Nov 22, 2013 | Atlanta, GA
On Nov. 19, Georgia Tech held its annual celebratory send-off for retiring faculty and staff, highlighting their contributions to the Institute — and reminding them they will always be part of the family.
Since last November, 114 faculty and staff have retired from Tech. Thirty of these and 70 guests attended this year’s Retirement Dinner, which took place for the first time in the Academy of Medicine, moving from its previous location in the Wardlaw Center.
Retirees and guests were treated to a cocktail reception, followed by dinner and dessert. Photo opportunities were available, both during the reception and as each retiree was presented with a commemorative glass Buzz with their name and years of service by President G.P. “Bud” Peterson. (All retirees can receive a Buzz, even if they don’t attend the dinner.)
In his welcome remarks, Peterson said he had “done some quick math” and calculated that this year’s retirees represented 2,274 years of service to Tech. He noted that 19 retirees had been with the Institute 30 years or longer, and six of those had been here more than 35 years.
“No matter how many years you have been a part of Georgia Tech, we are where we are because of you,” Peterson said. “Whether you know it or not, you have made an impact on hundreds, if not thousands of lives.”
Representing the staff and faculty sides, respectively, Scott Morris, chief human resources officer, and Rafael Bras, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, served as masters of ceremonies.
As retirees received their Buzzes from Peterson, Morris or Bras shared a bit about each based on comments from their colleagues. Peppering accounts of significant contributions, details about outside interests, and plans for retirement were heartfelt expressions of gratitude as well as a few “tales out of school.”
Retirees were praised for their quick wits, ready smiles, can-do attitudes, and open door policies, among other attributes. Nicknames were also big. There was Dennis Farmer, manager for the Department of Defense Division in the Office of Sponsored Programs, whose lesser-known title was “office hoarder.” And Shay Powell, financial administrator in the School of Applied Psychology, AKA “Keeper of the Candy.” There was a “Fleetwood,” a “Bubba,” and a “Super Nana.”
Ian Gatland, president of the Silver Jackets, also spoke, inviting retirees to join the club for retired faculty and staff, which meets in the Student Center the second Tuesday of every month except during summer. One of the more popular meetings, Gatland said, is a yearly presentation by the Office of Human Resources regarding benefits.
Some retirees won’t even have to drive in to get to that meeting, as they already have or will be coming back to the Institute to work part-time.
In any case, once a Yellow Jacket, always a Yellow Jacket, as Peterson observed.
“Let me clarify,” he said. “You are not really leaving Georgia Tech ... I know you will be watching with interest, coming back to campus for special events, and serving as an ambassador for Georgia Tech everywhere you go in this next chapter of your life.”