KUSARA will add world class research facility to campus

May 14, 2014

“KUSARA will be a fantastic tool for faculty to take concepts discussed in the classroom and immediately let students test those concepts in a facility that replicates what they would experience in industry,” said Dr. Craig Hoff, Mechanical Engineering Department Head.

The KUSARA facility will be constructed on property owned by Kettering University within Chevy Commons.

Published in the Spring 2014 issue of Kettering Magazine

An exciting new project by Kettering University has the potential to completely reshape the campus, the community and give Kettering an innovative facility to continue delivering a world class education to the next generation of engineers, entrepreneurs and global leaders.

The Kettering University Student Automotive Research Area (KUSARA) is a cornerstone of the University’s Four Strategic Pillars. KUSARA will turn a piece of Kettering-owned land on the “Chevy in the Hole” property into a vibrant and useful space for the University and the Flint community. KUSARA will be an automotive and motorsports proving ground to be used by faculty and students as well as by community and industry partners to host events, to conduct research, and to provide exceptional educational opportunities.


In 2012, Kettering University implemented four strategic pillars – optimized growth, global leadership, community vitality and engaged stakeholders. These pillars provide the strategic framework that guides all of the University’s work, and all four are perfectly highlighted as components of the KUSARA project.

“As people travel campus from the new I-69 corridor from Hammerberg Road, passing the newly opened Powers Catholic High School and new Michigan School for the Deaf buildings approaching Kettering, the first sight they’ll see is an incredible automotive testing and research facility as the gateway to our campus,” said Kettering University President Robert McMahan. “This facility will not only provide unparalleled educational opportunities for our students, it will also serve as a model for creative redevelopment of brownfields and industrial land nationwide.”

The optimized growth pillar articulates Kettering’s intention to provide an education that appeals to students seeking premier instruction heavy in applied and experiential learning. KUSARA will give students a unique opportunity to learn engineering principles by engaging in a wide range of activities in a state-of-the-art facility that very few colleges in the country could offer to students. KUSARA will give Kettering another great facility, to go along with many existing labs and spaces on campus, that undergraduates will have access to as soon as they step on campus. That level of immediate access to labs and facilities for undergrads remains one of the strongest differentiators between Kettering and peer Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) institutions around the country.

“KUSARA will be a fantastic tool for faculty to take concepts discussed in the classroom and immediately let students test those concepts in a facility that replicates what they would experience in industry,” said Dr. Craig Hoff, Mechanical Engineering Department Head. “It will also give our formula, baja, clean snow and aero SAE teams a great facility to test and improve their competition vehicles. In the past, students have done a great job making use of limited places – sometimes even on the streets surrounding campus – to test their vehicles. This proving ground will give them a facility that ensures they will continue to build on already impressive performances they’ve had in competitions.”

The outcome of a Kettering education is to produce global leaders in STEM fields. KUSARA will complement the strong grounding in theoretical instruction students receive in the classroom with an amazing facility to immediately allow students to test that theory in a real environment. KUSARA will enhance Kettering’s already nationally ranked reputation as a STEM and business university.

Kettering’s future success is intrinsically tied to its community vitality efforts – the University is fully invested in improving its community, region, state, country and world. The KUSARA project will take a portion of property that is currently unused in the city of Flint and transform it into a beautiful facility that serves as a gateway to campus and the rapidly beautifying surrounding area. KUSARA will also serve as a national model for how cities can productively reuse and redevelop industrial brownfields. KUSARA will also attract leading researchers, industries and revenue opportunities to Flint.

The key to not only KUSARA’s success, but also Kettering’s success as a whole will be creating a culture of engaged alumni and stakeholders. KUSARA not only provides an opportunity for alumni and donors to ensure that Kettering continues to provide a leading education for future students, it will give opportunities for alumni to conduct research, host or participate in events and help provide access to many industry partners.

KUSARA will be utilized to educate the nation’s finest engineers to fulfill workforce needs for automotive and other related industries. It will enhance Kettering University’s rich tradition of excellence in educating the nation’s finest automotive and motorsports engineers by providing an outdoor laboratory to be used to develop and test vehicles. In doing so, KUSARA will attract the nation’s top students to study and research automotive and motorsports engineering in Flint, Michigan.

For information about how you can support KUSARA, contact Cara Boeff at (810) 762-9746 or cboeff@kettering.edu.

Visit Kettering.edu/True for more information about the University’s mission, vision, values and strategic pillars.

Written By Patrick Hayes | Contact: Patrick Hayes - phayes@kettering.edu - (810) 762-9639