Kettering University Celebrates Distinguished Alumni, Donors Virtually

EODD Event

FLINT, Mich. – The Kettering University community digitally gathered Thursday to honor its high-level donors and decorated alumni during the virtual event, An Evening of Distinction & Determination.

“While we, like you, have had to pivot and maneuver COVID-19, we haven’t stopped,” said Dr. Robert K. McMahan, Kettering University President, in his closing remarks. “We, and you, have a lot to be proud of in what the pandemic has revealed about the resiliency and determination of our faculty, staff, students and alumni.”

More than $42,500 was raised during the new, hybrid event that featured live hosts from the Building 22 studio in Detroit and recorded interviews with the awardees in an effort to keep everyone safe by maintaining safe distancing and limiting the number of in-person attendees. 

“Congratulations again to our outstanding award recipients and to our donors who moved into new giving societies. Taking our annual event to a virtual format was a daunting but extremely rewarding experience,” said Susan Davies, Vice President for University Advancement and External Relations. “Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, as we were joined by over 400 alumni from around the world. Through the pandemic, we are learning that Kettering alumni want to be connected, and we are discovering new ways to make that happen.”

Six distinguished alumni were honored during the hour-long event, hosted by Kettering alumnae Carla Bailo (‘83, Mechanical Engineering) and Kayla McDonell (‘12, Mechanical Engineering). 

Video interviews were conducted by author Troupe “Tim” Noonan, who documented the institution’s history in his 2019 commemorative centennial book, “GMI/Kettering University at 100.”

The following alumni were recognized:

Distinguished Alumni Award: Mary Barra (’85-Electrical Engineering), Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Motors 

Extraordinary Leadership Award: Latondra Newton (’91-Management Systems), Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer at Walt Disney Company

Entrepreneurial Achievement Award: Andrew Currier (’93-Electrical Engineering), Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of PCK Intellectual Property

Engineering Achievement Award: Dr. Marie Johnson (’90-Medical Engineering), founder of AUM Cardiovascular Inc.

The Alumni Service Award: Clark Bailo (’81-Electrical Engineering/Mechanical Engineering), owner of CDM Seeds LLC

The Young Alumni Award: Maj. Gervé Tillman (’10, ’13-Electrical Engineering, Engineering Management), Deputy Program Manager for the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar System in the Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Special Operations Forces Directorate at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio

To watch the event, make a gift or learn more about our honored alumni and donors, visit

Save the date for the 2021 Evening of Distinction and Determination, which will be Oct. 21, 2021 at the State Savings Bank in Detroit.