About Kettering University
Kettering University (formerly "General Motors Institute") is a university in Flint, Michigan, offering degrees in engineering, math, science, and business. The campus is located along the Flint River on property that used to be the main manufacturing location for General Motors. It is named after inventor and former head of research for General Motors Charles Kettering.
98% of seniors are employed or accepted to graduate schools before graduation. One out of 15 alumni either own their own business or are high-level managers in leading companies (see Notable Alumni). Although the school's undergraduate population is small with approximately total 2,000 students, it annually graduates the most mechanical engineers and is ranked by US News and World Report as one of the best schools without doctoral programs for undergraduate engineering education.
The history of Kettering University is deeply tied to the development of the American automotive industry. The school was originally founded as The School of Automobile Trades on October 20, 1919 by Albert Sobey under the direction of the Industrial Fellowship of Flint as a night school, training individuals for careers in industry. In 1923 the school became known as the Flint Institute of Technology. General Motors acquired the school on July 12, 1926, renaming it General Motors Institute of Technology. In 1932 the name of the school was shortened to General Motors Institute.
GMI focused on creating leaders for business and industry (sometimes called the West Point of Industry and pioneered many educational firsts including the co-op program (following the development of this program at the University of Cincinnati in 1907), freshmen level manufacturing courses (Production Processes I & II), and automotive degree specialties. A fifth-year thesis requirement was added in 1945, along with the ability to grant degrees. The first bachelor's degree was awarded on August 23, 1946.
The co-op program required applicants to find a GM division to be their sponsor. Work and school were mixed in six-week rotations, dividing the student body into A-section and B-section. At any given time, when A-section was in school, B-section was at work. After six weeks, B-section would go back to school and so on. This resulted in students moving eight times per year and a 48-week school/work year. Because General Motors used the school to train its engineers, tuition was partially subsidized.
In June 1980 (the Class of 1985) co-op rotations were expanded to twelve weeks. After GM reduced operations in Flint, the company and the University separated on July 1, 1982, although GM continued to hire co-ops from GMI. The name of the institution became "GMI Engineering & Management Institute" although the letters "GMI" were retained to allow easy identification with the old General Motors Institute. New co-op employers began participating, including Magna International of Canada, and the University began charging full tuition.