Kettering University Capstone Project
Kettering University (formerly the "General Motors Institute") is a university in Flint, Michigan, offering degrees in engineering, the applied sciences, and management. The campus is located along the scenic Flint River on property that used to be the main manufacturing location for General Motors. It is named after inventor Charles Kettering.
The university boasts that the majority of its' seniors are employed or accepted to graduate schools before graduation and that one out of 15 alumni either own their own business or are high-level managers in leading companies (see Notable Alumni). Although the school's undergraduate class is small with approximately 2,400 students, it graduates one of the largest mechanical engineering graduating classes in the United States annually and is consistently ranked by US News and World Report as one of the best schools in the country for an undergraduate engineering education without PhD programs.
The history of Kettering University is deeply tied to the development of the American automotive industry. The school was originally founded as The School of Automotive Trades in 1919 by Albert Sobey under the direction of the Industrial Fellowship of Flint as a night school, training individuals for careers in industry. In 1923 the school became known as the Flint Institute of Technology. General Motors acquired the school in 1926, renaming it General Motors Institute.
GMI focused on creating leaders for business and industry (sometimes called the West Point of Industry) and pioneered many educational firsts including the co-op program (following the development of this program at the University of Cincinnati in 1907), a freshmen level manufacturing course, and automotive degree specialties. Acceptance to the school included a job at General Motors as an engineer. Work and school were mixed in six-week rotations. Because General Motors used the school to train its engineers, tuition was partially subsidized. A fifth-year thesis requirement was added in 1945, along with the ability to grant degrees.
In June of 1980, with the entry of the Graduating Class of 1985, co-op rotations were expanded to twelve weeks. After General Motors reduced its operations in Flint, the company and the University became separate entities in 1982, although General Motors continued to hire co-ops from GMI. The name of the institution at that time became GMI Engineering & Management Institute. The letters GMI were retained to allow easy identification with the old General Motors Institute, although officially GMI didn't stand for General Motors anymore. As part of this change new co-op employers began participating with the institution, one of the first non-GM sponsors being Magna International of Canada, and the University began charging a full tuition fee.