The halls were decked with blue and gold for Kettering University Commencement exercises Saturday, Dec. 10. Of a total of 357 candidates (290 undergraduates and 67 master's), around 240 graduates marched while more than 1,800 family and friends looked on.
An honorary Doctor of Engineering degree was awarded to Steven Wozniak. Known as the Wizard of Woz, Steven Wozniak helped found Apple Computers and invented one of the first computers, the Apple II. An industry pioneer, Wozniak had an active hand in making the word "computer" a household word. In 2000, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, credited with helping launch the personal computer industry.
"The Wizard of Woz," when asked about his contributions to the PC industry and how it has affected everyday life said, "when we first envisioned computers in the home we saw their role as much simpler than what it has become. We thought they would be good for word processing and games," he said. "We didn't see them being used for music, entertainment and mail."
Wozniak was pleased to be receiving an honorary degree from Kettering. He said when he was younger he didn't appreciate awards and honors as much as he does now.
In addition to Wozniak, other Commencement speakers included the undergraduate student speaker Connie Marie Fullerton, of Ypsilanti, Mich., a President's Medal winner, who received a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering, and graduate student speaker Grzegorz Piotr Slota of Sterling Heights, Mich., who received a master's degree in Engineering.
All in the Family The Michalak brothers, Chris and Matt, have taken familial togetherness to a new level. The pair are graduating Dec. 10 after attending Kettering together in the same degree program, Mechanical Engineering, and doing a term of study abroad together in Germany in the Spring of 2004.
Chris, 21, admits that toward the end of their stint in Germany the togetherness was wearing thin. "We spent a few weeks traveling separately before returning home," he said.
Tucking his Engineering degree under his arm, Chris Michalak plans to join his father's tax and financial planning business and eventually earn an MBA. "I would like to eventually do business start ups and venture capital," he said.
Matt, 25, is deviating from engineering after graduating as well, choosing to spend four months with SCORE International doing mission work in the Dominican Republic. After that he said he's keeping his options open.
"I think the study abroad term made a big impact on us both," said Matt, "it whetted my wanderlust, but it is a wanderlust with a purpose." A transfer student, Matt earned an associate's degree from Washtenaw Community College before coming to Kettering.
Originally from Saline, Mich., the Michalak brothers are graduates of Saline High School.
Written by Dawn Hibbard