Former Institute president John Patrick “Pat” Crecine died in his home in Pittsburgh, Pa. at age 68 on Monday, April 28, 2008. As Tech’s ninth president, Crecine led the institute from 1987 until his resignation in 1994.
During this time, Crecine became best known for his restructuring of the college system, which included the creation of the College of Computing, the College of Sciences and the predecessor to what is now the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.
The colleges developed out of a single catchall college named COSALS, the College of Sciences and Liberal Arts, which also absorbed the College of Management until it was restored when current president Wayne Clough succeeded Crecine in 1994.
“Not only did President Crecine create [the three colleges] that would have equal rank, if not size with the College of Engineering, but that level of reorganization turned Georgia Tech from a regional engineering school to the technological university that it is today,” said Peter Freeman, Dean Emeritus and Founding Dean of College of Computing.
Crecine is also credited with having a large part in bringing the 1996 Summer Olympics to Atlanta. He created a multimedia presentation for the International Olympic Committee in September of 1989 that portrayed Atlanta as the city of the future with 3-D digitized graphical models of how Atlanta would look in 1996. Non-existent facilities were overlaid in proposed sites, making Atlanta seem the perfect fit for the high-tech theme of the Centennial Olympic Games.
“Pat Crecine had a vision for Tech to be a school that operated at a more international level…. and Crecine grasped immediately that [the relationship between the Olympics] and Tech’s greater global scope were symbiotic,” said August Giebelhaus, HTS professor and historian who chronicled Crecine’s presidency.
The Olympics not only left Tech a legacy as a more internationally recognized school, but also the more tangible legacy of the West campus apartments and the aquatic center, which is now the CRC.
“Pat’s work with the leadership of Atlanta to bring the Olympics to town reconnected the city and Georgia Tech, and I think that one thing will be a legacy of Pat Crecine and the Olympics,” said Robert McMath, former assistant dean of the Ivan Allen School of Liberal Arts under Crecine.
Crecine created the Freshman Experience programs and began the process of trying to improve student life.
“For a very, very long time, Georgia Tech was know as an institution with almost a boot camp-like reputation… what Pat Crecine addressed was a change in the ethos on campus making Tech a less intimidating landscape,” Giebelhaus said.
Crecine was known on campus as a “perfectionist and a visionary,” Giebelhaus said.
“Crecine would have been proud to be remembered as a change maker. At times he ruffled feathers in his aims for his vision for Tech … but in the end, Pat will leave a legacy of being the stepping stone to bring Tech into the future as the technological university it is known as today.”