In light of women’s history month, the Technique conducted an analysis of the 82 on-campus buildings and facilities at Tech named after people and found that only five are named after women. These are Crosland Tower, the Evans Administration Building– colloquially, Tech Tower; Fitten Hall, Mewborn Field, and the Swann Building.
This leaves 87.3% of campus buildings included in the analysis as endowed in the name of or named after men. Only 6.3% of the buildings are named after women, and the same percent are named after couples.
The Technique’s analysis found that 29.9% of buildings were named for former administrators, while 26% of the buildings were named for donors to the University. In addition 23.4% of buildings were named for alumni and 16.9% after former or current professors.
Crosland Tower is named after Dorothy M. Crosland, a longtime head librarian who played a key role in the formation of the modern College of Computing. She was the president of the Georgia Library Association from 1949 to 1951, and oversaw the construction of the Graduate Addition, the part of the library that was posthumously named after her in 1985. Crosland also was a key player in the discussion to allow women to attend day classes at Tech, surveying colleges around the country to determine which offered degrees in STEM fields to women and advocating the interests of women in the state of Georgia to Rutherford Ellis, the chair of the Education Committee at the Board of Regents.
Crosland also was a significant contributor to the formation of the School of Information, later known as the College of Computing; she convened conferences in 1961 and 1962 to this end. Under her leadership as head librarian, she grew the Tech library collection from around 21,000 books to over 480,000 by her retirement in 1971. Crosland traveled far and wide to collect books for Tech, and was the first civilian librarian to visit Europe after the war.
Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans was the wife of Joseph Brown Whitehead, who approached the Coca-Cola company about bottling their drinks. Coca-Cola agreed, and gave them an exclusive contract and the family became community leaders once they moved to Atlanta in 1903.Upon the death of Joseph Brown Whitehead in 1906, Lettie took over the bottling company and its assets. She sold the bottling operation to the Coca-Cola Company in exchange for stock, and became the first woman on the Coca-Cola Company’s board of directors. She donated millions of dollars to Tech and other schools, and the fund she established during her lifetime continues to give millions of dollars to those in need.
Shirley Clements Mewborn was one of the first two female graduates from Georgia Tech, earning her degree in Electrical Engineering in 1956. She became the first woman to serve as president of the alumni association, and was known for her speeches about perseverance and leadership, and even guest-coached for the Tech women’s basketball team. She was a charter member of the first sorority at Tech, and went on to work for Southern Engineering Company after graduating.
James Swann donated nearly 20,000 dollars to Tech towards a new dormitory, and dedicated it to his late wife, Janie Austell Swann. This building is now home to the School of Modern Languages.
Louise M. Fitten was a prominent Atlantan, and left Tech an endowment valued at 1 million dollars in her will.
The amount at the time was the largest one endowment from an individual in Tech’s history. A scholarship was established in her name for “outstanding and deserving students.”