Dr. Spinner photo courtesy of Touro University
Dr. Arnold Spinner '57 Makes Planned Gift to Acknowledge SUNY Brockport
For most of his life, Dr. Arnold Spinner '57 has served as an educator, serving primarily in high schools, and on college campuses. He appreciates his many varied experiences and says he owes them all to SUNY Brockport.
A native of Brooklyn, Dr. Spinner attended school there and enrolled in Brooklyn University for his first year of college. Wanting to expand his horizons, he came to Brockport at the beginning of his sophomore year. He majored in English with Teacher Certification and lived at Rutland House in the village.
"I was the cook for myself and the 19 other guys who lived there. We had a lot of spaghetti and meatballs, a lot of pasta. Anything that was cheap, actually. My roommate, Frank (Pinkie) Marino, did the dishes and handled clean-up," said Spinner.
"I loved Brockport. The other students were kind, and the faculty always had time for us. Attending Brockport was a marvelous experience. It made me what I am today. I can never repay Brockport for what it gave me."
In the summers, Spinner worked as a merchant seaman on passenger and cargo ships, "That's how I paid my way at Brockport," he explained. "I went all over Central and South America. We hauled oil and iron ore from Venezuela to the United States. For passenger lines, I traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, to other destinations along the Atlantic coast, and from Buenos Aires to Barbados." Spinner said he loved to travel and learn about different cultures.
After graduating from Brockport, Dr. Spinner went into the U.S. Army, and following his active duty, he returned to New York City where he taught high school English in the city and in the Brentwood and Bellport communities. He then worked for the U.S. Navy in Rota, Spain, for three years teaching English, and he spent a year as an Organization of American States Fellow at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
He returned to New York and entered graduate school at New York University, where he stayed for 45 years. He earned his master's and doctoral degrees at NYU. He had faculty rank and tenure in both the Communication and Educational Administration Departments, serving as associate dean for research and director of the Center for Graphic Communication. He also had assignments as interim chair of the Division of Health and director of the Higher Education Opportunities Program, all in NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. He retired in the early years of this century to care for his ailing wife.
Although Dr. Spinner says he enjoyed teaching more than anything else he did, he spent most of his career in administration. In 1969, he and a colleague Herbert London published a book titled Education in the 21st Century that looked at what lay ahead for the profession. He also served as a consultant for several large agencies and corporations, including Xerox, the U.S. Department of Labor, Agfa, and Cunningham Graphics International.
In 2011, after his wife had passed away, Dr. Spinner was invited to join the faculty at the Touro College Graduate School of Education in New York City. He was associate dean, then dean of the Graduate School of Education.
At Touro, Dr. Spinner earned praise for reinforcing the college's mission of preparing graduate degree candidates to become highly effective teachers, counselors, and school leaders for elementary and high school students. The Graduate School of Education praised him for ensuring the school was well-positioned for continued success when he retired in spring 2018, noting that the school would miss his energy, ethics, and personality.
Although Dr. Spinner, also an active runner who has competed in several marathons, has said he can never repay Brockport for starting him on his way to a fulfilling career, he has attempted to do so with a planned gift. "I am happy that I have made arrangements for Brockport in my will. It was easy to do, and I completed the paperwork for the school. I am giving Brockport the opportunity to use the funds where they are most needed with no strings. That is the best kind of gift, and it is the best way I can attempt to repay what I received."