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Charles F. Kettering: Science of Automotive Engineering, 1936

Leader and Teacher

With his aptitude for invention and business, Kettering became an influential leader and a lifelong teacher. He was an enthusiastic spokesman and promoter of the power of technological progress, pursuing his interests in all modern ideas and methods. At General Motors, he brought a new cooperative-learning approach to the education of employees: in 1926 the General Motors Institute (developed from the Flint YMCA School of Automotive Trades) began training employees with a combination of classroom theory and practical experience in the workplace.

The Kettering Foundation for Medical Research was founded in 1927, and in 1945, Kettering joined Alfred P. Sloan in founding the Sloane-Kettering Institute for cancer treatment. His sister had died from a neck tumor in 1944 and his wife, Olive, died two years later from pancreatic cancer. As befits a member of the Horatio Alger Society, The Kettering Foundation exemplifies its founder's social philosophy on researching the relationship between democracy and the public.

Later on, Kettering suffered a number of strokes yet continued as a consultant to General Motors throughout his life. Charles Kettering (nicknamed "Boss Ket") died on November 25, 1958, in his Dayton, Ohio, home.