Georgia Institute of Technology

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Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Institute of Technology Seal

MottoProgress and Service
Established 1885
School type Public University
President G. Wayne Clough
Location Atlanta, GA, USA
Enrollment 16,500 undergraduate and graduate
Faculty 800
Endowment US$719 million
Campus Atlanta, 400 acres (1.61 km²)
Sports teams Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, NCAA Division 1A. 8 men's varsity teams, 7 women's. Tech Athletics

The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is located in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. With over 16,000 students, Georgia Tech is one of four public research universities in the University System of Georgia. Founded on October 13, 1885 as the Georgia School of Technology, it assumed its present name in 1948. Georgia Tech is best known for its programs in engineering, though it also offers degrees in architecture, science, management, computer science, and liberal arts. It has the nation's top industrial engineering program, as well as one of the top aerospace engineering programs. The Institute's current president is Dr. G. Wayne Clough.

Unlike similarly-named universities (such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology and California Institute of Technology), Georgia Tech is a public institution.

It is one of the Engineering Ivies.

The school

Georgia Tech's campus in midtown Atlanta was the site of the athletes' village, and a venue for a number of athletic events for the 1996 Summer Olympics. It was also the home of early radio station WGST AM from 1924 to 1930.

Georgia Tech is also sometimes called the North Avenue Trade School, although this was never its official title. The name stems from the fact that the campus is bordered to the south by North Avenue, and that the school, in its earlier years was operated much like a trade school, with students working part of the day in a machine shop, and the other part of the day in classrooms.

Consistently ranked among the top engineering schools in the world and one of the top ten public universities in the United States, Georgia Tech has been broadening its programs by strengthening its undergraduate and graduate offerings in other fields. For example, its Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts includes degree programs in the humanities and social sciences (often with a distinct science-and-technology focus), such as public policy, international affairs, economics, modern languages, history and sociology, communication and cultural studies, and digital media.

Georgia Tech has one of the most unbalanced male-to-female ratios of any co-ed university with almost three times as many male students as females. However, this is slowly changing, presumably due to the university's growing liberal arts programs, as well as outreach programs to encourage more female high school students to consider careers in science and engineering, such as the "Women In Engineering" program.

In 1999, Georgia Tech began offering local degree programs to engineering students in Southeast Georgia, and in 2003 established a physical campus in Savannah, Georgia. Georgia Tech Savannah offers undergraduate and graduate programs in engineering, and boasts a robust research program with many activities centered on coastal concerns. It is also home to the regional offices of the Georgia Tech Economic Development Institute and the Advanced Technology Development Center.

Georgia Tech also operates a campus in France, known as Georgia Tech Lorraine. Georgia Tech Lorraine is known for a much-publicized lawsuit pertaining to the language used in advertisements; see Toubon Law.

The university further collaborated with the National University of Singapore to set up The Logistics Institute - Asia Pacific in Singapore.

Campus, buildings, and other structures

The Georgia Tech campus is located in Midtown, an area north of downtown Atlanta. Although a number of skyscrapers are visible from all points on campus — most notably the headquarters of both BellSouth and The Coca-Cola Company as well as Atlanta's tallest building, the Bank of America building — the campus itself has few buildings over a few stories and has a great deal of greenery. This gives it a distinctly suburban atmosphere quite different from other Atlanta campuses such as that of Georgia State University or Emory.

The campus is organized into four main parts: West Campus, East Campus, Central Campus, and Technology Square. West Campus and East Campus are both occupied primarily by student living complexes, while Central Campus is reserved primarily for buildings used for teaching and research. Technology Square, located across the Downtown Connector and embedded in the city east of East Campus, is home to the College of Management, the official school bookstore, a hotel, as well as offices for a number of faculty and graduate students, the Graphics, Visualization, and Usability Center, the Georgia Tech Economic Development Institute, and Georgia Electronics Design Center research groups. The buildings in Technology Square also host a variety of small businesses as well as business ventures spawned by Georgia Tech research.

West Campus is occupied primarily by apartments and coed undergraduate freshman dormitories. The Campus Recreation Center (formerly the Student Athletic Complex), a volleyball court, a large, low natural green area known as the Burger Bowl, a large, and a flat artificial green area known as the SAC Field are all located near the western side of the campus. Also within easy walking distance of West Campus is City Cafe, which is open 24 hours, Rocky Mountain Pizza, and Engineer's Bookstore, an alternative to Georgia Tech's official bookstore. West Campus is also home to a music club operated by students called Under the Couch [1] as well as a small diner and convenience store, West Side Market. Due to limited space, all auto travel proceeds via a network of one-way streets which connects West Campus to the larger campus roads Ferst Road and Hemphill Avenue. The dining hall for West Campus, the Woodruff Dining Hall, or 'Woody's', is part of the Woodruff student dormitory.

East Campus houses all of the Fraternities and Sororities as well as most of the undergraduate freshman dormitories. Although the residences are similar, East Campus is decidedly more urban than West Campus. It abuts on the Downtown Connector, which is infamous for its traffic and suffers from high pollution during peak hours. However, via a number of bridges over the highway as well as a tunnel under it, East Campus has quick access to Midtown and its businesses such as The Varsity as well as having access to Tech Square. Georgia Tech's stadiums, such as the famous Bobby Dodd Stadium, are located on East Campus, and tech Square is accessible on foot from there. East Campus's dining hall, Brittain, is modeled after a medieval church, complete with carved columns and stained-glass windows showing symbolic figures. While much more architecturally appealing than Woodruff, Brittain's food is consistently ranked below West Campus alternatives. The main road leading from East Campus to Central Campus is a sharp incline referred to as "Freshman Hill" or simply "The Hill."

A view of Skiles Walkway from the Student Center, facing east

Reserved primarily for academic, research, and office buildings, Central Campus has no residences. Buildings like the Howey Physics Building, the Boggs Chemistry Building, the College of Computing, the Skiles building, which houses the math and humanities departments, and the Ford Environmental Science & Technology Building, provide the various academic functionalities of the campus. Intermingled with these are a variety of research facilities, such as the Centennial Research Building, the Pettit Microelectronics Research Center, the Electronic Research Building, and the Petit Biotechnology Building. Tech's administrative buildings, such as the Student Services Building (Flag Building), Tech Tower, and the Bursar's Office are also located here. However, Central Campus doesn't altogether lack places to waste time; it has a large library with sizable computer clusters, a small traditional eatery called Junior's Grill, as well as a large communal building for students, called the Student Center. The Student Center includes a number of eating places, computer clusters, a game room, the Post Office, a darkened Music Listening Room. In front of the Student Center is a fountain monument called the Kessler Campanile, which students often refer to as 'The Shaft'. Yellow Jacket Park, the area of Central Campus in front of the Student Center, has many trees and benches around its edges but the center is kept open and uninterrupted.

Some areas of Central Campus, such as the Boggs Chemistry and Industrial Engineering buildings, are more accessible from West Campus. Others, such as Skiles, Junior's, Tech Tower, and the library are more accessible from East Campus. East Campus has foot access to Tech Square, but Tech Square can also be reached from anywhere on campus via the Tech Trolley transportation system.

Tech traditions

Tech has a number of legends and traditions, some of which have persisted for decades.

  • Stealing the T: Tech's historic primary administrative building, Tech Tower, has the letters TECH hanging atop it on each of its four sides. A number of times, students have orchestrated complex plans to steal the huge symbolic letter T, and on occasion have carried this act out successfully. The T was then returned at its traditional time, and the student's achievement celebrated. Stealing the T is sometimes also called climbing. Although the administration used to turn a blind eye to this practice, it is now officially discouraged, due to the risk of fatal falls and the potential for damage to the building. Security features such as pressure sensitive roof tiling and fiber optic cabling running throughout the letters have been added to the T to help prevent its theft and aid in catching the perpetrators. The last successful stealing of the "T" occurred in the spring of 2001 by two members of Beta Theta Pi named David Moeller and Jimmy Henderson. Tradition dictates that the first T to be stolen should be the one facing east, as this can most easily be seen from the Downtown Connector. [2]
  • The Whistle: A steam whistle that blows five minutes before the hour, every hour from 6:55am to 5:55pm. This tradition is a hold over from the trade school days, originally used to mark the end of a shift in the shops; now it is used both to mark the end of classes and as a ten minute warning to the beginning of the next classes.
  • Triple Play: This is a shorthand term for executing 3 or more of the several officially discouraged traditions. They include stealing the T, swimming naked in the president's pool, climbing the coliseum, climbing the stadium lights, and jumping off the 10 meter high dive.
  • To Hell With Georgia: Georgia Tech has an ongoing rivalry, mostly in sports, with another school in Georgia, the University of Georgia, often simply called Georgia for short. An annual issue of the school newspaper, The Technique, focuses on this rivalry with an issue that spoofs The Red and Black, the newspaper of the University of Georgia. "To Hell With Georgia" is also known as "The good word." If one student asks another "What's the Good Word?" the response is always "To Hell with Georgia!"
  • RAT Caps: Every year new freshmen are given yellow caps and a number of freshmen wear yellow baseball caps throughout the year, most notably freshmen band members. RAT is short for 'Recruit At Tech,' although freshman are sometimes addressed as RATS, or 'Recently Acquired Tech Students' [3]. The RAT caps are decorated with the football team's scores, the freshman's major, expected graduation date, and "To Hell With Georgia" emblazoned on the back of the cap. Freshmen caught not wearing the cap had their hair forcibly shaved into the shape of a T, however anti-hazing laws eliminated this threat and (by proxy) widespread usage of the RAT caps. The tradition of RAT caps is maintained mostly by the marching band.
  • George P. Burdell: The legendary imaginary student George P. Burdell is said to possess nearly every degree Georgia Tech offers, after many students took a variety of classes in his name. Since the 1960's, some students have managed to ensure that George P. Burdell is always enrolled at the university in the school's registrar's computers. The initial forged enrollment was performed in the era of computer punch cards. When Tech switched to online class registration, Burdell managed to get his name on the roll for every single course offered that term. After initially vigorously searching for the hackers, the university has since accepted the presence of George P. Burdell in every year's class. George P. Burdell is also a common tool for pranks at various school events and games. His name is paged over the stadium intercom at nearly every away sporting event.
  • The Cumberland Game [4]: College football game with the largest margin of victory in history. In 1916, Georgia Tech's football team (coached by the legendary John Heisman -- for whom the trophy is named) defeated Cumberland 222-0. Cumberland's total net yardage was -28 (minus 28), and it had only one play for positive yards. Neither team got a first down (Georgia Tech scored every time it got the ball). Cumberland beat Georgia Tech's baseball team 22 to 0 the previous year.
  • 41-38: Score of two momentous victories by Georgia Tech over the University of Virginia in college football, hence a Tech rallying cry whenever the two teams meet. In 1990, Virginia won its first seven games and had a #1 ranking in both polls. Undefeated but unheralded Georgia Tech came into Scott Stadium in Charlottesville and beat the Cavaliers 41-38 on a last-second field goal by Scott Sisson. In 1998, the first year since 1990 that both teams had come into this game with high hopes, #25 GT hosted undefeated #7 UVa, and again pulled off the upset. This time, the Yellow Jackets came from three touchdowns behind and survived a 54-yard FG miss by UVa kicker Todd Braverman as time ran out. Since then, any time the two teams have met with rankings and bowl positions on the line, GT fans have used "41-38" as a rallying cry.
  • Sideways the Dog: Sideways was a black and white female dog, who, after having been involved in a car accident, was forced to walk sideways. She was a favorite of the students, and often slept in a different dorm room every night, being fed through the generosity of the student body and Brittain Dining Hall. She died after accidentally ingesting some rat poison in one of the dorm rooms, and was buried (sideways) on the grounds near Tech Tower. A plaque marks her resting spot and briefly tells her story.
  • Drownproofing: From 1936 to 1987, Tech offered a class called Drownproofing which was required for graduation. The class, developed by Coach Fred Lanoue [5] for the Naval School which was located at GT prior to and during WWII, taught students how to float in water for extended periods of time with ankles and wrists bound, swim the length of an Olympic-sized pool and back underwater, and other water survival skills. At the time it was considered a prime example of the difficulty of Tech's curriculum.
  • The Bank of America Building, the largest high-rise building in the south, and the largest building in any US state capital, has a lighted, gold-leafed crown atop the building that was designed, according to popular myth, for a Ga Tech Architecture PHD. It is said that the design was originally rejected by the advisor to the project in the school of architecture, but the designer sold the plan to Kevin Roche, the head architect on the design project for the building. Now anyone in the school of architecture, or anywhere else on the campus, cannot help but see the building towering just several blocks east of campus on North Avenue.
  • Anak Society -- The only official Secret Society on campus.
  • I'm a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech, the Tech fight song.
  • Getting Shafted: Getting shafted is what happens pretty much any time you get a raw deal. The physical manifestation of the notion is the Kessler Campanile (A shaft like structure near the Student Center).
  • Getting Out: Getting out refers to graduating from Tech. I didn't graduate in 1996, I got out in 1996.
  • Theodore Roosevelt: Visited Tech October 20, 1905 and shook every student's hand.
  • See the T-Book traditions [6] for more traditions.
  • Virgin Graduation: When a virgin graduates, the whistle blows seven quick times in the style of "shave and a haircut - two bits".

Distinguished alumni

Distinguished alumni and students include:


Not many schools of Tech's relatively small size (around 16,000) and high academic standing (top 5 among engineering schools, top 10 among public schools, top 40 among all schools) do as well or better in the "big three" traditional American sports. Eliminating schools which are not state-supported, there are only a handful.

The school's sports teams are variously called the Yellow Jackets, the Ramblin' Wreck, and the Engineers, but the official nickname is Yellow Jackets. They participate in NCAA Division I-A, in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The school mascot is Buzz. The school's traditional football rival is UGA; the rivalry was, at one time, considered one of the fiercest in college football. The rivalry is commonly referred to as Clean Old Fashioned Hate.

Tech's fight song "I'm a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech" is known worldwide. It was adapted from an old drinking song ("Son of a Gambolier"), and embellished with trumpet flourishes by Frank Roman. In 1959, then VP Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev sang it together when they had their famous cold war confrontation in Moscow, to reduce the tension. Nixon didn't know any Russian songs, but Khrushchev knew that one American one. It was sung on the Ed Sullivan show. It was played in space. Gregory Peck sang it while strumming a ukulele in Man in a Grey Flannel Suit. John Wayne whistled it in The High and the Mighty. It is played after every GT score in a football game. If GT is winning big, the opponent fans get sick of hearing it. The Edwin H. Morris & Company (later acquired by Paul McCartney's company, MPL) obtained a copyright in 1931.

There are multiple explanations for where how the term "Ramblin' Wrecks" became associated with Georgia Tech. The most plausible is that many GT engineering grads found jobs in the jungles of South America in the early 1900s, where they concocted mechanical contraptions to tame the jungle and get around. The first Ramblin' Wreck of record was a 1914 Ford Model T owned by Floyd Field, Tech's first dean of men. In 1961, a gold and white Model A, known as the Ramblin' Wreck, led the team onto the field for the first time, and it has done so at home games ever since.[7] The annual "Ramblin' Wreck" parade at Homecoming displays some really strange contraptions, judged for ingenuity.

Tech has seventeen varsity sports. In men's sports, in addition to football, basketball, and baseball, there's golf, tennis, swimming & diving, track & field, and cross country. For women, there's basketball, softball, volleyball, tennis, swimming & diving, track & field, and cross-country. Fourteen of these sports finished in the top 25 during the 2004-5 school year.


Georgia Tech's football team plays at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field, the oldest on campus stadium among Division I-A teams. Georgia Tech claims 4 national championships in football: 1917 under the legendary coach John Heisman; 1928 under William Alexander; 1952 under the famous Bobby Dodd; and, 1990 under Bobby Ross. The team is currently coached by Chan Gailey, who is best known for his stints with the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers. As of the end of the 2004 season, Tech is one of only eight Div. I-A teams which have played in at least eight straight bowl games. Only 5 schools have longer bowl streaks. Georgia Tech's winning percentage of .667 in bowl games is the best in college football among teams with 20 bowl appearances. The Yellow Jackets are 22-11 in bowl games as of 2004. During the Dodd glory years of the early 50s, Tech won six bowls in six years, back when there were few bowls. In 1955, it was the first school to win what were then considered the four major bowls: Rose, Orange, Sugar, and Cotton .


Georgia Tech's men's basketball team plays at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The team is currently coached by Paul Hewitt. The Yellow Jackets advanced to their first NCAA finals in 2004, losing to UConn. In 2005, the Jackets lost to the University of Louisville in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament.

The 2005-2006 team, after losing rising senior Jarrett Jack to the NBA, features two upperclassmen and nationally ranked sophomore and freshmen recruiting classes.

Bobby Cremins, the previous coach, led Georgia Tech to several NCAA basketball tournaments and finished with a 354-237 record. The Yellow Jackets reached the NCAA Final Four in 1990 under Cremins with his "Lethal Weapon 3" team featuring Brian Oliver, Dennis Scott, and Kenny Anderson. The basketball court at Georgia Tech was later named Cremins Court for Cremins' accomplishments.


Georgia Tech's baseball team is currently coached by Danny Hall. The Yellow Jackets are frequently ranked in the Top 10 at the beginning of the season, and almost always finish in the Top 20. Tech has advanced to the NCAA playoffs in 19 of the past 20 years. Tech has been to the College World Series twice, in 1994 (when it lost the Championship game) and 2002. GT is second only to Stanford in players named to the USA Baseball National Team over the years. In 2005, Tech won the ACC Championship (regular season & tournament) and its regional, but lost it super-regional to the University of Tennessee. A new 3500-seat baseball stadium was built in 2002. The name of the old stadium, Russ Chandler Stadium, was retained, and it's still affectionately referred to as "the Rusty C." There are always a number of Tech alum in "the bigs." Two of them were among the starters in the 2005 "All Star Game."


Georgia Tech is consistently ranked near the top in golf. The success of several alumni on the pro circuit is testimony to the quality of GT players.

Women's sports

Tech's softball, volleyball, and tennis teams have improved dramatically in recent years. Individuals have excelled in track & field and swimming & diving.

Student life

The downside to being considered one of the most elite and toughest engineering schools in the world plays itself out on the students' social life. Because of the heavy workload at Georgia Tech, most students are overly stressed, worried about tomorrow's test, and driven by the desire for the degree. Students have only minimal time for social functions. Compounding this problem greatly are the fact that a majority of the students are from in state and many spend weekends and free time at home, and the heavily skewed population by sex (approximately 70% male).

This has led to strong reputation within the school of it being more of a test of spirit than an enjoyable life experience, as well as a number of disturbing statistics. For five years in a row, the Princeton Review, a private review of colleges on many levels across the US (one of the institutions by which Ga Tech openly lays claim to its reputations for excellence in engineering) ranked Ga Tech amongst the top 10 most hated schools by its own students, and in the top 3 worst party schools, by a poll of students. US News and world report, in a nationwide review of college binge drinking and alcoholism, ranked Ga Tech 17th for alcoholism nationwide-the only school on the danger list that wasn't also in the top 50 party schools that year. In 2003, the School of Psychology found that nearly 30% of students polled on campus showed signs of antisocial alcoholism, or knew another student who expressed similar signs.

The school has made great strides to correct these issues, to limited success. Most notably have been the FASET (Familiarization and Adaptation to the Surroundings and Environs of Tech) and Freshmen Experience (a freshman only dorm life program to encourage friendships and a feeling of social involvement) programs, encouraging freshman and new transfer students to become involved in social activities and extracurricular activities on campus. Part of the importance of the Freshmen Experience program comes from the schools high rate of underclassmen dropouts who are discouraged by lack of a social scene in their first year of college and daunted by the average time taken by most students to finish their undergraduate degrees(only 24% of freshmen make it to graduation in 4 years). The most notable improvement that the school has actively undertaken is to increase female student recruitment, with the incoming freshman class in 2004 having the highest incoming female percentage in recent history-almost 35%, largely due to increasing the number of liberal arts majors offered.

Georgia Tech in movies

Certain shots from the tour portions of the movie Road Trip (2000) (when Tom Green's character is giving the tour) were shot on Georgia Tech's campus. Buildings filmed include the main library (look for a fountain with no water in it) and Skiles classroom building.

The Georgia Tech library was also featured as the library at the fictitious Atlanta A&T University in the movie Drumline (2002). Tech is also mentioned by name in the movie, when the only white student at the black university is asked (jokingly) "what's the matter, not enough black kids at Georgia Tech?"

The Georgia Tech football team was portrayed near the end of the 1993 film Rudy. In a famous scene from the movie, the title character finally gets a chance to play for the University of Notre Dame as he is put into the ballgame towards the closing moments of the Irish-Yellow Jacket matchup. There are some inaccuracies in the portrayal.

The Tech campus, especially Rose Bowl Field football practice area and the former Heisman Gym were used in filming the 1984 movie, The Bear, starring Gary Busey as Paul "Bear" Bryant.

The 1993 Touchstone Pictures movie "The Program" (starring James Caan as the coach, Omar Epps and Craig Sheffer as players, and Halle Berry and Kristy Swanson as co-eds), features (at the start and near the end) Georgia Tech (in gold helmets with white GT logo, blue and then white jerseys, and gold pants) playing a fictional "ESU" team" (with garnet and gold colors suggesting FSU).

In the movie, "Devil's Advocate", starring Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves, Pacino tells Reeves that one of the interns on their law firm goes to Georgia Tech.

As mentioned in an earlier section, Gregory Peck played and sang the world-renowned "Ramblin' Wreck" fight song in "Man in a Gray Flannel Suit" and John Wayne whistled a bit of it in the 1954 movie "The High and the Mighty" (after convincing the captain to attempt to make it to San Francisco rather than ditch the plane in the ocean). It was no doubt carefully selected as a sign of success, since Georgia Tech was in its glory days of football, winning six bowl games in six years and being named National Champion by one organization in 1952.

Scenes for various other movies have been filmed on the Tech campus, mostly in front of, or in, fraternity houses.

The movie "Hyderabad Blues" depicts a graduate student returning home to India to face his parents proposals of marriage. The student is Nagesh Kukunoor who is seen wearing a Georgia Tech T-shirt. Additionally Nagesh attended Georgia Tech as a gradaute student before turning to producing movies.

Georgia Tech in books

"John Heisman: Principles of Football" [Hill Street Press, 2000] describes the philosophy and plays used by the great John Heisman, Tech's first paid coach.

"Dodd's Luck" [Golden Coast Publishing, 1987] describes Bobby Dodd's highly successful football coaching career in his own words.

In Tom Wolfe's "A Man in Full" novel, the central character, a developer named Charlie Croker (who was a former 250-lb GT football player), is pressured by Atlanta leaders to support Fareek Fanon, a modern, black, Georgia Tech football star who may or may not have raped the white socialite daughter of a prominent Atlanta businessman; while the girl's father pressures Charlie to denounce the accused football player. [8]

In B. B. Rose's novel, "Halls of Poison Ivy", Georgia Tech is the setting of the murder of a graduate student. The administration and several students feature prominently in the ensuing mystery.

Student media


  1. ^ Under the Couch
  2. ^ GT Tower with T missing
  3. ^ RATS
  4. ^ The Cumberland Game
  5. ^ Coach Fred Lanoue
  6. ^ T-Book traditions
  7. ^ Book review
  8. ^ Ramblin' Wreck

External links

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