Bob Spiegel

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Originally submitted by Max Chorpash on October 20th, Drake University

Early Life

Early on, Bob Spiegel's parents knew that he, Bob, would be the first college graduate on either his mother's or father's side. It was just a matter of where Spiegel was going to attend college. He looked at three schools, Iowa State Teacher's College, the University of Iowa, and Drake University. Being an aspiring journalism student, Drake had the best journalism school to offer Spiegel. Despite Drake having the highest tuition rates of the schools he was looking at, he decided that Drake and its journalism school was too good to pass up. In his sophomore year, the early of World War II were unfolding, and he was worried that many of the students, including himself were going to be pulled into the war. That seemed to be the talk on the campus in 1939 and because of these talks Spiegel decided to take as many classes as he could to get a degree faster. In the fall semester, Bob Spiegel took 19 credit hours and 20 credit hours in the spring semester. In addition to all these classes, Spiegel was working at the Des Moines Register and the News Bureau to help his journalism career. With American intervention in the war nearing, he didn't want to drop classes, and his grades were beginning to slip from what they normally were. After his junior year at Drake, Spiegel was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Also, he was elected student body president during his senior year and was a member of the basketball team. Originally in Spiegel's class there were 232 students. That shrunk down to 180 students, and Bob Spiegel was one of them as he graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science. Spiegel did serve in World War II like he thought he would. He was a part of the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps, where he learned to decode Japanese top secret messages. In the war, he met his wife-to-be, Dorothy Kerr, who worked as a WAVE in the U.S Army.


Working After The War

When Spiegel was done with his service in the war, he returned to Des Moines to continue his work on the newspaper, the Des Moines Tribune, where he had worked part-time as a Drake student. He soon got his first full-time job as a reporter at the Des Moines Tribune and never looked back. He wrote many stories in the 1950's about segregation in Des Moines. One of his pieces in 1956 received the Sidney Hillman Foundation Award, which honors excellence in journalism in the service of the common good. In 1961, he moved to the the Mason City Globe-Gazette. There, he became the editor of the paper which was a step up from the Des Moines Tribune where he was solely a reporter. In 1974, he moved to Madison, Wisconsin where he became the editor of the Wisconsin State Journal. He worked with leaders from the University of Wisconsin Madison, and was one of the main people in the birth of University Research Park.


Spiegel Coming Back To Drake

The Drake Relays were always a huge part to every Drake student's life. It didn't matter to Bob Spiegel that he wasn't attending the school anymore, he still loved coming to the Drake Relays every year, and reporting on the events he saw. He attended 64 consecutive Relays, but was unable to attend the 65th because of a bad hip. On all the relays Bob Spiegel attended, he wrote a book called "Centennial Drake Relays." This book came out during the the 100th running of the relays but he was unable to experience the 100th running of the relays like he wanted to. On March 18, 2009 Robert (Bob) Spiegel passed away but made a huge difference on the Drake community as a reporter, editor and a leader.