Bascobert Makes Another Gift to Create a ‘Meaningful Impact’ for Students

As Dr. Paul Bascobert listened to his Commencement speaker in the summer of 1987, he could only wonder what was next in his life now that he had earned his Electrical Engineering degree and started his first business.

It had been years since Bascobert visited campus, and now here he was, 36 years later at Commencement again. This time, he looked out from the stage as the 2023 Commencement speaker.

“It was a bit surreal to be there and to be looking out at the students,” Bascobert said. “I remember being on the other side looking at the Commencement speaker thinking to myself, ‘I wonder what lies ahead for me.’ And now, I sort of looked out at the crowd and thought, ‘I wonder what lies ahead for all of them.’”

While in town to celebrate the class of 2023, Bascobert and his mother, Patricia, had the opportunity to have lunch with Austin Boettcher ’27, a recipient of the Paul Bascobert ’87 and Jacqueline Bascobert Kelm ’86 Scholarship.

“My mother and I had an opportunity to meet with Austin, and that was quite special,” Bascobert said. “She said Austin reminded her of me when I was younger, which I took as quite a compliment.”

It was the first time the pair had met. In addition to learning about Boettcher, they chatted about their experiences at Kettering.

“It was nice to come back and see how the school has grown; I really was amazed at how the facilities have expanded. The new labs, Learning Commons and athletic facility made me want to sign up for classes. The role that Kettering is playing in the community is impressive and very smart,” Bascobert said. “... At the same time, walking through the tunnel, the old Academic Building, down in the labs, the memories came back. The smells, the paint, the equipment, it took me back 40 years to when I first walked those halls.” 

Boettcher majors in Mechanical Engineering and co-ops at Mayco International, mostly in research and development and engineering trial and error.

“I love it,” Boettcher said. “I really like the people I work with. I like how if I show interest in something, they encourage me to pursue what I’m interested in at the company.”

Kettering was the only school he visited when considering where to go to college. Boettcher was a founding member of the FIRST Robotics team at Austin Catholic High School in Chesterfield, Michigan. He heard of Kettering after a mentor for his team and an alumnus recommended he tour campus.

“I just knew this was the college I wanted to go to,” Boettcher said. “The small class sizes and Co-op program felt like a good fit.”

The Bascobert scholarship made his dream of attending Kettering a reality.

“Every little bit helps,” Boettcher said. “With that scholarship, that was a make-or-break thing on whether or not I could come to Kettering in the first place.”

Meeting Bascobert enabled him to put a face to the name on the scholarship.

“He was very genuine, very nice and easy to talk to,” Boettcher said about Bascobert. “It made me feel like they were more invested in who the money was going to and wanted to see it was being put to good use.”

Boettcher said he planned to reach out to Bascobert when he finished his work term to “thank him and let him know I am officially a sophomore.”

Bascobert and his wife, Jane, recently made another gift to the endowment to help it grow.

“When we started it, our goal was to have a meaningful impact on the student’s ability to attend Kettering, and our focus was on students who like my sister and I were the first ones to graduate from college,” he said. “The quality and affordability of Kettering made a huge impact on the trajectory of our lives, we just want to continue to pass on that opportunity to others. The cost of college is going up and up, so we need to make sure that what we’re doing has a meaningful impact.”

Bascobert and his sister Jacqueline established the endowed scholarship in 2020 in honor of their parents, Patricia and René Bascobert, first-generation Americans who instilled in their children the importance of a strong education in the sciences and a rewarding career in engineering.

Prior to June, Patricia Bascobert had visited campus twice—the day she dropped Paul at Thompson Hall and the day he graduated, Bascobert said. She was in the audience in June as he gave his Commencement address.

“It was very special for both of us,” Bascobert said. “She’s getting older, but she gets around quite well. To come back after all of those years and share that moment together was a lifetime opportunity.”

Click here view Paul Bascobert's 2023 Commencement address.

Bascobert at commencement
Bascobert receiving doctorate


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