Kettering consultant honored with Rotary International award

Aug 9, 2002

Dr. Milton Robinson is not a man consumed by the highlights of his accomplished career.

Dr. Milton Robinson is not a man consumed by the highlights of his accomplished career. Success, in his opinion, is simply a product of hard, honest work and determination to make a difference. That's why his selection recently as the winner of one of the most coveted awards from Rotary International took him by complete surprise.

Robinson, who serves as an executive consultant to Kettering President James E.A. John, won the Paul Harris Award from the Rotary Club of Lucya in the Caribbean. The award is named in honor of Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary International.

What makes Robinson's selection as winner most intriguing is that he's not even a Rotarian. Nonetheless, he received this commendation based on his recruitment of students from the Caribbean to Kettering. Additionally, he was honored for generating more than $500,000 for student scholarships and funding for a Science, Engineering, Communication and Math Education (SECME) program that has international affiliations.

SECME Inc. is a premier pre-college alliance of engineering universities, school systems and corporate investors. The mission of SECME is to increase the pool of historically under-represented students who receive preparation to enter and complete post-secondary studies in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. As a member of SECME, Kettering is in good company with some of the nation's top universities that support pre-college engineering programs. These include Georgia Tech, Syracuse and the University of Arizona.

Specifically, Robinson's award was based on the success of the Caribbean Initiative, an endeavor he established seven years ago at Kettering. This initiative works to bring the most talented high school students to Kettering from the Caribbean, provide financial support for their academic pursuits and create co-op positions in their home countries. Since its inception, the Caribbean Initiative has achieved the following:

  • recruitment of more than seven Caribbean students who enrolled at Kettering;
  • recruitment of more than 10 high school students sponsored by Rotary to attend Kettering's Academically Interested Minorities (AIM) summer pre-college engineering program;
  • funding for more than 10 teachers and administrators to attend SECME Inc. summer training institutes;
  • funding for teams of high school students to participate in the national mouse trap car competitions and rocketry contests held at SECME summer institutes; and
  • recruitment of parent teams to attend "Empowering Parents to Excel at Parenting" workshops at SCEME summer institutes.

But for Robinson, the true measure of his success is determined by the accomplishments of the Caribbean students who attend Kettering and perform well in the classroom and on the job.

"All of the students we have recruited from the Caribbean are at the top of their high school class and I am proud to say that while at Kettering, all of them have achieved a grade point average of 90 out of 100 or higher," Robinson explained. "For example, Omar Martin recently graduated with honors and was as one of five winners of the President's Medal. During his career at Kettering, he participated in the Study Abroad program (Germany) and a pre-MBA program at Harvard, which has already expressed a great deal of interest in providing him with a scholarship to attend graduate school." Robinson also said that Martin completed his Kettering five-year program in four and a half years.

Serving as the former director of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and Flint Urban League helped Robinson develop a keen awareness of diversity issues and the importance of coordinating these issues with Kettering's mission, as well as with the global perspective of today's business and industry. Under his leadership, the University has co-op students in three Caribbean countries: Jamaica, Trinidad and the Bahamas.

"We live and work in a global economy," he said. "It's important that we expose our students not only to people and companies from throughout the U.S., but from other parts of the world such as the Caribbean. World-class companies require a world-class, diverse workforce. Successful corporations understand this and I believe this is why we have been able to place our Caribbean students in great co-op positions."

As part of Kettering's Caribbean Initiative, Robinson, a 20-year veteran of the University, expects to increase the number of international students, co-op sponsors and Caribbean countries affiliated with Kettering.

For more information on the Caribbean Initiative or other programs offered through Kettering's Minority Student Affairs Office, call (810) 762-9825.