When William “Bill” Knutz crosses the stage at Centralia College’s commencement ceremony June 17, he will earn an associate degree focused in business. The degree is a long time coming for Bill, a disabled combat Marine who fought in the Persian Gulf War and was stationed in New York City during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Bill made his way to Centralia College after his successful moving company collapsed during the recession. A company that took 20 years to build was suddenly gone and Bill needed to forge ahead with a new future. This is where the tenacity and dedication he cultivated as a Marine paid off.
“I came to Centralia College to better myself and move forward in life,” Bill explained. “I’m very focused and driven. I treat school like a job. It’s part of having an entrepreneurial spirit.”
Bill is transferring to The Evergreen State College this fall, and will focus his education on human resources. His ultimate goal is to own his own business again. With his previous experience and a patent pending on a reusable packing container he invented, his future looks promising.
“I’m so proud of how far Bill has come and how much he’s overcome to get here,” said Tonie, Bill’s wife of 26 years. “He’s worked so hard.”
Bill credits some of his success to getting involved on campus. He is a member of the TRiO Program, which provides support services for first generation, disabled, and low income students. He also utilized the support provided through the Veterans Center at the college.
“There are too many people to thank individually,” Bill said. “From counselors to instructors to support staff, they’ve made my time at Centralia College very successful. I can’t thank them enough.”