With sadness, we report that former Bates Technical College president Bill Mohler passed away Sunday from an apparent heart attack. Memorial service information will be shared as soon as details are available.

Mohler was the college’s first president, serving from 1991-2000, and the administrative director when Bates was part of the Tacoma School District. Prior to coming to Bates in 1985, Mohler served as the state’s vocational-education director.

During his tenure, Mohler promised to make the college a “true partner in the economic development of this community—responding not only to the needs of business, but the people of this community.”

After 15 years of college leadership and 30 years of technical education involvement, Mohler retired on Dec. 31, 2000. More than 240 people attended his retirement celebration, “Bill Mohler Day,” to pay tribute. A news release stated, “The students and employees of Bates will miss his ‘make it happen’ kind of leadership which brought Bates to the 21st century.” Mohler remained involved with the college through KBTC Public Television, serving on the association board.

Some highlights of Mohler’s leadership include:

  • Helped draft legislation that moved the vocational-technical institutes to the two-year college system, and contributed to legislation to fund the state’s Worker Retraining and Work First programs.
  • Developed a one-stop service center for students, grew college programs, increased industry skills standards for the college’s competency-based curriculum, and helped support WorkFirst recipients. Because of Mohler’s initiatives, Bates was one of the first colleges in the state to have an on-site Job Service Center.
  • Thirty-four degree programs were developed during Mohler’s tenure.
  • During that time, Bates received its initial and subsequent accreditations.

View a gallery of Bill Mohler.