Friday, August 30, 2013--5:20p.m.
MADISON--Bob Fuller's story isn't all that uncommon these days: "I worked for 27 years for Bancroft Dairy down there on Park Street and then in 2004 they closed down," he said.
Fuller had the idea that he'd like to get into small engine repair and was thinking about heading back to school. "Something I could do possibly on my own and be my own boss," he said. "Because at 51 years old I wasn't ready to have anybody boss me around anymore."
Enter Al Studesville, a longtime Madison College counselor. "I talked to him and he kind of got me going on the right path, told me what I needed to do in order to get into the program here and everything," said Fuller. "Well I got into the program and since then I have my own business now."
Fuller said he didn't know Studesville particularly well, but said he played a crucial role in helping him realize his dream. Unfortunately, Al and his wife, Jan, were killed in a Texas motorcycle accident earlier this summer.
Fuller would now like to see the Truax Gateway building renamed the Studesville Gateway, because he said Studesville helped students realize their dreams.
He and a small group of others has started a petition--on paper and online--to try and make that happen. "We were just doing it from our hearts," he said. "And we understand that you can buy, you know, and get naming rights, but you know we don't have the money or the means to raise the money for it."
College officials have been very open about how much Studesville is missed, but Fuller's request could put the school in a tough spot. "Unfortunately, since June we have had other employees that have passed away and so you know what do we do with their families? What do we do with that balance and their influence on our college and the success of our students?" said Keith Cornille, a vice president of student development at the college.
Cornille said the college is hoping to work with Studesville's family to come up with an appropriate way to honor his legacy.
But Fuller's pretty clear on what he wants the result to be: "We want the Gateway because like I said before Al was the gateway to the future for many people," he said.
Fuller said they're hoping to present the petition in October. You can find the online version here: http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/studesvillegateway