Dr. Kenneth H. Spitzer '55 was presented with the Hobart and William Smith Community Service Award on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011. An ophthalmologist, Spitzer has traveled at his own expense to underdeveloped countries to teach fellow doctors how to perform laser surgery on eyes.
He and his wife, Lois, spent December 1992 in India, where Spitzer was a volunteer teacher of phacoemulsification cataract surgery at the Christian Medical College and Hospital in Vellore. He and other U.S. eye doctors have taught techniques to Indian medical colleagues, going so far as to donate equipment to upgrade their operating rooms. In more sparse conditions in Africa, Spitzer has performed cataract surgery under trees.
A loyal alumnus, Spitzer is one of three brothers from Skaneateles who became doctors after attending Hobart College. He has headed the Distinguished Professor Committee for the Hobart Alumni Association, and is a member of the Statesmen Athletic Association. While a student, he was a Druid, class vice president, and inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.
He went on to receive his Doctor of Medicine at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons where he also met his wife and lifelong companion Lois. He became a clinical professor of ophthalmology as well as the admission committee chair at Upstate Medical Center located in Syracuse, N.Y. He also served as president of Eye Bank of Central New York, set up a children's clinic in Cazenovia, N.Y., and continues to offer support to refugee families through Interfaith Works Agency. He is active in his church and volunteered for youth activities when his four girls were younger. Spitzer lives in Fayetteville with his wife.