Duane McKeachie began his teaching career at General Motors Institute, GMI, in 1949. Duane attended the University of Michigan where he earned a Master’s Degree in Mathematics. GMI, circa 1949, was a much different place than Kettering University, 2016. Duane recalls that “classes were held Monday through Friday and Saturday mornings; non-teaching terms for faculty were nonexistent; and the class/work sessions were four weeks – Kettering University is an intense place; GMI at that time was a very intense place”. Upon arriving at GMI, Duane joined the Mathematics Faculty; however a Department of Mathematics was not formally created until 1991. Some of his colleagues in the 1950’s included Robert Brown, Ed Czarnecki, Wendell Grove, and Doyle McOwen. Duane retired from Kettering University in 1999, and taught as an adjunct Professor of Mathematics until 2006. Duane McKeachie taught at GMI/Kettering for a total of 57 years, a record that will very likely never be matched. “I truly enjoyed teaching at GMI/Kettering; I especially enjoyed interacting with the students and with my colleagues”, said Duane.
Robert (Bob) Brown was one of Duane’s colleagues. Bob started teaching at GMI in 1955. Prior to joining the Mathematics Faculty, Bob served during World War II on a cruiser in the Pacific; after leaving the military, he worked at the FBI crime lab in Washington, DC. Bob, as all who knew him will recall, was a gentleman; always well dressed – I doubt he ever taught a class without a sports coat and tie; courteous to students and colleagues when courtesy was appropriate; and always considerate. Bob enjoyed Detroit-Tigers baseball, fine dining, and relaxing with a perfect Rob Roy cocktail (a Rob Roy consists of scotch and vermouth; equal parts sweet and dry vermouth produce the perfect Rob Roy). Robert Brown retired in 1995 and passed away in 2013. His ashes are interred at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Michigan.
Duane McKeachie and Bob Brown were great friends and dedicated teachers. The institution that these men worked at and helped create has changed over the years. The Department of Mathematics now offers a major with strong concentrations in Applied & Computational Mathematics and Actuary Science; and we have introduced a number of courses to support our programs. Creating and naming a Faculty Student Lounge after Duane McKeachie and Bob Brown as a means of honoring two of the many individuals who initially, in the 1950’s, helped forge the Mathematics Department of today seems like a very good idea. The Duane McKeachie-Robert Brown room is meant to be a place where students and faculty can meet for coffee, conversation, and discussions about calc, de, and nums, - Alumni are always welcome.
Professor of Mathematics
Kettering University requires that all named facilities be externally funded. If you would like to contribute to the McKeachie-Brown Student Faculty Lounge please note this on your contribution to Kettering University.