Giving Back to the Future

Stella Hetzer ’59 Donates to Make a Difference in Students’ Lives 

By Christian Taske ’07

Stella Corbett Hetzer ’59 and her husband John hold a special place in their hearts for Notre Dame College. After all, the College played an important role in bringing the couple of 49 years together. Stella and John had their first date at the 1963 Notre Dame Alumnae Association Scholarship Ball. They immediately hit it off and were married just 13 months later.

Ever since, the Hetzers have been extraordinary supporters of Notre Dame College. They were instrumental in helping renew Christ the King Chapel, the spiritual heart of the campus, in 2008. Thanks to their generous donation, the College was able build a new altar and ambo from the chapel’s old communion railing.

In 1999, the couple also established the Edward J. and Stella Gunn Corbett Award in honor of Stella’s parents. This scholarship is awarded annually to a junior or senior who requires financial assistance to continue his or her education.

“Stella and John Hetzer represent everything good about Notre Dame. They are responsible, generous and humble. They are good people who live the College's mission, and the College is deeply grateful for their support,” President Andrew P. Roth said when the couple received the Fidelia Award, one of Notre Dame’s highest honors, in 2010.

Stella began that service after graduating with a bachelor’s in business administration in 1959. She got involved with the Alumnae Association as it was raising funds for the construction of the Administration Building’s west wing in 1961. In those days both Stella and John participated in alumnae phonathons because they felt the personal touch was very important to raise money.

At the time they didn’t have much money themselves. After their three children were born, Stella and John decided to start their own company, Fluid Line Products, which designs and manufactures fluid power components in Willoughby, Ohio. In the early stages of their new business venture the Hetzers were living on $25 a week.

But soon their business began to take off. As secretary and treasurer, Stella was in charge of the books. To this day she is doing the company’s payroll every single Monday.

Stella credits Notre Dame for much of her success.

“Without Notre Dame College, I wouldn’t be here today. My degree from Notre Dame is the best I have. I feel like I blazed a trail for the girls who are in business today,” Stella said. “It’s a sacrifice to find the money to send your children, but there’s nothing quite like a Catholic education.”

It’s that belief in the values and excellence of a Notre Dame education that motivates Stella to give back to NDC in both talent and treasure.

“We give because of the rewarding experiences I had as a Notre Dame student,” Stella said. “The many friends I made, the beauty of the campus, and the quality of the education itself are dear to me. If it hadn’t been for someone else giving, I wouldn’t have been able to attend Notre Dame College.”

If you are interested in establishing a scholarship, please contact the Notre Dame College Development Office at 216.373.5234 or

This is one profile from an ongoing series of 90 stories highlighting individuals who have shaped Notre Dame and/or live the College’s mission of personal, professional and global responsibility. To read more profiles, visit

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