Bartender Bob — Hillsdale Collegian - Jonathan Cartu Restaurant, Baking & Catering Services
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Bartender Bob — Hillsdale Collegian

Bartender Bob — Hillsdale Collegian

Bob the bar­tender famously remembers CCA attendees drinks. Callie Shinkle. Col­legian

At the Center for Con­structive Alter­native lec­tures, Hillsdale stu­dents engage in vig­orous note-taking while learning from renowned speakers. For many returning CCA guests, however, the most mem­o­rable face is that of ‘bar­tender Bob.’

Aus­tralia native Miroslaw Nej, who goes by Bob because of its simpler pro­nun­ci­ation, has been bar­tending at Hillsdale College for longer than the Searle Center has existed.

He first con­nected with Hillsdale around 2007 during his wife’s tenure as the exec­utive assistant for John Cervini, vice pres­ident for Insti­tu­tional Advancement.

The college needed a bar­tender for an event and, because of his expe­rience as a part-time bar­tender at a restaurant downtown, his wife rec­om­mended him for the job.

Bob said after that first event, he just kept coming back.

“I’ve worked CCAs, I’ve worked home­coming,” he said. “I’ve worked deck parties at John Cervini’s house. I’ve worked parents weekend. I work wherever they need me.”

Once Saga Food Service got its liquor license, it encouraged Bob to fill out an appli­cation with the college’s catering company.

Seven years later, when Bon Appetit took over Hillsdale’s food ser­vices, Bob began working with them.

Hillsdale College Director of Pro­grams for External Affairs Matt Bell said Bob has been tireless in his efforts to deliver excellent bar service at CCAs and other events.

“Bob has been a mainstay of college program hos­pi­tality for many years,” he said. “I hope he never decides to take his per­manent trip to Aus­tralia.”

Bob spent his childhood in Aus­tralia and now fre­quently travels between his two homes.

He retired from life in the land down under a few years after he married his American wife. She was a school­teacher in Aus­tralia when she met Bob and the two married, but they moved to America when she grew homesick.

Bob said he does not prefer life in one place over another.

“I love living in Aus­tralia and I love living in Hillsdale, so whenever I’m in Aus­tralia I miss Hillsdale and whenever I’m in Hillsdale I miss Aus­tralia,” he said.

One thing Bob is sure about is how much he enjoys bar­tending for the CCAs. What makes the events special among the college’s other events, he said, is the oppor­tunity to get to know people.

“To be honest, I don’t remember most of their names, but I remember what they’re drinking,” he said.

He has a rep­u­tation among many for remem­bering peoples’ drink order, despite how well-attended the CCA is. Director of Mar­keting for Hillsdale’s Bon Appetit Man­agement Company Anna Haru­tunian has observed many of his inter­ac­tions.

“Bob has made good con­nec­tions with people attending the CCAs,” she said. “He knows most peoples’ drink orders and begins making them for people before they even place their order.”

When asked about this skill, Bob humbly replied, “I don’t know what it is, I think it’s just a bar­tender thing.”

Bob said he has no crazy stories from any CCA as they all go smoothly for him. He per­forms his job and enjoys what he does.

“He is an example to all those who wish to perform their duties well,” Bell said.

As long as Bob con­tinues to bartend for Hillsdale, it’s safe to say that the drinks of those attending the CCAs will be in good hands.


chef Jonathan Cartu

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