As a alien resident of Georgia, I can’t let this anniversary pass.
Happy Birthday to Georgia Tech!
Georgia Institute of Techonology was created by the State Senate on this date in 1885 as a part of the Reconstruction of the South after the Civil War. Never mind, that Reconstruction ended in 1877 – officially, that is.
One of the goals of Reconstruction was to build an industrial economy and society in the devastated Confederacy. GIT or as it became known later on, Georgia Tech was a huge part of the plan.
Since Atlanta, like the rest of the South was pretty much in the crapper, and the enslaved workforce had been freed, many survivors realized agriculture wasn’t the way to bring the South back. Two former Confederate officers, former Major and industrialist, John Fletcher Hanson and future governor Nathaniel Edwin Harris, figured the South needed to ramp UP its technology if it was going to compete with the Nawth! The Southern revolution may have failed, but the industrial revolution was in full swing.
Richard Peters, a member of one of the families who pioneered Atlanta, donated four acres for the school, and sold an additional five acres for $10,000. There were two building to start, Tech Tower being one.
In October of 1905, President Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech from the steps of Tech Tower addressing the importance of technical education. He then proceeded to shake hands with every student!
Things have changed a bit. 120+ years later, Tech takes UP a huge portion of Midtown Atlanta, and is one of the most respected schools around. It boasts some pretty impressive alumni too. Former President and Nobel Prize Winner, Jimmy Carter went there as well as the Naval Academy. And Kary Mullis Won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993. Joe Rogers, Sr., co-founder of Waffle House went there too…that may explain why the coffee is perfectly engineered! A plane load of Astronauts went there, including Florida’s John Young. And you can’t swing a cat at NASA without hitting a Tech Grad!
And we can’t leave out the artists. Jeff Foxworthy went there, and so did Dance Master Arthur Murray. Nagesh Kukunoor of Bollywood fame was a Ramblin’ Wreck too.
And speaking of Ramblin’ Wreck, the fight song was adopted around 1908 when it was first published in The Blue Print, Tech’s year book. Adopted from an old drinking song…big surprise…it is known world wide. To ease the tensions between President Nixon and The USSR’s Nikita Krushchev, and since Tricky Dicky didn’t know any Russian songs, and Trickier Nicky knew the Tech Fight Song since he’d heard on the Ed Sullivan Show, the two world leaders performed a duet!
So, on this auspicious day, Go Jackets!