What You Missed at Kettering University’s 2015 Homecoming and Physics 20-Year Anniversary

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Kettering University’s 2015 homecoming festivities along with the celebration of the Physics Department’s 20th anniversary.  As a physics alumna, I felt especially compelled to visit this year.  I didn’t see all of ya’ll there, however, so here is a rundown of what you missed.


I attended the pub crawl and bus tour that was one of the many activities available over the 3 days and it was surprisingly awesome!  While some (all) of us were a little disappointed not to pick up a dollar-pitcher of moldy PBR from Churchill’s, or survive a trip to the bathroom at Rubes, our more sophisticated, adulty palates appreciated the change.  We went to 3 different places where we had highly decent bar food, interesting craft cocktails and excellent beers, including 501 Bar and Grill at Saginaw and E. 1st Street pictured here:

Cocktails at 501 Bar and Grill, Flint, MI
Cocktails at 501 Bar and Grill, Flint, MI



This club did not exist when I attended the university, but I THOROUGHLY APPROVE.  Our tour guide explained there are grills.  There is meat.  Students show up and eat the meat.  All these key features combine to make it one of the most active clubs on campus.  Yes.  Yes to all of this.  Can I still join?


Ok, this one is a little misleading.  Yes, BJ’s serves beer now, but it’s only granted 4 single-day licenses or so per year which are only used for alumni events.  Still, my buddy and I were compelled to drink a Labatt when we had lunch at BJ’s JUST BECAUSE WE COULD.  And it was everything we dreamed it would be.  The food wasn’t bad either especially when compared with that slop Ernie would feed us that had us camping out in the restrooms.  Remember that?

By the way, BJ’s has been completely revamped and it’s awesome.  They regularly serve food and there are games and great study areas with screens that connect to your laptop.  It’s great.  I’m so damn jealous.

Beers!  At Kettering University's BJ's Lounge
Beers! At Kettering University’s BJ’s Lounge


As Kettering University was once General Motors Institute, a place where people with man parts went to study, it’s always been a bit difficult to locate the nearest ladies’ room.  That was especially so near the library  and by the physics labs.  It was actually noticed finally and something was done about it!  If you’re a former female Kettering student, I know you can share my excitement:

New and Gorgeous Ladies Room at Kettering University AB
New and Gorgeous Ladies Room at Kettering University AB


My fellow alum and I stayed in downtown Flint, near where the bar crawl began and ended up walking, like without a car and everything…through Flint…at night…and no one died!  We actually didn’t feel afraid. Really!  At one point a crack addict did approach us and pestered us for… well, not really sure what she wanted.  There was no attacking or other crimes committed, however.  This was probably the most seriously amazing and weird feeling part of the weekend.


Below is one of the fantastic posters from a session held during the weekend.  I’ll probably write more detail about this specific poster later…  We got to meet several students and they are still sharp and driven and that signature Kettering weird that’s the endearing kind of weird.  It’s good to see not everything changed.

Kettering University Poster Session
Kettering University Poster Session


The new president, Dr. McMahan has gotten a reputation as a savior of sorts, and I can see why.  Around when I graduated around 2006/2007, it was looking like Kettering was getting ready to close its doors forever.  Lots and lots of changes have happened since then which are very difficult to grasp, even still.  The vibe is different.  The staff and faculty have hope.  Building is happening, funding is pouring in, and more building yet is planned.  The concrete desert where GM used to have it’s plant will be a beautiful park, thank you very much Mary Barra.  More housing.  More places for students to want to be on campus.  More restaurants.

Most surprising, however, may have been my own reaction to hearing Dr. McMahan speak.  In prior years, I remember a talk by the president to be always accompanied by groaning and eye rolls from the student body.   This guy is different.  This president very actively communicates with all the people on campus and it is apparent that he genuinely has a passion for turning things around and growing the university into a vision of all it could be.  I think he is one of the most inspiring examples of leadership I’ve ever witnessed and the results of that leadership are already beginning to bear fruit.  In short, the president is not a DB.


Just in case I missed someone who meant to ask us how we met but didn’t have a chance, no, fellow alum who joined me, Glen and I are not dating or married or otherwise coupled up.  Some of the people we met for the first time were actually assuming I never attended the university and was tagging along, but that’s understandable… I guess.   Anyways, just thought I should put that out there.  He’s lovely though, everybody.  And single…like me!


….plus so many more changes that need to be experienced to be understood.  If you have the urge, give in to it and pay the university a visit.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised, too.