- School of Dentistry Distinguished Alumni Award (1988)
An Indiana Dental Association president who lived to see his own son assume the organization’s leadership a generation later, Robert M. Stetzel, DDS’53, was a dentist who practiced in Fort Wayne. Dr. Stetzel’s IDA presidency was built on a foundation of clinical excellence that he acquired, one day at a time, as a widely respected career private practitioner and mentor of younger dentists coming up in the profession. He practiced with the Stetzel Dental Group in Fort Wayne for more than 50 years, until his retirement in 2002.
Stetzel developed his leadership skills as a commander in the United States Navy and through the Isaac Knapp District Dental Society, serving not only as president of the society but also as a founding charter member of Isaac Knapp’s Foundation for Education. His presidency of the IDA from 1976 to
1977 would be complemented several decades later by the IDA presidency of his son, IU dental graduate Mark Stetzel (DDS’84), who presided over the organization from 2008 to 2009.
He received the IU School of Dentistry’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1988, an honor that recognized his early efforts as a part-time teacher both in Indianapolis and as a dental hygiene lecturer on Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne’s campus in the 1970s. He was a veteran of the Korean War.