FAIRBORN – Robert Zellmer, Ph.D, graduated as Fairborn High School’s salutatorian in 1973, and has recently been named the Ohio State University’s professor of the year.
His mother, Rose Zellmer, is still a local to Fairborn. She is very proud of her son, and describes him as dedicated, as well as a good son, brother and father.
“I feel great,” she said. “I feel wonderful – Bob is a very modest person.”
According to Rose Zellmer, Fairborn’s former superintendent Bill Eagle suggested that he advance a few grade levels. However, she felt that it was important for him to succeed socially, in addition to academically, and advancing him may put him at risk for connecting with friends. As an alternative, Robert Zellmer was asked to tutor other students.
She said, “he has been teaching ever since.”
He went on to attend Wright State University on a four-year scholarship. Upon graduating, he attended the Ohio State University, where he earned his masters and doctorate in Theoretical Chemistry. He has been at Ohio State ever since.
“Considering how many professors there are there, it’s strange to have a chemistry professor be a favorite,” Rose Zellmer said. “But there are times – 3 and 4 o’clock in the morning he’s answering the students emails. I say to him, ‘Bob, they don’t pay you to do that.’ He’ll say, ‘I don’t care whether or not they pay me – they want to know these answers.’”
He has three daughters and two grandchildren, and currently lives in Dublin, Ohio. He enjoys gardening and keeping up with sports in his spare time.
“I’m so very proud of him because I know he’s been so dedicated and conscientious of whatever he does,” she said. “I’m glad the students have the benefit of him being the teacher for them.”
Whitney Vickers can be reached by calling her directly at 937-502-4532, or by following her on Twitter by searching for @wnvickers. For more content online, visit our website or like our Facebook page.