Inventor and industrialist Charles Kettering (1876-1958) liked to say, "Do the right thing at the right time." That's why a group of leading citizens in Flint came together in 1919 with a vision of progress for the growing automobile industry. What began almost 100 years ago as a night school for engineers, managers, designers and technicians has grown into today's world-class Kettering University.
The institution was founded in 1919 as The School of Automobile Trades and opened under the direction of Albert Sobey to train engineering and management personnel. In 1923, the school became the Flint Institute of Technology. The institution established a four-year cooperative education program, and more than 600 students enrolled. Recognizing the potential of cooperative education, the General Motors Corporation took over financial support of the school in 1926, renamed it General Motors Institute, and started utilizing the facility to develop its own engineers and managers. In 1945, the Institute added a fifth-year thesis requirement and became a degree-granting college with a continuing commitment to cooperative education.
Independence came in 1982 as GM divested itself of ownership. With independence came another name change - to GMI Engineering & Management Institute. Administrators decided to keep the proven cooperative education program and expand the number of employers. Also in 1982, the institution began offering graduate programs to on- and off-campus students.
On January 1, 1998, GMI changed its name to honor the man who not only helped found this institution, but also had a strong influence in the concept of professional cooperative education -- Charles Kettering. Current co-op employers cover the full range of industries including the auto industry, delivery services, aerospace, paper products, banking, metallurgical, health care and more. As Kettering University, the school continues its historic role of educating leaders for the businesses and industries of the world.
Kettering University, built on a tradition of cooperative education and preparation of future leaders for a global society, is dedicated to adding transformational value to our students and stakeholders through exemplary programs in engineering, science and business. Read about the succession of Kettering Presidents and also about our Honorary Degree recipients.