Capital Campaign next step in long tradition of philanthropy

Founded in 1885, the Georgia School of Technology was built upon a foundation that has, in the 125 years since, been shaped by the vision and the philanthropy of those who have come before us.
Philanthropy in higher education is an American tradition with roots that trace back to 1636 with the establishment of the first college in the American colonies.  Three years after its founding, the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony decreed that the college would be named in honor of its first major donor, John Harvard. Shortly thereafter, the young college sent three clergymen from the Massachusetts Bay Colony back to England in order to raise funds for the struggling college. It was a fateful trip for the three: one remained in England, never to return to America. So too, did another, who was hanged for crimes committed under British law. Only one of the fundraising clergymen returned to America, a year later, with £500 to support Harvard College.
The philanthropic traditions, begun in the 17th century, continued as colleges and universities were founded across the nation—traditions which have endured here on North Ave. since its earliest days. Philanthropy is inexorably intertwined with Tech’s past, present and future, and fulfills the vision of the Institute. Generations of Tech alumni, parents, friends, foundations and corporations have provided the foundation for those who are here and for those who will come.
Philanthropy is alive and well today on our campus, linking the generations to each other. Next time you are walking on The Hill, look down and you will see the landscaping provided by reunion classes who have come before you.  Look up at Tech Tower, and you will see that the building honors Lettie Pate Evans, Tech’s largest donor whose legacy still provides the Institute significant funding.
Tech received its first estate gift through the Will of Julius L. Brown in 1910. In establishing the Julius L. Brown Professorship, he stated that only the income from his gift should be used each year, and the principal should remain untouched. “I wish [the principal] to be kept intact so as to do all the good that this fund will do, for I believe the Georgia School of Technology is worth all the Georgia colleges combined.”
Now, there are multiple Brown Professors, including the 2007 recipient of the National Medal of Science, Mustafa El-Sayed. Other donors have followed the path of Mr. Brown, and today, one full-time professor in eight holds a named professorship or chair.
Philanthropy has fueled innovative research and provided integral support for students through scholarship programs such as the G. Wayne Clough Georgia Tech Promise program, which was developed to ensure that no qualified students from Georgia be denied a Tech education due to parental income. Duane Carver, ECE ‘10, was among the first entering freshman class to receive a G. Wayne Clough Georgia Tech Promise scholarship when the program was founded in 2007. This academically gifted student from Brunswick, Ga. came from a family with limited financial resources. Thanks to Tech Promise, Duane Carver was able to enroll at Tech and complete a Computer Engineering degree in three years.
We follow in the tradition of those who have come before us—who have laid the foundations for us—leaders such as J. Erskine Love, Larry Gellerstedt, Jr., Ivan Allen, Jr., Charlie Yates, Pete Silas, Al West and John F. Brock III, the Chair of the current campaign effort. Brock, along with four dozen alumni and friends regionally, nationally and internationally, will join the ranks of volunteer philanthropists in keeping the tradition of philanthropy alive for the benefit of future generations.
Today, the next chapter of  Tech philanthropists will come together for a public announcement of a $1.5 billion campaign effort to run through December 2015. We invite all members of the campus community to join us at 3 p.m. at the Student Center Ballroom.  Come and be a part of history.


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