwright Alumni Service Award
Robert Synovitz - 2003
Bob Synovitz began his teaching career in general science and physical education at Webster Groves School System in Webster Groves, Missouri. After completing the H.S.D. degree at Indiana University, he accepted a position as assistant professor of health and physical education at Eastern Kentucky University, followed by an assistant professor position in the department of physiology and health science at Ball State University.
It was during his time at Ball State that he renewed a friendship with fellow faculty member, Warren Shaller. Together, Synovitz and Shaller, along with colleague William Bock, co-founded Eta Sigma Gamma, a national health honorary society. Currently there are more than 100 chapters of Eta Sigma Gamma at universities throughout the United States.
In 1968, Bob moved to Macomb, Illinois where he became professor and chairperson of the department of health sciences at Western Illinois University. During his 21 years there, he built programs in school and community health, eventually earning recognition as one of the finest programs in the nation.
Following his retirement from Western Illinois University in 1989, Bob moved to Kent, Ohio where he worked as a project coordinator for an AIDS/HIV infection education research grant for the ASHA. Upon completion of the grant, he became director of membership services, and later, conference coordinator. In 1992, Bob returned to Illinois, still working for the ASHA as conference coordinator. While there, he accepted the responsibility of regional coordinator for the Illinois Post Secondary HIV/AIDS Prevention Project and became external coordinator for the Illinois School Content Standards Project for the Illinois State Board of Education. After moving to Louisiana in 1996, Bob continued as conference coordinator for the ASHA until 2001 when he fully retired from professional responsibilities.
Bob has been active in numerous organizations, but devoted most of his time to the American School Health Association (ASHA), Eta Sigma Gamma and the Illinois School Health Association. He has held various offices in each of these organizations, eventually serving as the national president of the ASHA. He remains a life member of Eta Sigma Gamma.