A Family Tradition

Family Sees the Worth of a Kettering Education

A lot has changed at Kettering University since Wayne Walworth graduated in 1955, but one thing has remained constant: the high quality of education. This is why the Mechanical Engineer alumnus recommends the University to anyone who asks and has six family members who followed in his footsteps to attend Kettering.

“I am very impressed and have been all along,” Walworth said of Kettering. “... I have always been a big pusher for GMI/Kettering.”

Walworth learned about Kettering (General Motors Institute at the time) from his cousin who was teaching in the dealership program. Walworth liked the idea of attending school and getting paid at the same time through the co-op program. He worked in manufacturing processing at Buick until graduation and continued to work in engineering and manufacturing positions at General Motors for more than 35 years.

When it came time to convince his son Darren to attend Kettering, Walworth received help from late Chemistry Professor Reg Bell, who told Darren he would “just be a number” if he attended another college. Bell told Darren he could sit in on a couple of his classes to see what the experience was like. Darren accepted the offer and applied to Kettering shortly after observing Bell’s classes. He graduated in 1989 with a degree in Electrical Engineering.

Ultimately, Darren said the co-op program was what most appealed to him about Kettering.

“To someone who is considering attending Kettering, I would impress upon them that the co-op program at Kettering is very valuable,” he said. “During your work assignments, you will learn countless practical lessons about real-world engineering work that students at other colleges and universities will not learn until they are two to three years into their careers. The lessons will include technical analysis, simulation, testing techniques as well as interpersonal communication skills with co-workers at different levels of the org chart.”

By the time Walworth’s daughter, Lisa Jacobson, graduated from high school, Kettering offered Management degrees. With an interest in the business area, she applied and completed her co-op with Citizens Bank. She graduated in 1994 with a Management Systems degree in Finance. While attending Kettering, she also met her husband, Tom Jacobson (‘94, ME). 

Like her brother, Lisa said the co-op program brought her to Kettering.

“To be able to graduate with a couple of years of work experience put me one step ahead of others and helped me get my first job after college,” she said.

Walworth’s connections to Kettering don’t stop there. His niece, Jayna, met and married Kettering alumus Joseph Ankley (‘94, ME), who said he chose Kettering on the advice of his father, who was a lifelong skilled tradesman at General Motors and worked with many GMI engineers.

“He impressed upon me the career opportunities that he saw the GMI education gave the engineers he worked with,” Joseph said.

Joseph and Jayna’s two children, Paul and Owen, both attend Kettering.

Paul (’22, ME) initially planned to attend a different school with a friend, but when Walworth heard about that, he sent Paul a letter.

“I said, ‘You go to Kettering and you’ll have all sorts of buddies and guys you know,’” Walworth said.

Paul said his family’s experience with Kettering was a factor in his decision.

Wayne Walworth and family

From left to right: Tom Jacobson ('94, ME), Lisa Jacobson ('94, MS), Wayne Walworth ('55, ME) & Darren Walworth ('89, EE)

For more information about Kettering University's co-op program, visit Kettering co-op.

The Ankley Family

The Ankley Family; Joe ('94, ME), Owen ('25, ME), Paul ('22, ME), Jayna and Spencer 

“I chose Kettering because of the co-op program, the school being close to home, and because so much of my family went here, and I had a lot of firsthand accounts of what the Kettering experience was,” he said. “Both my dad and uncle influenced my decision just by being proof that Kettering offers careers to graduates.”

Owen (’25, ME), who always wanted to be an engineer, said he chose Kettering after hearing about his father’s experience. Owen said he can already see how Kettering is preparing him for life after graduation.

“The co-op experience has helped prepare me so much,” he said. “I got a good look into what I will actually be doing for work. Also, it has helped me be more comfortable with interviewing and being in a more professional work environment.”

Though Walworth had one job in his life, he’s watched as his family members and fellow Kettering graduates have frequently changed jobs to pursue a better opportunity than the last. And he believes with their Kettering education, Paul and Owen will also find success.

“I’m sure these two boys are going to do well too,” Walworth said.