“There’s an old saying: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,’” says Dr. David H. Sturtz, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and St. Clair County Community College alumnus. “My mother was an avid reader and believer in higher education, though neither of my parents attended college. St. Clair County Community College was there for me. It’s where I got my start.”
Dr. Sturtz’s love and admiration for his parents, appreciation of his community college, and passion for improving the health and wellness of his patients inspired him to establish the David and Anne Sturtz Endowed Scholarship in memory of his parents to support SC4 students pursuing health care and STEM programs. The scholarship will help new generations of SC4 students positively impact quality of life in the Blue Water Area and far beyond for years to come.
Dr. Sturtz grew up in Lexington, Mich. Upon graduation from high school, he enlisted in the United States Navy as a way to serve his country, see the world and secure a more stable path to a college education. The Vietnam War veteran chose SC4 at the end of his term to save money and get basic credits out of the way. According to Dr. Sturtz, SC4 advisors and faculty members provided immediate and lasting support and assistance.
“Our ship got in about two weeks into the start of the semester,” he says. “SC4 agreed to accept me late. Advisors like Paul Geer and professors such as Chris Russell took a chance on me and gave me invaluable advice. They helped guide me toward becoming a health care professional.”
Dr. Sturtz earned his Associate in Science from SC4 in 1974. He then transferred to Albion College, where he graduated summa cum laude as a pre-med major before enrolling at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. There, he met his wife, Barbara – the only U.S. Navy scholarship student in a class of more than 150 – and earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery.
Though he had already spent years pursuing his dream career in health care, the organizational skills and perseverance learned in the Navy continued to serve him well in the years that followed. Dr. Sturtz completed his residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery at the Naval Hospital San Diego, followed by a three-year tour at the Naval Hospital Yokosuka Japan as the chief of oral and maxillofacial surgery.
He retired from the Navy in 1999, practiced at a number of offices around Metro Detroit, and purchased Plymouth Oral and Facial Surgery, PLC offices in Plymouth, Ann Arbor, and Chelsea. In addition, he has taught as an adjunct professor on the U-M School of Dentistry faculty for years and went back to school to earn a Master of Science in Business Administration with a health care administration specialty from Madonna University.
With vast professional experiences and credentials earned from a wide variety of prestigious institutions, Dr. Sturtz’s belief in SC4 holds strong.
“My mom always said the best investment you can make is in yourself,” says Dr. Sturtz, who resides in Northville with his wife and two daughters. “The quality of education and the support and services I found at SC4 were on par with anywhere else I went. I feel very fortunate to have started at SC4. It provided me with a solid foundation, great experience and a seamless transition.”