Commencement is June 19

May 27, 2004

A member of the Class of '66 will be honored June 19 for helping to modernize the country's railroad system. Dr. John Samuels will receive an honorary degree during ceremonies that will also celebrate 387 graduates.

Plans are taking shape for the "big day" when Kettering will host 2,000 guests and almost 400 graduates for spring commencement, Saturday, June 19. Dr. John M. Samuels '66, who has spent his career keeping people and property safe on the country's railway lines, will be presented an honorary doctor of Engineering degree and will offer comments to the graduates.

Ceremonies for 387 graduates will start at 3 p.m. in the Connie and Jim John Recreation Center, where colorful flowers and banners will greet graduates, their families and the University community. There are 273 undergraduates, 114 graduate students. Last year, Kettering graduated 382 during spring commencement.

Here's an overview for June 2004: KETTERING UNIVERSITY COMMENCEMENT

  • Saturday, June 19, 3 p.m. (EDT)
  • Connie and Jim John Recreation Center at Kettering University
  • Allow about 1 - 2 hours for the ceremony (doors open at 1 p.m.)
  • No tickets required to attend
  • Presiding: Kettering University President James E.A. John
  • Information center is open in the Registrar's Office, Academic Building, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Free parking available in all Kettering lots, including large lots behind the Academic Building and combined lot behind Thompson Hall and the Recreation Center; a parking shuttle will be available to assist guests from 1:30 - 5:30 p.m.
  • Graduates: 273 undergraduates, 114 graduate degrees
  • Expected number of guests: 2,000+
  • Open houses, noon to 1:30 p.m., in undergraduate degree departments, Graduate Studies and the Humanities Art Center, hosted by Liberal Studies.
  • Recreation Center opens to the general public at 1 p.m.
  • Graduates should assemble outside on the North Terrace of the Campus Center (facing Third Avenue) between 2:15 -2:55 p.m.Rainsite: Third Floor Weight Room, Recreation Center. Marshals will be present to assist in the process. Processional begins at 2:55 p.m.

ONE HONORARY DEGREE RECIPIENT: Dr. John M. Samuels '66 Senior Vice President, Operations Planning & Support Norfolk Southern Corporation Norfolk, Virginia Honorary Doctor of Engineering

John M. Samuels has an extensive background in railroad freight equipment, operations and maintenance, and has dedicated his time and talent as a consultant, educator and practitioner in helping one of the country's oldest yet most modern technologies - its railway system.

Dr. Samuels was born July 8, 1943, in Trenton, N.J. He earned a bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering in 1966 from Kettering University/GMI. As a student, he was active as a leader in Delta Tau Delta Fraternity, the Tech Club, the American Society of Tool and Manufacturing Engineers, and the Industrial Engineers Club. While on leave from General Motors, he continued his studies at Pennsylvania State University, where he earned a master's degree in Industrial Engineering - Operations Research in 1968 and then joined the Penn State faculty.

Dr. Samuels served on the Penn State faculty between 1968 and 1978, while he pursued a Ph.D. in Manufacturing Research. He was appointed assistant professor of Industrial Engineering and a research associate after completing his Ph.D. in 1972. He was promoted to associate professor and senior materials research scientist three years later and received tenure status.

In 1978, he joined Conrail as a director of shop industrial engineering and rose through the ranks to serve in several vice presidential roles starting in 1990. During his tenure at Conrail, he was responsible for continuous quality improvement, engineering, mechanical operations, and operating assets. His duties included being in charge of tracks, signals, bridges and building, locomotive and railcar maintenance, engineering design and construction, train dispatching control systems, and the technical service laboratory. He joined Norfolk Southern Railroad in 1998 as vice president - operations planning and budget, and was promoted to his current position in 2000.

Dr. Samuels is a recognized leader in railway technology and preparing tomorrow's executives for the railway industry. He has been dedicated to that task through his efforts in ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology), serving as chair of ABET's Industrial Advisory Council since 2002. Since 1998, he has chaired the North American Railway Technology Working Committee and the North American Joint Positive Train Control Project, which is designing the next generation train control systems. He was a member of the executive committee of the Transportation Research Board from 1998-2003 and has been a member of the Council of Industrial Engineering of the Institute of Industrial Engineers since 1982.

He has served on the Penn State Economic Development Advisory Council, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Quality Management and Industry Advisory Board for Railroad Research, is a senior member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, the American Railway Engineering Association, and a member of several committees within the Association of American Railroads.

Dr. Samuels was named a Fellow by both the World Academy of Productivity Science and the Institute of Industrial Engineering in 1999. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1996, received the Outstanding Achievement Award in Management from the Institute of Industrial Engineers in 1994 and received the Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award from Pennsylvania State University in 1993.

He and his wife, Leslie, reside in Virginia Beach, Va., and have a married son, who is an Industrial Engineer.

ACADEMIC HONORS: Summa Cum Laude (97.0-100): 6
Magna Cum Laude (94.5-96.9): 14
Cum Laude (92-94.4): 33



Bachelor's Degrees
Applied Mathematics, 1
Applied Physics, 3
Computer Engineering, 18
Computer Science, 9
Electrical Engineering, 46
Environmental Chemistry, 1
Industrial Engineering, 19
Management, 20
Manufacturing Systems Engineering, 4
Mechanical Engineering, 152

Master's Degrees
Engineering, 15
Engineering Management, 2
Manufacturing Management, 22
Manufacturing Operations, 41
Operations Management, 34

HOTELS/RESTAURANTS: Contact the Flint Area Convention and Visitors Bureau: 1-800-24-FLINT or (810) 232-2211 or web site:

CAN WE HELP? 1-800-955-4464, ext. 9585, or 810-762-9585 or visit:

Compiled by Pat Mroczek
(810) 762-9533