Keep Me Kettering

Scholarship Donors Want to Lessen Students’ Financial Worries

Tim Willis (’88, EE) watched his father work two jobs to pay for his college education, so he knows how hard it can be for a family to send their children to college.

To help alleviate those struggles, Willis donated $25,000 to the Keep Me Kettering Scholarship Fund.

“Students, when they Co-op, have the opportunity to earn money and help pay for their education, but not everyone has money to pay for the full tuition, and sometimes they’re not always eligible for financial aid,” Willis said.

Founded in 2014, the Keep Me Kettering Scholarship Fund provides support to students who struggle financially. Students can use the money to pay for tuition. Since its inception, the fund has raised more than $2 million, helping 243 students in need. This year, 41 students have received support from the Keep Me Kettering Scholarship Fund.

Willis, who is Vice President of Global Supply, Manufacturing and Strategy for Aeva Inc., a California-based company that produces LiDAR technology for autonomous vehicles, said his time at Kettering helped him learn how to best manage his time and face challenges to be successful.

“I’ve never shied away from difficult assignments or challenges, and I think that has to do with Kettering preparing us to take on challenges and not being afraid to work hard,” he said.

He said giving to the Keep Me Kettering fund will give other students that opportunity too.

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Engineering Achievement - Tim Willis '88

Tim Willis (’88, EE)

Each year since 2015, an average of 149 students received Keep Me Kettering scholarships for an overall total of $1,359,122

The Keep Me Kettering fund gives other students opportunities

“I think graduates at Kettering are very fortunate for what they have and the education they received,” Willis said. “The experience they gained through Co-op and the support companies provided have been tremendous, and I think students should give back. Not everybody can give, but for people who have the means, this is an opportunity to help future generations of students be successful and enable them to continue paying it forward to helping others.”

Jim and Lenore Kolhoff feel the same way. Instead of making one contribution, the couple created an endowed fund, the Jim ’84 and Lenore ’84 Kolhoff Scholarship, which recipients can use toward tuition. They established the fund in October 2020.

Both Electrical Engineering majors, the Kolhoffs credit Kettering for providing them a strong foundation that led to successful careers at General Motors. Both worked at GM for more than 30 years. Lenore retired as a manager in the infotainment area, while Jim retired as a director of software engineering for GM Powertrain. 

“We both know how hard it was to be successful at Kettering, but we also know that a Kettering degree can be a game-changer in your professional life,” Jim said. “So, we decided we wanted to help relieve the financial stress of the student recipient so they can focus on being successful as a student.”

To learn more about making a gift to the Keep Me Kettering Scholarship Fund, contact the Office of Annual Giving at (810) 762-9759 or



by our faculty and staff who supported Kettering with gifts in 2021.