Georgia Institute of Technology

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The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A with over 16,000 students is one of four public research universities of the University System of Georgia. Founded on October 13, 1885 as the Georgia School of Technology, it was renamed in 1948 to its present name. Georgia Tech is best known for its programs in engineering, though it also offers degrees in architecture, science, management, computer science, and liberal arts. The Institute's current president is Dr. G. Wayne Clough.

Georgia Tech's campus in midtown Atlanta was the site of the athletes' village and a venue for a number of athletic events for the 1996 Summer Olympics. It was also the home of early radio station WGST AM from 1924 to 1930.

Georgia Tech is also sometimes called the North Avenue Trade School, although this was never its official title. The name stems from the fact that the campus is bordered to the south by North Avenue, and that the school, in its earlier years was operated much like a trade school, with students working part of the day in a machine shop, and the other part of the day in classrooms.

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Georgia Tech's Tech Tower.

Georgia Tech has one of the most unbalanced male-to-female ratios of any co-ed university with more than twice as many male students as females. However, this is slowly changing, presumably due to the university's growing liberal arts programs, as well as outreach programs to encourge more female high school students to consider careers in science and engineering, such as the "Women In Engineering" program.

Consistently ranked among the top engineering schools in the world and one of the top ten public universities in the United States, Georgia Tech has been broadening its programs by strengthening its undergraduate and graduate offerings in other fields. For example, its Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts includes degree programs in the humanities and social sciences (often with a distinct science-and-technology focus), such as public policy, international affairs, economics, modern languages, history and sociology, communication and cultural studies, and digital media.


Campus, buildings, and other structures

The Georgia Tech campus is located in Midtown, an area north of downtown Atlanta. Although a number of skyscrapers are visible from all points on campus — most notably the headquarters of both BellSouth and The Coca-Cola Company as well as Atlanta's tallest building, the Bank of America building — the campus itself has few buildings over a few stories and has a great deal of greenery. This gives it a distinctly suburban atmosphere quite different from other Atlanta campuses such as that of Georgia State University or Emory.

The campus is organized into four main parts: West Campus, East Campus, Central Campus, and Technology Square. West Campus and East Campus are both occupied primarily by student living complexes, while Central Campus is reserved primarily for buildings used for teaching and research. Technology Square, located across the Downtown Connector and embedded in the city east of East Campus, is home to the School of Management, the school's official bookstore, a hotel, and offices for a number of faculty and graduate students, the Graphics, Visualization, and Usability Center, and other small companies.

West Campus is occupied primarily by apartments and coed undergraduate freshman dormitories. Close by is the Campus Recreation Center (formerly the Student Athletic Complex), a volleyball court, a large, low natural green area known as the Burger Bowl, a large, flat artificial green area known as the SAC Field. Within easy walking distance of West Campus is City Cafe, which is open 24 hours, Rocky Mountain Pizza, and Engineer's Bookstore, an alternative to Georgia Tech's official bookstore, the Barnes & Noble. It is also home to a music club operated by students called Under the Couch ( as well as a small diner and convenience store, West Side Market. Due to limited space, all auto travel proceeds via a maze of one-way streets which connects West Campus to the larger campus roads Ferst Road and Hemphill Avenue. The dining hall for West Campus, Woodruff's, or Woody's, is part of the Woodruff dormitory. Woody's serves sandwiches, pasta, burgers, and chicken pattys throughout the day. For the serve yourself crowd, there is pizza, cereal, a salad bar, and a main line. Every day it features two different hand prepared meals to order, such as philly cheese steaks and empanadas. Many consider the food served at Woody's superior to the East Campus dining hall, which encourages many freshamn from East campus to make the trek to Woody's. This inspired the humorous quote, "East Campus Guys take longer to get Woody's".

East Campus houses all of the Fraternities and Sororities as well as all of the single-sex undergraduate freshman dormitories. Although the residences are similar, East Campus is decidedly more urban than West Campus. It abuts on the Downtown Connector, which is infamous for its traffic and suffers from high pollution during peak hours. However, via a number of bridges over the highway as well as a tunnel under it, East Campus has quick access to Midtown and its commercial businesses such as The Varsity. Georgia Tech's sports stadiums, such as the famous Bobby Dodd Stadium, are located on East Campus, and tech Square is accessible on foot from there. East Campus's dining hall, Brittain, is modelled after a medieval church, complete with carved columns and stained-glass windows showing symbolic figures. While much more architecturally appealling than Woody's, Brittain's food does not taste as good as its West Campus alternative. There are no large green areas in East Campus, although there are small courtyards. The main road leading from East Campus to Central Campus is a sharp incline referred to as "Freshman Hill."

A view of Skiles Walkway from the Student Center, facing east
A view of Skiles Walkway from the Student Center, facing east

Reserved primarily for academic, research, and office buildings, Central Campus has no residences. Buildings like the Howey Physics Building, the Boggs Chemistry Building, the College of Computing, the Skiles building, which houses the math and humanities departments, and the Ford Environmental Science & Technology Building, provide the various academic functionalities of the campus. Intermingled with these are a variety of research facilities, such as the Centennial Research Building, the Pettit Microelectronics Research Center, the Electronic Research Building, and the Petit Biotechnology Building. Tech's administrative buildings, such as the Student Services Building (Flag Building), Tech Tower, and the Bursar's Office are also located here. However, Central Campus doesn't altogether lack places to waste time; it has a large library with sizable computer clusters, a small traditional eatery called Junior's Grill, as well as a large communal building for students, called the Student Center, which includes a number of eating places, computer clusters, a game room, the Post Office, the darkened Music Listening Room, and, in front, a fountain monument called the Kessler Campanile, which students often call the Shaft. Yellow Jacket Park, the area of Central Campus in front of the Student Center, has many trees and green areas, but the rest is sparse.

Some areas of Central Campus, such as the Boggs Chemistry and Industrial Engineering buildings, are more accessible from West Campus. Others, such as Skiles, Junior's, Tech Tower, and the library are more accessible from East Campus. East Campus has foot access to Tech Square, but Tech Square can also be reached from West Campus via the Tech Trolley transportation system.

Georgia Tech also operates a campus in France. Its campus in Lorraine, an eastern region of France, is known for a much-publicized lawsuit pertaining to the language used in advertisements; see Toubon Law.

The university collaborated with the National University of Singapore to set up The Logistics Institute - Asia Pacific in Singapore.

Tech traditions

Tech has a number of legends and traditions, some of which have persisted for decades. These include:

  • Stealing the T: Tech's historic primary administrative building, Tech Tower, has the letters TECH hanging atop it on each of its four sides. A number of times, students have orchestrated complex plans to steal the huge symbolic letter T, and on occasion have carried this act out successfully ( The T was then returned at its traditional time, and the student's achievement celebrated. Stealing the T is sometimes also called climbing. Although the administration used to turn a blind eye to this practice, it is now officially discouraged, due to the risk of fatal falls and the potential for damage to the building. Security features such as pressure sensitive roof tiling and fiber optic cabling running throughout the letters have been added to the T to help prevent its theft and aid in catching the perpetrators. The last successful stealing of the "T" occurred in the fall of 1998. Tradition dictates that the first T to be stolen should be the one facing east, as this can most easily be seen from the Downtown Connector.
  • The Whistle: The steam whistle that blows every hour at five 'til the hour from 6:55am to 5:55pm. This tradition is a hold over from the trade school days, originally used to mark the end of a shift in the shops; now it is used both to mark the end of classes and as a ten minute warning to the beginning of the next classes.
  • Triple Play: This is a shorthand term for executing 3 or more of the several traditional, officially discouraged traditions. They include stealing the T, swimming naked in the president's pool, climbing the coliseum, climbing the stadium lights, and jumping off the 10 meter high dive.
  • To Hell With Georgia: Georgia Tech has an ongoing rivalry, mostly in sports, with another top-tier school in Georgia, the University of Georgia, often simply called Georgia for short. An annual issue of the school newspaper, The Technique, focuses on this rivalry with an issue that spoofs The Red and Black, the newspaper of the University of Georgia. "To Hell With Georgia" is also known as "The good word." If one student asks another "What's the Good Word?" the response is always "To Hell with Georgia!"
  • RAT Caps: Although slowly fading into history, every year new freshmen are given yellow caps and a number of freshmen wear yellow baseball caps throughout the year, most notably freshmen band members. RAT, short for Recruit At Tech, the RAT caps are decorated with the football team's scores, the freshman's major, expected graduation date, and "To Hell With Georgia" emblazed on the back of the cap. The tradition of RAT caps is maintained mostly by the marching band.
  • George P. Burdell: Legendary imaginary student George P. Burdell is said to possess nearly every degree Georgia Tech offers, after many students took a variety of classes in his name. Since the 1960's, some students have managed to ensure that George P. Burdell is always enrolled at the university in the school's registrar's computers. The initial forged enrollment was performed in the era of computer punch cards. When Tech switched to online class registration, Burdell managed to get his name on the roll for every single course offered that term. After initially vigorously searching for the hackers, the university has since accepted the presence of George P. Burdell in every year's class. George P. Burdell is also a common tool for pranks at various school events and games. His name is paged over the stadium intercom at every homecoming football game.
  • The Cumberland Game ( College football game with the largest margin of victory in history. In 1916, Georgia Tech's football team defeated Cumberland's 222-0. Cumberland's total net yardage was minus 28, and it had only one play for positive yards. Neither team got a first down (Georgia Tech scored on its first play every time it got the ball). Cumberland beat Georgia Tech's baseball game 22 to 0 the previous year.
  • 41-38: Score of two momentous victories by Georgia Tech over the University of Virginia in college football, hence a Tech rallying cry whenever the two teams meet. In 1990, Virginia won its first seven games and had a #1 ranking in both polls. Undefeated but unheralded Georgia Tech came into Scott Stadium in Charlottesville and beat the Cavaliers 41-38 on a last-second field goal by Scott Sisson. In 1998, the first year since 1990 that both teams had come into this game with high hopes, #25 GT hosted undefeated #7 UVa, and again pulled off the upset. This time, the Yellow Jackets came from three touchdowns behind and survived a 54-yard FG miss by UVa kicker Todd Braverman as time ran out. Since then, any time the two teams have met with rankings and bowl positions on the line, GT fans have used "41-38" as a rallying cry.
  • The Big Teat Alexander Memorial Colliseum is a wide, domed building, with a smaller dome at its top. For years, students would paint the dome pink, with a darker pink on the surmounting dome. The result was to make the building look like a female breast (also sometimes known as "the Nipple").
  • Drownproofing: From 1936 to 1987, Tech offered a class called Drownproofing which was required for graduation. This was a result of the many Tech alumni who went on to serve as pilots in the U.S. Forces, and was intended to help save lives if pilots had to bail out over water. The class taught students how to float in water for extended periods of time with ankles and wrists bound, and other water survival skills. At the time it was considered a prime example of the difficulty of Tech's curriculum.
  • See the [T-Book traditions (] for more traditions.


Famous alumni and students include:


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The school's sports teams are variously called the Yellow Jackets, the Ramblin' Wreck, and the Engineers, but the official nickname is Yellow Jackets. They participate in NCAA Division I-A, in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The school mascot is Buzz. The school's traditional football rival is UGA; the rivalry was, at one time, considered one of the fiercest in college football.


Georgia Tech's football team plays at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Georgia Tech claims 4 national championships in football, in 1917, 1928, 1952, and 1990. The current head coach is Chan Gailey. Georgia Tech has made eight straight bowl games, tied for the longest such streak in the country among active teams. Tech also owns the country's best bowl winning percentage.


Georgia Tech's men's basketball team is currently coached by Paul Hewitt. The Yellow Jackets advanced to their first NCAA finals in 2004, losing to UConn. The team has been consistently ranked in the Top 25 since the 2004 season. In 2005, the Jackets lost to the University of Louisville in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament.

Bobby Cremins, the previous coach, led Georgia Tech to several NCAA basketball tournaments and finished with a 354-237 record. The Yellow Jackets reached the NCAA Final Four in 1990 under Cremins with his "Lethal Weapon 3" team featuring Brian Oliver, Dennis Scott, and Kenny Anderson. The basketball court at Georgia Tech was later named Cremins Court for Cremins' accomplishments.

Georgia Tech in the movies

Certain shots from the tour portions of the movie Road Trip (2000) (when Tom Green's character is giving the tour) were shot on Georgia Tech's campus. Buildings filmed include the main library (look for a fountain with no water in it) and Skiles classroom building.

The Georgia Tech library was also featured as the library at the fictitious Atlanta A&T University in the movie Drumline (2002). Tech is also mentioned by name in the movie, when the only white student at the black university is asked (jokingly) "what's the matter, not enough black kids at Georgia Tech?"

The Georgia Tech football team was portrayed near the end of the 1993 film Rudy. In a famous scene from the movie, the title character finally gets a chance to play for Notre Dame as he is put into the ballgame towards the closing moments of the Irish-Yellow Jacket matchup.

Student media

External links


University System of Georgia
Research schools: Georgia Tech | Georgia State | Medical College of Georgia | University of Georgia
Universities: Albany | Armstrong Atlantic | Augusta | Clayton | Columbus | Ft. Valley | GCSU | Ga. Southwestern
Kennesaw | NGCSU | Savannah | Southern Polytechnic | West Ga. || Regional: Ga. Southern | Valdosta State
Colleges: Dalton | Macon || Two-year: Abraham Baldwin Agricultural | Atlanta Metro. | Bainbridge
Coastal Ga. | Darton | East Ga. | Floyd | Gainesville | Ga. Perimiter | Gordon | Middle Ga. | South Ga. | Waycross
Centers: Gwinnett University Center || Governing body: Georgia Board of Regents

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