Robert Zhun ’71 has traveled down a long and winding road throughout his career. After earning his undergraduate degree in communications from Ohio University, he worked as a realtor; an advertising director for a newspaper in Athens, Ohio; and as a bartender with classmate Jim Brennan ’71.
“That was a great time,” Bob recalls. He even was a chef at a restaurant while he was earning chemistry credits to qualify for nursing school, which he did, graduating from The Ohio State University.
For more than 20 years, Bob was a registered nurse at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, where he was responsible for the physical and psychological care of surgical patients. He assisted the anesthesia team preparing the patient for surgery, served as scrub nurse and assistant to the surgeon when necessary, and transitioned patients from the operating room to the post-anesthesia care unit.
Not knowing a soul in town, Bob joined the Sarasota International Cricket Club to meet people and get exercise. He had played softball and figured that since both sports involved a bat and ball he could transfer his skills from one to the other. “The two games are vastly different with a few minor similarities,” he points out. The cricket club opened up new vistas for the Gilmour graduate. He has traveled to England and Scotland and played cricket in the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, and throughout the United States. He even sipped cocktails on the royal yacht “HMY Britannia” and was a guest of the British embassy in Mexico City. When he is not out cricketing, Bob plays blues harmonica with other musicians and racquetball.
In speaking of his Gilmour classmates, Bob says he regards them more like a fraternity. “In my days at Gilmour, the intimate size of my class – all classes in fact – bred lasting friendships. We all shared many triumphs and rites of passage,” Bob says, admitting to many “Big Chill” style weekends in Northern Michigan thanks to the generosity of Pat Trahan’s ’71 family. “First it was boys, then men, then men with girlfriends, then men with wives and babies – a complete continuum of life and friendship, the seed sown on the soil of Gilmour Academy,” he says.
Although he retired in January 2007, Bob works for an eye surgeon one day a week at the hospital. For 20 years, he has volunteered at the Senior Friendship Center founded by Brother William Geenen, C.S.C., one-time Admissions Director at Gilmour. He is a regular blood donor at his hospital and is active in its corporate volunteer program.
In reminiscing about his years at Gilmour, Bob recalls taking a class with Brother Ivo Regan, C.S.C. “One almost felt to be in the presence of Shakespeare himself,” he notes. He believes that the lessons learned while mastering written communication and public speaking have served him well in his academic career and everyday life. Bob followed his three brothers – Peter ’66, Paul ’69, and Bill ’70 at the Academy. “Gilmour was an extension of the Catholic environment and values my parents lived by and taught us at home,” he says. “Together they set a moral compass by which to live, love, and grow. It guides us and allows us to recognize and do the right thing. It instills compassion for the less fortunate, and an appreciation for the blessings of abundance and family.”