Tech academics, sports and salaries excel

My past 5 years at Tech have led me to believe that our institute truly has the right stuff, and other schools, for the most part, don’t. This “right stuff” was also discussed in the recent book “The World is Flat” by Thomas Friedman, and has been the topic amongst other journalists looking for another good campus example to cite.

Let’s go over some of the basics first. Tech generally has high admission standards, both to undergraduate and graduate school. SAT scores remain high, and for most of Tech’s graduate programs, students need a GRE math score in the high 700’s.

Tech’s engineering programs rank amongst the highest in the country, including a #1 ranked Industrial Engineering program and my #3 ranked Biomedical Engineering program (US News and World Report).

Recently on The Tonight Show, President Obama stated that “instead of — a smart kid coming out of school, instead of wanting to be an investment banker, we need them to decide if they want to be an engineer, they want to be a scientist, they want to be a doctor or a teacher.”

Well, let’s see what just comes out of Tech. Tech has increased the number of engineering degrees awarded by 29% in the past decade, and has seen an 75% increase in the number of Ph.D.s awarded. Programs like Teach for America are grabbing many Tech students, and our nanotechnology building is nearly finished.

Looking back at Tech’s past 30 years, Tech has produced two Nobel laureates in two distinctly different categories, Peace & Chemistry (Jimmy Carter and Kary Mullis).

Those that didn’t even finish their degree at Tech have been successful. Christopher Klaus of Klaus College of Computing fame founded Internet Security Systems (later acquired by IBM), and Jeff Foxworthy swept across the country telling us what we might be had only our house been on wheels.

Within Tech’s past 60 years, the school has produced 14 astronauts, of which 3 were in space at the same time this past fall. Astronauts! Our school features ROTC programs from all three major branches, and alumni military service reaching as far back as the Spanish-American War. Even a GI Joe action figure went to Tech.

Above all, Tech sports a vast portfolio of research, publications and a network of successful alumni working high demand jobs. While we know the economy is slowing down, Tech has prepared students with real skills and the tools for success. According to, the mid-career salary for Tech alumni is $106,000. Our in-state rival, University of Georgia, lists under “top party schools” at $86,000. Tech graduates are being rewarded for entering challenging and valued careers.

Amongst all this success, Tech manages to have NCAA Division I teams across all of the major sports. Tech’s success nationally and internationally makes is difficult to get alumni back to Atlanta to fill the seats of a regular football game, but with last year’s scintillating season, things could change for the upcomming fall.

At a Tech Executive Round Table dinner meeting, I got to hear Coach Paul Johnson speak this semester about the role of the football team at a technical school such as ours.

He noted that unlike other schools, we could not hide our student-athletes in easy programs. His final question to the audience was, “Why should Georgia Tech win?” Tech should win because good schools should have good football teams.

The ACC, which boasts 7 schools in the top 35 public or private colleges according to US News and World Report, hasn’t seen the BCS national championship game since 1999.

On the other hand, athletic power-schools like Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Georgia all fall near the bottom of the NCAA in terms of graduation rates. I believe it has been a privilege to attend a school that both boasts rigorous, rewarding academic standards and Thursday night football games featured on ESPN.

I love Tech and being a helluva engineer. Although I’ll be going across the street to attend Emory for graduate school, I will always be ready to brag about how Tech is better than the rest–better than the MITs and better than the party schools.