Clinton E. Tatsch  - Columbus State Community College 50th Anniversary

But for a case of what was probably the flu back in 1938, Clinton E. Tatsch would likely have been a doctor instead of the executive director of the Columbus Area Technician School, founded in 1963 in the rented basement classrooms of Central High School.

Tatsch had finished pre-med studies at Marion College, Ind., and started in Ohio State Medical School. Then he was struck down by illness, and even when he re-entered the next year, "I was unable both physically and mentally to cut it."

So he went back to Marion to finish his Bachelor of Arts curriculum.

Married by then and father of a son—the first of two—Tatsch went to work with the Kilbourne and Jacobs Manufacturing Co. in Columbus, maker of plows, wheelbarrows and similar hardware. He later recalled, "Of 200 men in the yard hoping for work, I was the only one who raised his hand when a foreman said 'there are no jobs for anyone unless he has a college degree.'"

Tatsch said that he didn't mind sweeping floors the next day. But that didn't last long and he speedily rose to a top administrative post. Tatsch soon realized that the venerable company's days were numbered and quit before it went out of business. He worked at various industries for 18 years before finally entering the field of education. His only public school teaching was one year at Olentangy High School in Delaware County.

In January, 1963, he came to the Columbus City School system and only three months later, at age 49, was tapped to take over the new technical school with 67 students enrolled.

Two short years later, the technical school was moved to its current location on Spring Street, taking over the old Aquinas College High School property. The Ohio Board of Regents approved a new charter for the school and renamed it Columbus Technical Institute, moving Tatsch from director to president of the new institute. With a record autumn quarter enrollment of 2,098 in 1972, Tatsch took the opportunity to note that CTI now had more than 1,000 alumni. He boldly predicted that ten years from now the campus would consist of 22 buildings on 35 acres.

On July 19, 1973, President Tatsch presided over the groundbreaking for the new health and academic building—Phase III of the school's ongoing construction plan. This turned out to be his last official act; on the same day, he announced he was leaving. He had served more than 10 years from May 1963 to August 1973.

Tatsch subsequently moved to Hartford, Conn., where he continued his career in education as director of the Connecticut State Technical System. On February 9, 2005, the man who had been so instrumental in the founding of the institution passed away in Shell Point Village, Fla., at the age of 90.

Images: A Year in the Life of Columbus State