In appreciation

Sep 9, 2010

The many contributions of Skip Walker '54 and Bob Kagle '78, and Delphi Corp. were heralded during the 4th Annual President's Appreciation dinner in Flint.

Kettering University President Stan Liberty awarded three of the University’s highest honors during the Fourth Annual President’s Appreciation Dinner Thursday, Sept. 9.  The gala event, hosted in the International Room of the Campus Center, provided an opportunity for the President to thank and recognize some of the University’s most important friends and donors.

“We are here this evening to recognize friends of Kettering who have been supportive of our University,” he said.  “The people in this room tonight -- and many others who couldn't join us – make up a group of alumni, friends, corporate partners, community leaders, and employees, all of whom are fully committed to a bright and healthy future for Kettering University.”

Helping co-host the evening’s activities were the President’s wife, Angie Liberty, and Interim Vice President for University Advancement Darryl Sczepanski.

The musical highlight of the evening was the first public performance of the Kettering Choir, a choral group that has been formed on campus thanks to a Fine Arts Grant from the C.S. Mott Foundation.  The group is directed by Glen Holcomb of the Flint Institute of Music.

In grateful appreciation
Two individuals and one corporation were presented a pewter Bulldog statue, the mascot symbol of the University.  Honored were:

Dr. Martin D. “Skip” Walker ’54 of Greenwood, Ind., is a former trustee and a current member of the Emeritus Board.  “Skip’s enduring faith helped this campus tremendously during the growing and changing decades of the 1980s, the 1990s and beyond,” Liberty said.  Walker is a President’s Council member and established the Alfred Grava Chair in Manufacturing Management in honor of his long-time friend from the class of 1957. 

“Skip also has supported our students in many ways through the years, including a Kettering scholarship in the name of Martin and Mary Walker that will aid students in perpetuity.  Skip is a member of the National Co-op Hall of Fame and has been an exceptional steward of Kettering’s style of experiential learning through the years.  We are proud of his many professional and personal accomplishments, which is why the University awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Management degree in 1996,” Liberty continued.  “Skip has received many of Kettering/GMI’s highest honors.  Tonight is just a small token of thanks in respect for all that he has done and still will do.” 

Also honored was Robert C. Kagle ’78 of Menlo Park, Calif.  “Bob’s beginning at GMI is almost legendary,” Liberty said.  “His devoted mother recognized his talent early and convinced her boss at AC Spark Plug to sponsor Bob at GMI – even after the recruitment cycle appeared closed.  Her tenacity has paid off for all of us.

“Bob graduated from here as a Sobey Scholar and went on to become one of the country’s most influential venture capitalists,” Liberty continued.  “Forbes Magazine has named him to their Midas List for his work at Benchmark Capital, which he co-founded.   Among the entrepreneurial companies he has had a hand in launching is e-Bay.”

Kagle has been on the Kettering Board of Trustees since 1995 and is a past chair of the Board, serving on both the Investments and the Finance and Audits committees.  He is a member of the President’s Council and is a member of the National Co-op Hall of Fame.

“Bob has lived away from Flint for a long time, yet his alma mater and his hometown continue to rely on his strengths and his kindnesses.  He has blessed us with his talents, his time, his contributions, his leadership and a Kagle Scholarship that will be helping students for decades to come.  A generous and notable gift from Bob in 2001 helped us establish the Kagle Mentor Program, which matches talented Kettering students to promising area high school students who are challenged by academic and cultural barriers,” Liberty added.

One company was honored during the dinner – the Delphi Corporation.  “It is also our pleasure to honor a corporation that epitomizes the full-service corporate partnership that we seek.  Delphi has employed more than 810 co-op students since 1985,” Liberty said.  “The number of current, former and retired graduates employed by Delphi is around 1,700.  Delphi has sponsored more than 65 graduate students.  And their corporate donations exceed $4.4 million, including early support of our fuel-cell initiative and our national award winning pre-college program for minorities known as AIM. 

“Delphi has provided key leaders to our Board of Trustees through the years and was instrumental in helping FIRST Robotics of Michigan get started almost 20 years ago,” Liberty added, presenting the award to Jeffrey Owens, president of Delphi Electronics & Safety.  Owens is a 1978 graduate of GMI, who is responsible for all Delphi engineering globally.

In conclusion, Liberty said, “on behalf of all of us affiliated with Kettering, thank you for all you do to help Kettering in its quest for excellence as it executes its mission.”

Special Events Director Diane Alderson and Assistant to the Vice President of University Advancement Diane Emery were congratulated and thanked for organizing the celebration at the conclusion of the evening.

Written by Patricia Mroczek