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August 13, 2012

Contact: Carol D. Rugg, 810.238.5651,


Kettering University will expand reach and impact
with help of $15.5-million in Mott Foundation support

FLINT, Mich. — Strengthening Kettering University’s leadership in the field of higher education and expanding its role as a strategic partner in the region’s revitalization are the goals behind a $15.5-million grantmaking initiative announced today by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Mott’s pledge of support, which is conditioned on Kettering successfully meeting certain criteria, is the largest ever received by the university.

The Foundation intends to provide a series of grants to Kettering over three or more years. The first of those grants — for $2,006,000 — was made in May 2012. The grants will support a set of strategies designed to help Kettering:

  • grow student enrollment;
  • nurture the school’s economic impact on the Flint community;
  • communicate the university’s unique identity to a broad audience; and
  • build alumni relationships and support for the school.

Kettering University alumni  Matt Gaidica (left) and Brad Birdsall

Kettering is sparking the entrepreneurial spirit of students like Matt Gaidica (left) and Brad Birdsall, who launched Prime Studios, a web application and mobile web development company, in 2007.


Photo: Kettering University

“Kettering has a longstanding tradition of academic excellence, highlighted by inspired teaching that offers a blend of classroom and real-world learning,” said William S. White, president and CEO of the Mott Foundation. “Across Michigan we are seeing higher learning institutions play transformational roles, both in their home communities and throughout the entire state. These initiatives, with Mott support, will build on Kettering’s strengths and help the institution lead the way in redefining the way colleges engage with their communities and educate young people for the 21st century.”

Mott grantmaking related to Kettering has totaled $29.6 million since 1983. That funding over the years has enabled the university to improve and expand its facilities, enhance and diversify its academic curriculums, provide scholarships to underserved students, and launch outreach efforts to engage and connect with the Flint community.

The Foundation’s commitment to its hometown is further reflected in the more than $758 million that it has invested in the greater Flint area over the past 84 years — $24 million in 2011 alone. That funding has included support for area educational institutions, such as Kettering; programs serving children and youth; economic and downtown development; job training; public safety; and emergency and family services.

Mott’s pledge of support reflects a crucial investment in the school and in Flint, says University President Robert K. McMahan.

“Our faculty and staff members spent the last year developing a plan that builds on Kettering’s historical strengths and paves the way for future academic advancement, economic growth and relationship-building with students and the community. I am deeply appreciative for the Mott Foundation’s support of that vision.”

Kettering witnessed a 19 percent increase in its freshman enrollment between 2010 and 2011. The Mott grants will help Kettering to further grow and retain its student body through the redesign of admissions and graduation criteria for educational programs outside the school’s traditional engineering curriculums, and the strengthening of academic and career counseling programs.

Kettering University’s LITE pre-college program student

Performing simulated surgery on electronic “patients” is one way that Kettering’s LITE pre-college program is engaging Flint area senior high school girls in the fields of math, engineering and science.


Photo: Kettering University

The university will also expand programs that engage area high school students in the study and exploration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. STEM, as the fields are collectively referred to, are widely viewed as being key to the future of the U.S. workforce. The U.S. Department of Labor suggests that of the 20 fastest growing occupations projected for 2014, 15 will require workers with significant preparation in mathematics or science.

Increased student enrollment will also strengthen Kettering’s economic contributions to the region. The university’s international students alone currently add over $1.7 million a year — beyond tuition and fees — to the local economy.

Strategies for helping to revitalize the Flint community also include programs devoted to helping entrepreneurs create new products and businesses, and the redevelopment of properties adjacent to the Kettering campus.

In addition, the Mott grants will help the university undertake a number of activities to strengthen Kettering’s name recognition in the U.S. and around the world, and increase alumni support and participation.

Kettering University is a nationally-ranked STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and business university, and a national leader in combining a rigorous academic environment with rich opportunities for experiential learning and cooperative education. Kettering focuses on the learning experience of the individual student. Kettering’s nearly 2,000 undergraduates and 1,000 graduate students choose from 14 undergraduate and 14 master’s degrees, plus more than 50 minors, specialties, concentrations and courses of study. Some of Kettering’s fastest growing academic majors are Bioinformatics, Chemical Engineering and BioChemistry. For more information, visit

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