Two honorary degrees Dec. 3

Nov 19, 2004

Two alumni will receive Honorary Doctor of Engineering degrees during Commencement ceremonies in December.

For service to their Alma Maters, two Kettering University alumni will be presented Honorary Doctor of Engineering degrees during Commencement services Dec. 3.

E. Michael Mutchler '57, who served as Kettering's key executive at General Motors for many years, and Charles L. "Bud" Sargent '59, long-time supporter and former chair of the Board of Trustees, will be honored during ceremonies in the Connie and Jim John Recreation Center. Commencement will begin at 4:30 p.m.

E. Michael Mutchler '57
Retired, General Motors Vice President and Group Executive In Charge of GM's North American Operations Powertrain Group and a member of General Motors North American Operations Strategy Board

E. Michael Mutchler, who retired from the General Motors Corp. after more than four decades of service, has been an industry leader and an important friend to Kettering University. He served as a member of Kettering's Board of Trustees and was the key executive between GM and Kettering for many years.

Mr. Mutchler was born March 13, 1935, in Akron, Ohio. He joined General Motors in 1953 as a co-op student at Chevrolet in Parma, Ohio. He attended Kettering/GMI and was active in fraternity life, the Robot Society, and as the editor-in-chief of the yearbook. He was awarded a bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering in 1957.

After graduation, Mr. Mutchler began his career as a production foreman and subsequently worked as a process engineer and die room supervisor. He transferred to Chevrolet central office in Detroit in 1963, returned to Parma in 1966 and later rose to general superintendent of production before being named plant manager at the Chevrolet Metal Fabricating Plant in Flint in 1972.

In 1974, he was promoted to regional plant manager and returned to Chevrolet central office to manage the axle, brake, and suspension plants. Five years later, he was selected program manager for the 1982 "S-10" truck project at Chevrolet Engineering in the GM Technical Center. Within two years, he was promoted to general manufacturing manager at the AC Spark Plug Division with responsibility for plant operations in the United States and the United Kingdom.

In 1982, he joined the General Motors central office staff as director of organizational studies to develop recommendations for the initial restructuring of the GM North American Operations. He was promoted to general manager of the Rochester Products Division in Rochester, N.Y., in 1983.

Mr. Mutchler was elected a vice president of the General Motors Corp. and group executive of the Electrical Components Group in 1986. With this assignment he served on the General Motors administration committee. In 1988, he was appointed group executive in charge of the GM Truck and Bus Group, a position he held only a few months until a reorganization moved him to the Chevrolet-Pontiac-GM of Canada Group in 1989. The CPC Group included vehicle design, engineering, marketing and sales.

In 1992, the North American car platform organizations were consolidated and Mr. Mutchler assumed the responsibility for the North American passenger car platforms design, engineering, and assembly and Technical Center operations. He served as a member of the North American Strategy Board and the International Strategy Board. He moved to the GM Powertrain Group in 1994 and coordinated studies for the creation of a worldwide powertrain organization, a position he held until his retirement in 1997.

Since his retirement he has joined the board of the Plastic Corp. and become involved in property management in Florida.

His civic involvement includes being a former member of the Coalition of Manufacturing Education, the St. Joseph Hospital Board and he was a key volunteer for the Flint Institute of Arts and former general chairman for the maintenance endowment trust for Flint's Institutes of Arts and Music.

Mr. Mutchler and his wife, Dolores, have been married for almost 50 years and have four children and nine grandchildren. They spend their winters in Florida and summers in Virginia, where he enjoys his collection of antique boats.

Charles L. Sargent '59
President, Quality Boat Lifts Inc.
Fort Myers, Fla.

Charles L. "Bud" Sargent is an engineer, an inventor and product designer, who has enjoyed a long career as a successful businessman and entrepreneur. His strong business sense helped him become a world leader for the recreation vehicle industry and his warm heart has made his name synonymous with service to his school, his community and his industry.

Mr. Sargent was born March 22, 1937, in Flint. He attended Kettering/GMI, where he was active in the Tech Club and served as a co-op with General Motors at AC Spark Plug in Flint. He earned his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1959 and then earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1962.

He began his career with the AC Spark Plug Division in 1962 as a reliability engineer. Within a year, he left General Motors to join his brother Ronald, who graduated from Kettering/GMI in 1958, and his father, Frank, in establishing the Thetford Corp. The company is a leading manufacturer of sanitation and plumbing system products for recreational vehicles. He served as chairman and CEO for the Thetford Corp. from 1974 until his retirement in 1995, when the business was sold. Mr. Sargent holds numerous patents for products in the automotive, recreational vehicle and marine industries.

Today, he is president of Quality Boat Lifts Inc. of Fort Myers, Fla. The company, founded in 1995, is recognized as an innovator and leader in the industry.

He has been an active supporter of Kettering in many ways. Mr. Sargent served on Kettering's Board of Trustees from 1989 until his retirement from the board in June 2004. He is a past chairman of Kettering's Board of Trustees.

He is a long-time member of Kettering's President's Council and with his father Frank Sargent funded the development of the "Sargent Lounge" in Kettering's Connie and Jim John Recreation Center, an important meeting area and conference site on campus.

He has been on the board of directors for First of America Bank in Ann Arbor, Mich., Kalamazoo, Mich., and Tampa, Fla. He has also been a director for Stirling Power Systems and Thermasan Corp. Mr. Sargent is a past president of Barton Hills Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

His civic service includes being elected to the board of education for Lincoln Schools in Ypsilanti. He is a former director for the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association and was a member of the National Sanitation Foundation Corporate Industry Forum.

He has won several awards for career achievement, including the Harvard Business School Club of Detroit Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1981, the Kettering/GMI Alumni Association Entrepreneurial Achievement Award in 1987, and the Kettering/GMI Alumni Association Engineering Achievement Award in 1999.

Mr. Sargent and his wife, Nancy, have three adult children. They reside in Bonita Springs, Fla., and Bay Harbor, Mich.

Written by Patricia Mroczek
(810) 762-9533