Robert Sweet, pioneer of technical education, impacted thousands of lives
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., July 11, 2012
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., July 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With great sadness, Universal Technical Institute, Inc. (NYSE: UTI) today announced the passing of the company's founder Robert Sweet. He passed away on July 9, 2012, at the age of 87.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Bob Sweet," said Kim McWaters, chief executive officer of Universal Technical Institute. "He was an industry visionary and pioneer, and his commitment to providing quality training has been the driving force behind our company's innovation for 47 years. During this difficult time, we're sending our deepest condolences to the Sweet family, and all of those who knew and worked with him."
A 1948 graduate of State University of New York at Oswego, Sweet received his degree in Vocational Education. In 1965, Sweet founded UTI in Phoenix with eleven students, two classrooms, and an idea to provide the relevant training needed to repair automobiles. At that time, there were negative cliche images of people who loved working with their hands and on vehicles, and society at-large tended to either dismiss the mechanically gifted or take them for granted. Sweet knew better, and understood that with the right training, graduates could enter the workforce with skills that would last a lifetime.
Throughout his years at UTI, Sweet focused on providing high-quality training delivered in a professional manner to students who were eager to put their skills to good use. Often quoted as saying, "Buildings don't teach, people do," his business philosophy was to adhere to standards of excellence and instilling a sense of pride and ownership in his employees. By doing so, Sweet not only transformed UTI but also the technical education industry.
Today, UTI is known as the nation's leading provider of post-secondary education for students seeking careers as professional automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine technicians. The company has 11 campuses across the country, with an average undergraduate enrollment of more than 16,000 students.
In 1991, Sweet retired from UTI, but continued to remain close to the organization. In his later years, Sweet was actively involved with the UTI Foundation, which provides scholarships and assistance to UTI students. In 2010, the 45th anniversary of UTI, the UTI Foundation established a scholarship in his name to recognize his lifetime achievement, leadership and vision.
Sweet leaves behind his wife Bobbie Sweet, children; Mitchell (Lydia) Sweet, Cheryl Sweet, Pauline Sweet Walker, Suzanne (Bill) Reddy, Leslie (Bob) Fleischer, Meg (David) Miller, Howard (Patty) Fischer, Edward (Laurie) Kohn, Julie (Barbara Halpern) Kohn, Ted (Kelly) Kohn, and grandchildren; Stephan (Annie) Sweet, Jennifer Sweet, Aaron (Myra) Reddy, Jamie Reddy, Kevin Reddy, Cory Mitchell, Evan Mitchell, Noah Mitchell, Zach Miller, Mara Miller, Paul Hernandez, Tracy Hernandez, Ryan Hernandez, Patrick Hernandez, Abigail Kohn, Casey Kohn, Holly Kohn, and Evan Kohn. Memorial services were held today at Sinai Mortuary, 4538 North 16th St., Phoenix, Ariz.
He is remembered by all for his fairness, candor, and commitment to providing quality education for deserving students.
In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes in Robert Sweet's honor may be directed to the UTI Foundation at www.utifoundation.net.
About Universal Technical Institute, Inc. Headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, Universal Technical Institute, Inc. (NYSE: UTI) is the leading provider of post-secondary education for students seeking careers as professional automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine technicians. With more than 160,000 graduates in its 47-year history, UTI offers undergraduate degree, diploma and certificate programs at 11 campuses across the United States, as well as manufacturer-specific training programs at dedicated training centers. Through its campus-based school system, UTI provides specialized post-secondary education programs under the banner of several well-known brands, including Universal Technical Institute (UTI), Motorcycle Mechanics Institute and Marine Mechanics Institute (MMI) and NASCAR Technical Institute (NASCAR Tech). For more information visit www.uti.edu. Like UTI on www.facebook.com/UTI or follow UTI on Twitter @UTITweet, @MMITweet, and @NASCARTechUTI.