Scholarships That Shape Welding’s Future

The AWS Detroit Section helps develop the next generation of welding professionals in the Detroit, Michigan area by providing welding scholarships to students who are attending universities, community colleges, and trade schools.

We provide scholarships to students who are attending universities, community colleges, and trade schools. This year the AWS Detroit Section has awarded 33 welding scholarships totaling $64,000. This Scholarship program is of utmost importance to the Detroit Section and feedback and ideas from all concerned is greatly appreciated. The scholarship process for the 2024-2025 school year will begin December 2023.

Scholarship Night

The AWS Detroit Section hosts Scholarship Night at our September Technical Meeting to honor students who have received scholarships.

2023-2024 AWS Scholarship Recipients at Student Night

2023-2024 Scholarship Winners

On September 28, 2023, the AWS Detroit Section was extremely excited to honor students who received scholarships. This year the ceremony was held at Wayne State University where 33 students were recognized for their achievements and scholarship awards. 

In Memoriam – Bruce Gordon Kelly (April 7, 1938 – November 18, 2023) 

(Obituary page available here)

Michael Karagoulis (AWS Detroit) – AWS Detroit just lost a true gentleman and a welding legend. I met Bruce Kelly at GM in 1982, when he recruited me (a freshly graduated metallurgist) to assist with troubleshooting some difficult resistance welding problems. I barely knew what a resistance weld was but his electrical and machine knowledge seemed to pair well with my knowledge of metallurgy. Together we tackled a number of challenging welding problems for GM over the next 20 years. Bruce was much more than a fellow engineer to me. Nineteen years my senior, he became my mentor, and was always available to offer keen insight on systemic production / management problems, or on life in general.

            It also seemed like Bruce had a plan for my professional life, and I thrived in it. He recruited me to attend the AWS Sheetmetal Weld Conference in 1986. Then he recruited me to join AWS. And then he recruited me to run for the AWS Detroit Section Executive Committee. Bruce was always willing to help AWS Detroit with any task, great or small. I caught his spirit of volunteerism and also did a lot of AWS service. In his later years, as faltering health prevented him from attending as many AWS meetings, he remained electronically engaged with AWS Detroit and did a lot of scanning, archiving, and printing projects for us from his home office. He was an awesome example of humble, lifelong service toward a greater cause – the mission of AWS.

            I was broken-hearted to hear of his sudden passing; I will especially miss our monthly “Lansing Weld Mafia” breakfast tradition, which continued for years, where we always considered Bruce to be the Godfather.

 On behalf of AWS I offer our deepest condolences to Bruce’s wife JoAnn, his children Len and Amy, and to their spouses and children.

 Here is what several of his welding colleagues from around the country had to say when asked for input for this article:

 Mark Rotary (AWS Director) – Bruce was one of the biggest supporters and he will be sorely missed.

 Don DeCorte (RWMA & AWS) – Bruce was a big man with an even bigger heart! He always had time and an answer for you. What a true gentleman and scholar! So friendly and always sharing knowledge and wisdom.

 Dave Bacon (Update Technology) – Bruce was an awesome guy, and we were lucky to have him with us. He always had my highest regard, I will miss him. I presume Heaven will have no welding problems from this point forward. I hope we all learned everything we could from him, I know that will give him a lot of satisfaction.

 Phillip Temple (AWS Director) – I am saddened to learn of Bruce’s death. The few times I worked with him he was the consummate gentleman and would do whatever he could to help others and especially, AWS.

He will be missed! This is just another reminder that we need to cherish each day and the wonderful friendships we have as a welding community. My condolences to his family and close friends!

 Kenneth Martz (Comau) – I am sad to hear that Bruce has passed away. When I first started interacting with the AWS Detroit section circa 2010, I knew Bruce as a friendly and welcoming person who would be in charge of the name cards, little did I know his involvement in the welding community. I got to know Bruce a little more in 2018 when I was an assistant chair for the SMWC tutorial and then in 2022 we worked together to get the AWS section photos on a AWS server that could be accessible to others. My condolences go out to his close friends and family, he will be missed and his contributions in the welding community will be forever cherished.

 Jim Osborne (Ford) – Since Bruce & I were employed by cross-town rivals, we worked together on AWS presentations like the resistance welding schools, Sheet Metal Welding Conferences & the Welding Handbook.  Additionally , he transcribed records for the R. E. Olds museum in Lansing. So sad to lose such a gracious talent.

 Jennifer Padron (AWS Miami – Standards) – It is with a heavy heart that I share the news of the passing of our esteemed committee member, Bruce Kelly. Throughout his impressive tenure, Bruce contributed significantly to the work of multiple AWS technical committees and his dedication and expertise were instrumental in the development and publication of numerous American National Standards in the areas of resistance welding and automotive welding. Bruce was a dedicated and valued member of many AWS Committees including the Resistance Welding (C1), Automotive Resistance Spot Welding (D8D), Resistance Welding for Railroad Application (D15D), and Resistance Welding Equipment (J1).

            Bruce’s impact extended far beyond his technical contributions. With 30 years of service at General Motors, he was not only a clever thinker and innovator but also a mentor to many welders in our resistance welding community. His leadership was particularly evident during his tenure as the Chairman of the AWS C1 Committee on Resistance Welding and J1A Task Group on Specification for Resistance Welding Controls, where his insights and guidance played a crucial role in advancing the field of resistance welding.

            The American Welding Society is grateful for Bruce Kelly, not just for his technical prowess, but also for the kindness, mentorship, and camaraderie he brought to our resistance welding community. His contributions have left an indelible mark, and he will be dearly missed.

            We extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to Bruce’s family, friends, and all who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this challenging time.

 Gary Haskell (GM Lansing) – A great mentor

 Tom Jones (GM Tech Center) – Bruce was one of a kind, and very good man. I remember when I first came to GM, he had no hesitations to answer any questions I had… and went into as much detail as needed. He will be sorely missed! My deepest sympathy to the family.

 Scott Britton (GM Lansing) – Where do any of us start that knew the real Bruce Kelly!

Like you, I spent extensive time with Bruce on Seam Welding of fuel tanks, projection welding, and spot welding. My first real time spent with Bruce was in 27B Hood Welder area. There had been a material change on the “A” car platform hoods to aluminum… Back in those days they had the old Robotron weld controllers with ignitron tubes… Working with Bruce on that truly convinced me of Bruce’s talent. We seemed to develop a good respect for one another during that event that lasted for decades to follow. On a side note, Bruce could really eat a large quantity of pizza compared to the rest us.

 Robert Wilcox (Ford) – Bruce was a good friend and always a good worker supporting AWS; he will be missed

 Forrest Lissner (AWS Detroit) – Beth and I met Bruce on our wedding night – we were seated next to him and his wife at Ladies Night in 2018. He championed the digital storage of the AWS Detroit memories for all to enjoy for a lifetime.

 Mike Palko (Ford) – I’ll miss Bruce’s smiling face behind the registration table of the Sheet Metal Welding Conference. Bruce gave his time and energy to making the conferences successful for as long as I can remember.

To donate to the family of Bruce Kelly, follow the Patrons PayPal Payment Link below

Become a Patron

Please show your support for future generations of weld technicians and engineers by becoming a patron. To make a donation to the scholarship fund, make your check payable to AWS-Detroit Section, and mail it to Steve Gucciardo, at the AWS Detroit Section Patrons Committee. You can contact him at (810) 623-6508 or [email protected]. PayPal is available to complete transaction.

Our Patrons

Our sincere thanks and gratitude go out to all of our patrons who provide the funding for our scholarships. These scholarships are used for associate’s certificates in welding technology, as well as two-year programs for students pursing a bachelor of science in manufacturing technology.