William E. Stetler - Columbus State Community College 50th Anniversary

Columbus State Community College has been instrumental in the career of William E. Stetler - both of them.

Stetler was part of Columbus State's first class in 1963, at its predecessor the Columbus Area Technician School. He graduated in 1965 with a degree in mechanical engineering technology. This led to a job in 1966 at Battelle Memorial Institute, the renowned Columbus-based research organization, as a technician in the Applied Physics Department, and later in the Metal Working Department.

Stetler joined the Upper Arlington Fire Department in 1972, though he continued to work at Battelle on his days off for a year. Ten years later, in 1982, he returned to campus and entered the fire prevention program, graduating in 1985.

"In my opinion, the way our society is going, community colleges answer the issue of where we will get the technically capable people our country needs."

Not only did this increase his pay with the city, but it prepared him for a position in the department's fire prevention division.

In the meantime, Stetler purchased a Donatos Pizza franchise in Marion and, somewhat by accident, a venture into the construction field. He had prepped an old restaurant to be his Donatos restaurant, but when the construction company failed to show up, he began the construction on his own.

"The clock was running and the cash register wasn't ringing, so I jumped in and started the construction phase," says Stetler. "After that, I began building all the restaurants. It helped keep the costs down dramatically."

He is now a partner in the Roseler Corporation, which operates Donatos restaurants in Marion, Mansfield, Mt. Vernon and Wooster.

Stetler is now retired and spends part of his year in Florida. He believes that two-year schools like Columbus State will play a big role in the future of our country.

"In my opinion, the way our society is going, community colleges answer the issue of where we will get the technically capable people our country needs," Stetler says. "That is where we are going to get workers who should be able to walk into a job with the ability to do it. It's a relatively inexpensive way to get a quality education."

Images: A Year in the Life of Columbus State