Founded in 1885, the Georgia Institute of Technology was originally an all-male school called Georgia School of Technology.
Tech Tower was built in 1888 (it was then known as the Academic Building) and still stands today. In 1948 the university changed its name from Georgia School of Technology to Georgia Institute of Technology to reflect its evolution from a trade school to a technical institute and research university.
Georgia Tech started to admit female students in 1952, though women could not enter all programs until 1968. In 1959, Georgia Tech became the first school in the Deep South to desegregate without a court order. In 1994, G. Wayne Clough became the first Tech graduate to serve as president. Most of West Campus was built to house journalists and athletes for the 1996 Olympics. Since then, Georgia Tech has continued its expansion in the Midtown area of Atlanta.
Campus is split into four major areas: West Campus, East Campus, Central Campus and Technology Square. West and East Campuses are primarily housing areas and Central Campus is where students have most of their classes and research labs. “Tech Square” is located east of campus in midtown Atlanta and houses Tech’s commercial center, including research labs, retail businesses, a hotel, conference center, and faculty offices.
The main place where people like to hang out is the Student Center because it offers a variety of different things to do and is centrally located. Tech Rec, located inside the Student Center, is home to a bowling alley, pool tables, couches, a video game area, ping pong and foosball tables. There are also a number of big-screen TVs in the Student Center, a post office, lots of places to eat, meet, and sit, a massive ballroom, and stores.
The area right in front of the Student Center is The Campanile, which is a great place to sit and eat with your friends on a nice day. You’ll often find a number of activities going on there as well.
The Berger Bowl is an area of green space where many students gather to play sports. It was the site of this year’s Sting Break (a series of events for Georgia Tech students). Tug, an annual Greek Week event, is held here as well. Another place where people typically meet for athletics is on the SAC fields. These fields are right next to the CRC (Campus Recreation Center) and are known for hosting a variety of events.
Freshmen typically hang out at the Freshman Quad, located on East Campus. This area is located between two all-male dorms and two all-female dorms and is a central place where freshmen socialize, play Frisbee, or study. There is another popular social area by the North Avenue apartments where people like to go to relax and have fun.
Georgia Institute of Technology is located in downtown Atlanta. The city provides endless opportunities for entertainment when students find downtime from schoolwork.
Georgia Tech’s campus is located in Midtown, a neighborhood in the heart of Downtown Atlanta known for its agglomeration of social and cultural events. Peachtree Street is one of the main roads near Georgia Tech; it cuts through Midtown and into Buckhead, a ritzy area north of Atlanta. Students who don’t have access to a car can still walk to a nearby movie theater and outdoor shopping mall.
Rocky Mountain Pizza is a favorite off-campus eatery. It’s a hole-in-the-wall place with a reputation for really good pizza and wings, as well as a bar stocked with cheap drinks. Because it’s located on West Campus, it’s a laidback place to drink with friends without having to worry how you’ll get home. (You can walk!) Students on East Campus head to Wingnuts, the Techie-preferred wing stop. Some people like to hang out in Tech Square because it offers a variety of restaurants and green space to sit outside and read a book or have a discussion over coffee.
Students rave about the breadth of options presented by Atlanta’s club and bar scene, which caters to the city’s diverse population and tastes.
One of the most popular hangouts near campus is Atlantic Station. This area was built fewer than 5 years ago but has quickly grown into one of Midtown’s most prized spots, containing a movie theater and tons of restaurants in addition to an array of stores, apartments and townhouses. Atlantic Park is a short 15-minute walk through Home Park from West Campus (though you might want to walk home with a buddy at night).
Students first “Stole the T” in 1969, commandeering the letter “T” in “TECH” from the top of Tech Tower. Since then, many have tried to replicate the feat, but few have succeeded. The administration has implemented serious security measures like installing pressure-sensitive roof tiling to discourage thievery.
Football Homecoming week carries a slew of traditions leading up to the big game. One student writes, “the sororities and frats participate in all kinds of competitions like Squirt (a giant water gun fight), the Mini 500 (tricycle race around Peters parking deck), and the freshman cake race—you don't have to be Greek to run in it—and if you win you get a cake and get to go on the football field at halftime and get a kiss from Mr. or Ms. Georgia Tech.” Devon ’11 says, “Every year, the morning of the Homecoming Game, the fraternities put on the Wreck Parade. Alumni can show their antique cars, and each fraternity builds a machine that is man-powered, and then they try to make their machines run the length of a street on campus.”
The school’s biggest rival is the University of Georgia, and theirs has been considered one of the fiercest rivalries in college football. The common phrase is, “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.”
One Night Stand takes place the weekend before fall finals. It is a night of games and free nosh at the CRC where students can have one last frolic before studying their asses off.
Sting Break is a springtime event with a concert and elaborate carnival.
Fight songs are a big tradition at most schools, but at Tech, the unofficial fight songs get the best response. Becca ’10 says, “Although the official cheer only includes ‘Fight, Win,’ at Tech we like to add on to things and scream ‘Fight, Win, Drink, Get naked!’” An old Budweiser jingle has been a favorite at Tech for years, first sung in 1970 in recognition of Head Coach Bud Carson and still played at all home games today.
One day every year, Georgia Tech rents out Six Flags for the night. For a minimal fee students get to ride rollercoasters, down funnel cakes and slurpees, and enjoy an evening of well-deserved frivolity.
Michael Arad (1999) designed the “Reflecting Absence” World Trade Center Memorial in New York City.
Krishna Bharat (1996) is the research scientist who created Google News.
Jimmy Carter (1946) was the 39th president of the US.
Cecil Day (1958) founded the hotel chain Days Inn.
Mike Duke (1971) is the president and CEO of Wal-Mart.
Jeff Foxworthy (1979) is a comedian and redneck specialist.
Joe Rogers, Sr. (1968) is the co-founder of the 24-hour wonderfully syrupy breakfast joint, Waffle House.
John Salley (1988) is a co-host of The Best Damn Sports Show Period.
Vern Yip (1995) is a feng-shuiing designer on TLC’s Trading Spaces.
John Young (1952) was the first commander of the space shuttle.
Georgia Tech is an NCAA Division I school in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Football is huge at Tech and the school has racked up four National Championships. The baseball team is consistently on top and has produced some big-name major-leaguers, and the basketball program is highly competitive as well. All sporting events draw devoted fans and alumni, and though students aren’t always interested in the big game, those who are say Tech athletics provide some of the most memorable moments of their college experience.
Christine ’08 says, “Georgia Tech as a whole is so focused on academia that most students don't take pride in the athletic departments or even know all the traditions of Georgia Tech. I wish every student at Georgia Tech loved, more importantly, KNEW every Tech tradition. Sometimes I think it's amazing that our athletic department is as strong as it is, based on the small percentage of fan base.”
During the 1996 Olympics, Tech’s campus was the site of the athletes’ village and many events were hosted on the school’s grounds during the games.
In 1986 a book was written about the college’s rivalry with UGA under the title, Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.
The fight song, “Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech” was adapted from an old drinking song called “Son of a Gambolier.” It was also the first school song played in space.
When VP Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev met in 1958, they sang “Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech” to break the ice. It was the only American song Khrushchev knew (he’d heard it on the Ed Sullivan Show).
The Tech dorms may not be the most state-of-the-art, but unless you’re willing to find an apartment in Atlanta, you’ll have to deal. There are traditional dorms that have double rooms and a central hall bathroom; others have two double rooms with a connecting bathroom; and apartment-style residences hold four to six people in a suite with two bathrooms and a kitchen.
East campus contains single-sex dorms that typically house freshmen. Since the dorms are right in front of the stadium and next to North Avenue and Interstate-85, it can get quite loud. The fraternities and sororities are on East Campus as well, so in general you’ll find more social events there than in other parts of campus. The North Avenue residences are apartment-style dorms typically reserved for upperclassmen and are located across North Avenue, facing the freshman dorms and overlooking the Interstate. These apartments used to house Georgia State students but were sold back to Georgia Tech in 2007. If you’re looking for a fun time and don’t mind the noise, East Campus is the place to live.
West Campus tends to be a lot quieter than East Campus: you can’t hear the Interstate and you tend to see fewer people. The freshman dorms on this side of campus are co-ed and a little bit bigger than the dorms on East Campus. The West Campus apartments are where athletes and upperclassmen usually live. The food is better at the west side’s Woodruff Dining Hall than on East Campus. These dorms and apartments are also closer to Atlantic Station, Wal-Mart, and Piedmont Park.