David White - Columbus State Community College 50th Anniversary

David White got his second shot at Columbus State, and he's still going.

White started at The Ohio State University straight out of high school but dropped out after a year. He wasn't ready for the social scene and his major, Electrical Engineering, wasn't for him. So he got a job at the Ohio Treasury Department.

Four years later, he had a solid job and a BMW, but his friends were getting their bachelor's degrees and better jobs. He traded in the BMW for a Volkswagen and enrolled at Columbus State.

"I just looked at myself in the mirror and said, 'I gotta go back to school,'" White says.

"It was absolutely the right place to go for a second shot,"

He attacked his studies with newfound commitment and maturity. He took a full load of classes while working full-time, and scheduled classes on the weekends (during prime partying times). He finished an associate degree in Business Management in 1991, then transferred to Franklin University to achieve a bachelor's degree two years later.

"I made it through Columbus State on my Discover card," White says. "I would charge my quarterly fees, then pay them off during the quarter."

With his new education, he moved up the ranks at Treasury. He started out as a cashier, but during an administrative shake-up he got the opportunity to become a supervisor. He took on project management roles, and was later promoted to Director of Revenue Management, managing collection of more than $13 billion in state tax revenue.

"I went from supervising four people to 80," White says.

Although his Columbus State training was in Business Management, his Franklin degree was in Computer Science. This combination of skills paid off as he was tapped to implement new electronic payment and accounting for the Treasury Department, then to design a larger system for the state for the Office of Budget and Management.

White worked as an IT consultant for several years, running high-profile projects for Detroit Public Schools, Howard University and Battelle, a global research institute based in Columbus. Then, in 2012, he became Battelle's chief information officer. Now, he leads IT for the research giant – an organization with heavy computing needs and tight security requirements.

Although White's success is exceptional, his story is common: Columbus State is where lots of students start when they're ready for college.

"It was absolutely the right place to go for a second shot," White says.

Images: A Year in the Life of Columbus State