Happy Reunion: William “Bill” Stinson Jr. and Michael L. “Mike” Wagner

December 18, 2012

William “Bill” Stinson Jr. and Michael L. “Mike” Wagner

It was the late 1950s when William “Bill” Stinson Jr. and Michael L. “Mike” Wagner began their journey as Ohio State students. Bill followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming a Buckeye and carrying on the family’s passion for higher education and Buckeye football. Mike was the first person in his family to go to college. Although they came from different backgrounds, their Ohio State education and experience led them to a lifetime of successes.

They met as members of Alpha Gamma Rho, an agricultural fraternity on campus. Bill recalls being an active member when Mike pledged to join. They quickly became good friends and were housemates for a short time. Bill graduated from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree, after which he spent a year in the military before returning to campus to earn a master’s degree in horticulture in 1964 and a doctorate in 1966. Mike graduated from CFAES with a bachelor’s degree in 1963.

Bill specialized in food technology and worked with General Foods, Frank Foods, Campbell’s Soup, and, most recently, Hershey’s Foods. He then spent a decade as research director of the Florida Department of Citrus for a little more than a decade. Mike spent 20 years with the Ohio Farmers Bureau and then joined the Ohio Corn Growers as chief executive officer. They credit Ohio State with laying a strong groundwork for all they have accomplished.

Both fraternity brothers married, had children, and embarked on successful careers, yet they lost touch over the years. Last summer, by chance, they signed up for a President’s Club outing at Stone Laboratory on Lake Erie—and their paths crossed once again. They were pleased to be able to reconnect and to renew their friendship.

Besides their choice of college and professional path, they agree that supporting their alma mater is important. Bill, who now divides his time between Lakeland, Florida, and Urbana, Ohio, has established a fund to support scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Food Science and Technology. Mike lives in Marion, Ohio, and also provides scholarship support through the President’s Club.

“There is pride in being recognized by the President’s Club and knowing the dollars given will be used in the right ways to help Ohio State grow,” Mike said. “Like Carmen Ohio, time and change will surely show how firm thy friendship. But for Ohio State, I wouldn’t be as rich as I am with my wonderful family and my friendships that I developed during my years as a college student. To see a friend you haven’t seen in years is really rewarding.”

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