Bright Future

Unveiling Our Bold Future

The Learning Commons will be the feather in the University’s cap when it’s complete.

As the academic hub for collaborative interactions and flexible learning spaces, the 105,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility will feature technology-enriched gathering spaces, a digital library, an open food court and an approximately 200-seat auditorium. 

Officials broke ground on the project Feb. 5, 2020, and excitement continues to grow as the facility gets closer to completion in Summer 2022. The $63 million project is funded with money from grants and donations.

A gift from Bob and Marcie Oswald has funded the atrium in the new Learning Commons.

University President Dr. Robert K. McMahan gives Bob (‘64, EE) and Marcy Oswald a tour of the Learning Commons. The first-floor reception area will be named after the couple as a result of their gift.

Eugene Miller (’49, IE; ’51, Business Administration)

Eugene Miller (’49, IE; ’51, Business Administration)

Funding the future

For many alumni, donating to the University, specifically the Learning Commons, is about building a strong future for Kettering and its students. 

“Thanks to GMI, now Kettering University, I received the best education in the world,” said Eugene Miller (’49, IE; ’51, Business Administration). “We need problem-solvers now more than ever, and my gift will make sure that Kettering students learn in a technological, collaborative and hands-on learning environment that prepares them for industry careers and community service.”

Miller’s donation will name the auditorium’s pre-function space, which will be used by students, faculty, community visitors and industry representatives as a gathering space for pre- and post-presentations and events.

The first-floor reception area will be named after Bob Oswald (’64, EE) and his wife, Marcy, as a result of their gift. He said he thinks the Learning Commons will give students an interactive and exciting environment in which to learn.

“We are committed to the continued success of Kettering and see that the concepts included in the Learning Commons will be a major factor toward this goal,” Oswald said. “The resulting learning environment will allow more effective collaboration for an outstanding educational experience. The Learning Commons will make Kettering a ‘benchmark’ for the contemporary learning environment. We are pleased to be able to be a part of this effort!”

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Construction Update

The exterior building facade grows closer every day to look like our final product. The final section of our stone veneer is nearly completed, with final trim installed on our glass and glazing systems. The concrete rainscreen is half complete, and the metal panel sections polish out our entrances.

Inside, 90 percent of the drywall is installed, and the final finishing is complete on the upper floors. The exposed ceilings and some wall surfaces received their first coat of paint. We also are laying out suspended ceiling systems and installing hangers. Utilities continue to be roughed in ceilings and walls, while miles of cables are being pulled throughout the building.

The team is in the process of procuring technology, audio-visual and security systems, landscape and irrigation systems as we pull together final selections for furniture, fixtures and equipment.


A modern recruiting tool

Hank Fracalossi (’56, Dealer Management) also thinks the Learning Commons will help recruit students to the University. His gift will name the media kiosk on the third floor. He recently watched Dr. McMahan’s video updating donors about the facility and came away impressed.

“It’s great,” Fracalossi said. “I think the whole thing will get students interested in going to Kettering.”

Chuck Gray (’87, ME) agreed with Fracalossi. Gray and his wife, Nancy (’86, ME), have funded the fabrication lab on the first floor.

“First and foremost, we have to attract the best and brightest potential engineers and business leaders, so I think this is a really important achievement in modernizing the facilities, and the way that the Learning Commons has been designed will bring people to campus and to the school,” he said. “… I’m looking at the Learning Commons as an adult, but I think it has components to be attractive to today’s graduating students, and it will cause many of them to say, ‘I want to be there.’”

For students, a space of their own

In addition to the impressive architecture, Gray said students will like the large spaces that give them the opportunity to work and socialize in the same area.

“It’s collaborative, it’s modern, it fits [students’] lifestyles,” he said. “It has a large open feel, but also many varied gathering areas and all sorts of facilities and conveniences to help make students successful.”

While Bradford Grems (’00, ME) hopes the Learning Commons attracts students to Kettering, his reason for donating is a little more personal.

"The vision I have on it, it’s relative to the next generation that’s coming in, and I think about my kids," he said. 

Grems, and his wife, Lisa (’00, ME), have two children, ages 12 and 14, who both have their eyes on Kettering.

“Particularly my son. He has an engineering head,” Grems said. “I think about what his experience will be like, and I think about how the Learning Commons will just make it so great. Not that my experience was bad, it was incredible, but I think it’s incredible-plus for him and my daughter.”

Learning Commons
Learning Commons
Learning Commons

Dedicated to bettering Kettering

In addition to making a gift, Grems also serves on the alumni subcommittee for the campaign. He said he uses his “dad hat” when speaking with other alumni about giving.

“A lot of people think about how great their experience was and how they can make it better with this structure,” Grems said. 

Giving to the Learning Commons reinforced the Charles J. Strosacker Foundation’s history of supporting higher education institutions and young people’s future.

“This is important because Kettering is a unique school dedicated to STEM undergraduate and graduate work,” said Kimberlee Baczewski, the foundation’s Executive Vice President. “An innovative building will help support their mission and hopefully bring more people to campus.”

Interested in being a part of Kettering’s innovative future by giving to the Learning Commons? Visit or call (800) 955-4464.  

“First and foremost, we have to attract the best and brightest potential engineers and business leaders, so I think this is a really important achievement in modernizing the facilities, and the way that the Learning Commons has been designed will bring people to campus and to the school."

Chuck Gray (’87, ME)

Excitement for Learning Commons Growing as Completion Nears

The Learning Commons isn’t complete, but it’s already creating a buzz on campus.

“I think everyone is excited about it,” said student tour guide Chase Philport (’23, EE). “All of the tours I give, when I tell people about it, they all think it’s cool.”

Philport recently toured the facility with University President Dr. Robert K. McMahan and two families. 

“I love the architecture of it,” Philport said. “I really like the open design. It’s kind of reminiscent of the Campus Center with its tall atrium, but obviously, it’s much bigger. I think it’s going to be a sweet place for students to work.”

World-renowned architectural firm Stantec designed the 105,000-square-foot, $63 million structure. Stantec has designed academic facilities in 37 states and provinces across North America. The four-story, state-of-the-art, multi-use facility will serve as the academic hub of campus.

“Students use all of the d.spaces a lot, and everybody always likes to work in groups, whether that’s at Greek houses, in friend groups or clubs,” Philport said. “I think the Learning Commons will be a nice, new, futuristic-style building that will offer more spaces for people to work together, and in general boost the mood and attitude of the Kettering student body. Having new things on campus like that is exciting.”

He said he’s looking forward to the new food court and amphitheater as well as enjoying the outdoor, grassy areas.  

“I am looking forward to grabbing lunch and hanging out wherever in the Learning Commons because there are so many cool places to overlook different areas and a lot of nice places to sit with your friends,” Philport said.

While current students will enjoy the space, he said the Learning Commons could also help convince potential students to choose Kettering.

“The library has been redone and parts of the Campus Center have been redone with some tables and furniture and stuff, but now we have this whole new building that is like the other stuff you would see at other universities and colleges where you go there and think, ‘This is the future for someone like me who is from a small town in the middle of nowhere,’” Philport said. “That’s kind of a cool, attractive thing for incoming students and an uplifting thing for active students.”

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