Campus Life


Ramblins * Ramblins * Ramblins * Ramblins
Who says philanthropy is for Greeks only?

By Pat Edwards
Ramblin' Reck Club

Members of the Georgia Tech Community have long made philanthropic missions a proud tradition of the Institute. From the earliest days of the Georgia School of Technology, the gifts of alumni and their friends have enabled Tech to exceed the most ambitious expectations of our founders.
Notable figures in Tech history have contributed to the Georgia Tech that we enjoy today. Richard Peters donated land to Georgia Tech during the school's early years. Aaron French donated the money for the founding the Textile Engineering major. Dean George Griffin would often lend money to students out of his own wallet. Bobby Dodd volunteered his time to travel the country to raise awareness and money for a fast growing Georgia Tech in the 1950s. Indeed, many great women and men offered their time and resources to preserve and improve the Tech education, campus, and reputation.
With only 25 percent of a student's education being paid for by their tuition and another 25 percent being funded by the state, close to 50 percent is paid through philanthropic sources. These gifts, therefore, have a direct effect on every student, as well as the reputation of the degrees of every alumnus.
The Tech community has never shirked its philanthropic responsibilities. Indeed, the Institute enjoys a degree of philanthropy that many larger colleges envy. One alumnus in particular in Tech's history epitomizes this dedication to philanthropy to Georgia Tech. That man is the late J. Erskine Love, Jr.
Born in 1928 in Gastonia, North Carolina, Love received his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1949. While a student at Tech, Love was an active participant in many organizations including editor of Blueprint, OK and ANAK.
Erskine quickly became successful after graduation, distinguishing himself as an entrepreneur and an active alumnus and benefactor of Georgia Tech and the community as a whole.
In 1956, Erskine founded Printpack, Inc., in Sandy Springs with limited resources, and built it into a prosperous company, headed today by his son, Dennis. Printpack continues to be one of the largest privately owned companies in America.
His business acumen was frequently recognized in both his industry of packaging material and in the business community in general. He was elected president in 1981 of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. He was also elected the 1985 Entrepreneur of the Year by Atlanta Business Magazine. Love donated his considerable talents and resources to many institutions, serving on boards for companies such as Nations Bank, formerly C&S, John B. Harland Corporation, and several others.
His philanthropic activities included serving as president of the United Way Campaign in Atlanta, Rotary Club of Atlanta and the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He served as trustee on the boards of the Robert W. Woodruff Art Center, Columbia Theological Seminary, Agnes Scott College, and the Westminster School.
But his greatest contributions were made to his beloved Georgia Tech.

J. Erskine Love, Jr. served as both a trustee and president of the Georgia Tech Foundation. In 1985-86 he headed the Centennial Capital Campaign which raised over $130 million. The original goal of $100 million was met two years earlier, which had to be revised to meet this exceeded potential.
His early achievements and contributions were recognized by Tech when his alma mater named him the Outstanding Young Alumnus in 1963 and when he received the G.W. McCarty-ANAK Award for the same year. In addition to his election as a trustee to the Georgia Tech Foundation, Love was also honored with the Georgia Tech Distinguished Service Award in 1986, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon an alumnus of the Institute. When President Joseph Petit passed away suddenly in 1986, he was asked to administer the his eulogy.
Sadly, L. Erskine Love, Jr. died suddenly of a heart attack on February 21, 1987, at the age of 58.
Among his many contributions to Tech was the original endowment of $100,000 for the Georgia Tech Student Foundation in 1986.
Love envisioned the Student Foundation as a student run organization that would fund student projects and activities and promote awareness of the responsibility to contribute to the future of Georgia Tech. Love's founding of this organization promotes the lifestyle of philanthropy and community service that enveloped his entire life.
This organization's endowment has grown through student contributions to $600,000 and the dividends returned through the investments by the Student Foundation's volunteers have funded over $120,000 in projects and activities. Some of these allocations include Culture Fest, Black History Month, the Georgia Tech Band, Team Buzz and many other worthy student ideas.
Students volunteer their time and resources to the Student Foundation working to raise further funds, invest those funds, and allocate the dividends to worthy projects.
During this week the Georgia Tech Student Foundation has been soliciting contributions for their 1997-98 Development Campaign to "Keep Tech Golden" in the Student Center Post Office Lobby. Further information about contributing to the campaign, volunteering, or applying for an allocation can be obtained by mailing gt6631a.
The future of Georgia Tech, as well as the reputation of the degrees of its alumni, is tied directly to the degree to which Tech's community contributes philanthropically.
J. Erskine Love best described the challenge of philanthropy when he said that one should, "remember that the highest degree of excellence is not that which is set by someone else. It is measured by your own performance against your own potential, the comparison between what you do and what you are capable of doing."
These words aptly describe the challenge that Tech has risen to in the past, and is met with today. This challenge is to match what Tech actually does to what Tech is capable of doing.

Copyright © 1998 by Gregory S. Scherrer, Editor and by the Student Publications Board

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