Foundation’s Scholarships Help Students Realize Their Dreams

Dozens of students have the Valentine Foundation to thank for their Kettering University experience.

Since 2018, the foundation has provided unrestricted support for scholarships to the University totaling $1.195 million and relieving the financial worry of many students in the process.

“A primary mission of the Valentine Foundation is to fund character and educational development of college-level youth with a focus on underfinanced students in science, math, engineering and technology,” said Jerry Meador, President of the Valentine Foundation. “Kettering provides a curriculum that attracts the quality of students the Foundation seeks to support and program attributes that prepare these students for future leadership roles in their chosen fields of study.”

The Valentine Foundation grants 20 students $10,000 scholarships toward their first year’s tuition at Kettering University plus carryover awards. These scholarships are renewable in $5,000 or $10,000 increments for each student in good academic standing with the University.

The partnership between the foundation and the University began after Frank Perna ’60 joined the Board of the Valentine Foundation five years ago. He “began waving the Kettering flag” as he learned more about the foundation and its focus on helping students gain technical education.

“I was saying this is the greatest institution in the country or possibly the world for helping kids that have a desire to get a technical education but don’t have the wherewithal, and the Co-op program makes it possible,” said Perna, who earned his degree in Mechanical Engineering. “I convinced the board to participate in a program with Kettering.”

“Without this opportunity, I am unsure if I would be able to even go to Kettering, which will end up having a large impact in my academic career and lifelong career."

Annalei Dahlstrom ’27

So far, everyone has liked what they see in the Kettering students who receive scholarship support.

“Everybody was quite impressed with the feedback we’ve received, especially the response from the students,” Perna said. “They are very committed to doing a good job as well as having a tremendous learning experience in the process. We’re very impressed with the fact that the kids are very responsive.”

Each year, the University sends a scholarship report to the Valentine Foundation. The report includes a breakdown of how the funds were distributed and a stack of thank-you letters from scholarship recipients.

In the letters, students describe why they chose Kettering and their majors. They also write about their Kettering experiences with descriptions of their favorite classes, Co-op projects, and clubs and organizations they’ve joined.

“Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems employs me for the brake validation team where we perform tests on the most advanced air disk brake systems available in the North American market,” Linhang Li ’23 wrote in her letter. “I enjoy contributing to the highway safety of the automotive and trucking industry as a whole. I feel that every bit of my contribution is valued.”

Some letters explain how the students might have been unable to attend Kettering without the support.

“Without this opportunity, I am unsure if I would be able to even go to Kettering, which will end up having a large impact in my academic career and lifelong career,” Annalei Dahlstrom ’27 wrote in her letter. “I wholeheartedly appreciate the opportunity you have given me, as it will cause a massive ripple effect for my whole life.”

Many students express gratitude for the scholarship because it will mean graduating with less debt.

“This scholarship will put a decent dent into the debt I will have incurred over my schooling at Kettering and will help ease my family’s worries,” Jared Kress ’26 wrote. “The generosity of the Valentine Foundation is monumental to not only me and my family but to the other students and their families that have received this award as well. The magnanimity of the Valentine Foundation will never go underappreciated by me. I feel honored to be supported by you guys, and will continue to put my best foot forward and always strive for greatness in and out of Kettering.”


President McMahan expresses gratitude to our alumni and donors for their ongoing support as we strive to expand the Kettering opportunity to the most talented and promising students.


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