A Letter from the President

Dr. Robert K. McMahan

Dr. Robert K. McMahan

President and Professor of Physics

Dear Alumni, Faculty, Staff, Students, and Friends:

In last year’s letter, I wrote, “The future is here!” This year’s magazine focuses on how that realized future is unfolding at Kettering and our priorities looking ahead.

The engines that carried us here were the Boldly Forward Capital Campaign, which raised over $155 million from more than 5,000 generous donors, and the completion of the spectacular Learning Commons, which has received attention nationwide as a new concept in academic buildings.

Boldly Forward funded critical academic and campus enhancements such as labs, classrooms, and learning centers; new and enhanced scholarships for hundreds of students; and academic and enrichment programs that enhance both life and learning on campus. The Learning Commons, meanwhile, has become the center of all non-classroom campus activity, providing a dramatic stimulus to everything from admissions to student life to the library to student-faculty interaction.  

Our first priority in this exciting future we now inhabit is to continue building on our successes in advancement. In the wake of a successful campaign, allow me to offer an analogy. 

Gum magnate William Wrigley was once asked while traveling on a train why he kept up such heavy advertising when the company already had an overwhelmingly dominant market share. He walked his fellow traveler into the coal car and asked, “What do you think will happen to this train if this engineer stops shoveling coal?” 

Like Wrigley, we must continue to feed the fire we have built with the continued financial support that makes Kettering accessible and keeps it focused on the frontier of new developing technologies. The job is not finished—and never will be—if we want to continue to serve the students of tomorrow.

This issue addresses many impactful aspects of Kettering today, beginning with the addition of critical, high-level talent and the restructuring of our academic leadership. 

Our lead story explores our relatively new Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) degree, which we added in direct response to emerging industries’ need for engineers that can innovate and work across traditional disciplinary boundaries. 

In a similar vein, an article titled “Future-Proofing our Students” introduces five curriculum-wide initiatives developed over many months by faculty leadership to build flexibility and adaptability into our traditional curriculum. These five areas—advanced mobility, new energy vehicles, intelligent manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and sustainability—address emerging trends and disciplines faculty feels will define the workplace of tomorrow. As aggressively interdisciplinary perspectives that can be paired with standard disciplines, they will allow our students and new graduates to be nimble in a rapidly changing, increasingly unpredictable future.

Enjoy the magazine. It is a celebration of the Kettering you have built with your loyalty and support. 

Warmest Regards,

President Robert K. McMahan signature
Dr. Robert K. McMahan

President and Professor of Physics