Retired economics professor dies

Posted on May 08, 2013 by Staff Writer

The Sweet Briar community was saddened to learn of the death of William “Bill” Lewis Hostetler II, associate professor of economics and director of the business management program emeritus, on Saturday, May 4, 2013. He was 74 years old.

Hostetler taught at Sweet Briar College from 1989 until his retirement in 2006, receiving tenure in 1992. In 1994 he was awarded the Student Government Association’s Excellence in Teaching Award. He was instrumental in establishing Sweet Briar’s business management program, having overseen its expansion from a certificate program to a major in 2004.

As a teacher, Hostetler believed in a hands-on approach, and the program he helped start bears that legacy today, says assistant professor of business Tom Loftus.

“Bill, from the inception of the business program, recognized the importance of integrating experiential opportunities for our students, in order to prepare them for the real world of business they would be entering,” Loftus says.

“The management laboratory he created was run as much as possible like a real business, conducting educational and fundraising events that have raised over $70,000 in donations for local and national charities. He also placed a great emphasis on business ethics, receiving several external grants to support the development of a series of ethics courses that were required for all business majors.

“Bill was also a great personal friend, serving as a mentor to Professor [Suzanne] Calvert and myself as we made the transition to full-time teaching faculty at Sweet Briar.”

Other faculty also recall a dedicated teacher and community member.

“Bill was a gentle and cheerful colleague to me at Sweet Briar, and always had the interests of the school, his fellow faculty, and of course, his students, close to his heart,” said Debbie Durham, professor of anthropology.

Hostetler was a certified public accountant, licensed in North Carolina since 1964. He taught at the University of Kansas as an assistant professor of business from 1966 to 1967, prior to joining the Arabian American Oil Co. (Aramco) in Saudi Arabia, where he worked from 1967 to1989. During a sabbatical year at Sweet Briar in 1996-1997, he completed a book, “Saudi Arabia: Unique Insight into Economic Development.”

While working for Aramco, he met his wife, Mary Ann Long Hostetler. They married in 1975. Bill and Mary Ann continued living in their home on Faculty Row until recently. Mary Ann preceded him in death on April 6, 2013.

The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at Whitten Monelison Chapel in Madison Heights. A service to celebrate his life will be held in Memorial Chapel at 1 p.m. Friday, May 10, with the Rev. Adam White officiating.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for gifts to be given to the Sweet Briar College Annual Fund.

Read the full obituary here.