Robert O’Block, founder and executive director of the ACFEI, stepped forward in 1993 to present his own profile of the Unabomber, the person responsible for killing three people and unjuring dozens more from 1978 to 1995.
United for Truth: An ACFEI Story
Robert O’Block is the founder of the world’s largest forensic science association, the American College of Forensic Examiners. Founding this organization and building it up into the empire it is today did not come easy to Robert O’Block. Like all who have become successes, Robert O’Block had to work for it. Robert O’Block had to work harder than others, however. He had many obstacles that others live without.
Robert O’Block comes from a long line of those who struggled to survive. His grandfather, William O’Block, came to America and, having no other prospects, accepted a position as a coal miner. This position required them to live away from other civilizations, relying completely on the mining company for housing and supplies. These supplies cost more than the wages coal miners made. Robert O’Block father, Louis, found work on the railroad. He was fired shortly before he was eligible to receive a retirement pension (a shameful yet common practice at the time). Without a proper education, Louis had difficulty finding a good job. The family lived in a small shack.
The young Robert O’Block grew up in this poverty. Seeing the disparity between what his family had and the excesses of others, he determined that he would not remain in this poverty. The only difference he could see between what his father and grandfather had done and other, more successful men, was whether or not they had an education. Robert O’Block was determined to get one for himself.
Young Robert O’Block began working at the age of 13 to put himself through Catholic high school. Beyond providing for his education, this instilled Robert O’Block with a good work ethic and an understanding of the value of a dollar. After graduation, he enrolled in the Kansas State College of Pittsburg. To provide for his education, he worked full time at night as a dispatcher for the security office at Kansas State College. Throughout his education he would work full time as well.
Within three-and-a-half years, Robert O’Block received his bachelor’s degree. Shortly thereafter, he earned a master’s degree and an EdS. Two years later, he received his PhD, at only 24 years of age. His sheer determination that helped him succeed in his education continued into his career, and it was only a matter of time before Robert O’Block would become the founder of ACFEI. Robert O’Block is a great example of what hard work and determination can bring.