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Memorial Plaque Dedicated in Honor of Fallen FBI Officer

Members of Theta Chi fraternity and friends recently honored the late Gregory W. Spinelli with a ceremony to dedicate a remembrance portrait permanently mounted in Wilson Hall, home of the IUP Criminology Department.

After his 1970 graduation from IUP with a degree in Biology, Gregory Spinelli worked for two years as a physical science technician in an FBI laboratory. In 1972, he became a special agent with the FBI field office in Charlotte and was killed during a bank robbery in March 1973.

Since 1974, the Criminology Department has presented the Spinelli Scholarship annually to a graduating senior in the department who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement. The portrait, created by Robert Clarke, a Theta Chi member and 1969 graduate of IUP, is the third of its kind on the campus.

In April 2012, a group of Theta Chi brothers, led by Carl Amenhauser of Pittsburgh, a 1967 IUP graduate, commissioned Clarke to create portraits honoring two IUP alumni killed in action in Vietnam: James K. Flannery, a Pittsburgh native and graduate of Brentwood High School, and Robert Young of Saltsburg, whose widow and daughter still live there.

The Spinelli dedication ceremony included remarks by his older brother, George Spinelli, a 1968 IUP graduate and retired FBI special agent; his widow, Tina McElhatton; and three of his high school classmates, David Zacur, a 1974 IUP graduate and retired FBI special agent who serves as director of the IUP Criminal Justice Training Center; Joseph Marcoline of Indiana, a 1970 IUP graduate and IUP professional studies in education faculty member; and state Senator Don White, R-Indiana.

When possible, Spinelli’s mother, Ruth Spinelli, of Indiana, has attended commencement ceremonies to present the award. She was honored in 2007 with a special reception including all past Spinelli Scholarship recipients. Ruth, a 1962 IUP graduate, died in 2011.

George Spinelli and Tina McElhatton
Photo: George Spinelli and Tina McElhatton, brother and widow of the late Greg Spinelli, a 1970 IUP graduate and FBI special agent killed in the line of duty in 1973, took part in a recent ceremony dedicating a portrait in Greg Spinelli’s honor.

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