Three Wise Men - Episode 4 - Part 1 - Kettering Stories

Our Mission

Kettering University prepares students for lives of extraordinary leadership and service by linking transformative experiential learning opportunities to rigorous academic programs in engineering, science, mathematics, and business.


Kettering University will be the first choice for students and all our partners seeking to make a better world through technological innovation, leadership and service.


Respect for teamwork, honesty, encouragement, diversity, and partnerships with students.

Integrity including accountability, transparency and ethics.

Creativity  fostering flexibility and innovation.

Collaboration across disciplines and with all partners.

Excellence in all we do.

About Us

A group of visionaries from Flint founded Kettering University in 1919 as The School of Automobile Trades. It opened under the direction of Major Albert Sobey with the goal of training technical and management talent for the rapidly growing automobile industry. By 1923 the school had grown to offer a full four-year cooperative education program enrolling more than 600 full-time students, and in recognition of this growth Major Sobey rechristened it the Flint Institute of Technology. Three years later and appreciating the importance of cooperative education, the General Motors Corporation acquired the school, renaming it the General Motors Institute (GMI).

For the next 56 years, GM operated the school as GMI, and it became for the company one of its best sources of creative and successful engineering and managerial talent. By 1945 the Institute had added a fifth-year thesis requirement and had evolved into a full degree-granting university with a unique educational model built upon an ongoing and strong commitment to cooperative education.

In 1982, GM divested itself of ownership of the school, and it became the private, non-profit University it is today, however first under the name GMI Engineering & Management Institute (GMI-EMI). Shortly thereafter the institution began offering Master’s-level graduate programs to both on and off campus students.

On January 1, 1998, GMI-EMI changed its name a final time to honor a founder of the institution, Charles Kettering (1876-1958), an inventor, an industrialist, and an early and strong proponent of professional cooperative education. Today as Kettering University, the school continues this historic tradition, and in 2019 will mark its centennial year. Over that proud 100-year history, Kettering University has become one of the country’s premier STEM institutions and is known around the world for educating great and successful leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, scientists, and business people.

Kettering University's iconic belltower.

Nationally Ranked

Kettering University was ranked 13th nationally in non-Ph.D. engineering programs in the 2020 U.S. News and World Report ‘Best Colleges’ edition.

In a study profiled in The Economist, Kettering University ranked fourth in the country in producing alumni who hold patents.

Kettering University was ranked first in the country in career preparation in a 2017 survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal.

Kettering University received a 2018 ‘Best in the Midwest’ designation from the Princeton Review.

The Washington Monthly ranked Kettering fifth in the Midwest in its 2017 ‘Best Bang for the Buck’ college rankings.

Kettering University was first in the Midwest and 19th nationally in’s 2017 Return on Investment rankings.

Kettering University received a ‘Military Friendly Schools’ designation from Victory Media in 2017.

Kettering University’s Mechanical Engineering program was ranked sixth nationally by College Factual.