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TheStreet Open House

Universal Technical Institute Founder Dies At 87

Stocks in this article: UTI





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.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120711/LA39008)

"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.

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