Administration Building to be renamed after Tech benefactor
By Allison Roberts Campus Life Staff
Pending approval by the Board of Regents, the Administration Building will be renamed in a few months.
The life and generosity of one of Atlanta's most influential citizens may be reflected in the possible dedication of the Georgia Tech Administration building, pending the approval of the Georgia Board of Regents in the next few months.
If the Regents approve this proposal, the Administration building will be officially named after Mrs. Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans, former Coca-Cola executive and philanthropist.
Lettie Evans was born in Bedford County, Virginia in 1872, and married Joseph Brown Whitehead in 1894. The couple lived in Chattanooga, Tennessee, until moving to Atlanta with their two sons in 1899.
Mr. Whitehead, along with his business partner, Benjamin F. Thomas, conceived the idea of selling Coca-Cola in bottles, and was granted exclusive rights to bottle and sell Coca-Cola.
In 1906, Mr. Whitehead died of pneumonia, and his wife Lettie assumed command of the family's business interests, which included overseeing the expanding Coca-Cola bottling operations.
In 1934, with the approval of prominent Atlanta businessmen, Mrs. Evans was appointed to the Board of the Coca-Cola Company, where she worked for almost twenty years.
Throughout her life, Mrs. Evans loved to entertain, and she showed great concern for the welfare of others.
She contributed to over one hundred thirty charities and was active in the organizations which interested her.
After her death in 1953, Mrs. Evans left a bulk of her estate to the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation and designated many institutions of higher learning to receive a portion of her assets.
Fifteen percent of these assets were designated to Georgia Tech. The endowment's value is in excess of $325 million. Georgia Tech will perpetually receive interest from this share; currently, that amounts to more than $3 million per year.
Georgia Tech's share of this estate is approximately $327 million, according to Barrett H. Carson, Georgia Tech's Vice President of External Affairs.
The Foundation approached Georgia Tech in 1997, asking that Tech recognize this woman since, according to Mr. Carson, "There is to this day nothing on campus that bears her name."
Money from the Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans fund has been used to renovate the Chemistry building, the Architecture building auditorium, the Mason classroom and laboratory in Civil Engineering, and the Skiles building, among others. In addition, her money has been used for laboratory equipment, to buy library books, and to support many other projects on campus.
Naming the building would preserve the memory of what might be Tech's greatest benefactor.