Kettering University Kicks Off Next Century With Tech-Centric Learning Commons


Flint, MI — February 8, 2020

Last week, Kettering University officially broke ground on a 105,000-sq.-ft, state-of-the-art, multi-use facility that will serve as the academic hub of the campus.

“This new facility represents a watershed investment in Kettering’s students, faculty, staff and the Flint community,” said University President Dr. Robert K. McMahan, who was joined by Flint community leaders including Mayor Sheldon Neeley, special guests, University students, staff, and faculty during the morning ceremony that celebrated the start of construction. “Investments like the ones we are making have a host of far-reaching implications – first and foremost, to our students. Through these investments, we boldly affirm our commitment to providing an academic environment that remains unrivaled anywhere in the country.”

Kettering University Learning Commons

The $63 million, four-story building will house a digital library, an auditorium, dining facilities, media resource centers, and multiple workers spaces that focus on mobility, artificial intelligence, and collaboration between students, faculty, and industry.

Also announced at the groundbreaking, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has granted $12.5 million to Kettering University toward building the Learning Commons and intends to grant up to an additional $12.5 million based on the project’s progress.

“We’re focused on strengthening the education continuum in Flint from cradle to college and career,” said Ridgway White, president, and CEO of the Mott Foundation. “Kettering has played a vital role in that continuum for more than a hundred years. We’re pleased to support the Learning Commons to help propel Kettering into its second century and to continue attracting high-quality students and talent to our community.”

Designed by globally renowned architectural firm Stantec, the open-concept, natural light Learning Commons is part of the University’s Boldly Forward strategic initiative campaign – the largest in Kettering’s history. The building project will be facilitated by Clark Construction of Lansing, Mich., and multiple Flint- community contractors and is expected to be completed by Spring 2022.

According to Kettering University Board of Trustee and Boldly Forward Campaign Chairman Gary Cowger, the future of the university is bright.

“This campaign – and in particular, this building – is an example of what can be accomplished when we collectively commit to building something extraordinary for generations of students and our entire community,” said Cowger, who along with his wife Kay personally made a $1 million investment in the Learning Commons.

“When we launched the Boldly Forward campaign in June 2019, it was truly a bold venture. But the University’s priority was to make the Learning Commons a reality. And now less than a year later and thanks to the generosity and support of alumni, donors, the local community, friends and many others, this is a reality,” said Susan L. Davies, Vice President of University Advancement and External Relations. “What an exciting and perfect way for our students, staff, and faculty to embrace the next century and the future of Kettering.”

Kettering University’s most recent construction is the Kettering University GM Mobility Research Center, an internationally acclaimed research facility and proving ground in Fall 2018. The only one of its kind in the United States, the 21-acre facility includes a 3.25-acre customizable all-weather test pad built to race track performance specifications, a 3,000-square-foot annex with secured and private spaces for prototype development, temperature-controlled environment, drive-thru bay, heavy-duty two-post vehicle lift and more. It also includes Level-II EV charging options and supports various fuel sources, including gasoline, propane, natural gas, and hydrogen.

For more information, go to

About Kettering University

Kettering University, formerly known as GMI, is a Flint, Mich.-based private, nonprofit university recognized as one of the nation’s premier science, technology, engineering and business leaders in higher education. Dedicated to offering a curriculum that uniquely integrates classroom learning with experiential co-operative opportunities, Kettering consistently places in U.S. News & World Report’s listing for elite specialty schools. The University has more than 27,000 feet of lab and research space used by faculty, students and industry collaborators, and boasts the only ABET-accredited applied physics program in the world. It also houses the first and only FIRST Robotics Community Center in the United States. According to a 2019 analysis of federal data ranking 4,500 schools nationwide, Kettering University degree holders have the highest lifetime return on investment (ROI) in the state of Michigan. The University celebrated its centennial year in 2019. For more, go to