The Georgia Institute of Technology and our fellow University System of Georgia institutions owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to former Georgia Gov. and U.S. Senator Zell Miller, who passed away March 23 at age 86 in his beloved hometown of Young Harris in the north Georgia mountains. A significant part of Gov. Miller’s ongoing legacy will always be the HOPE and Zell Miller scholarships. He championed the HOPE while governor from 1991 to 1999, and the Miller Scholarship was signed into law in his honor in 2011 by Gov. Nathan Deal as part of the HOPE program. (Pictured: Gov. Miller spoke at Georgia Tech at a celebration for the 10th anniversary of the HOPE program.)
Each year, virtually all our in-state freshmen attend Georgia Tech with the help of one or both of those scholarships. Moreover, during the past 25 years, 1.8 million Georgia students have benefited from HOPE. More than 50,000 of those have been at Georgia Tech. We joined other state agencies and institutions in flying our flag at half-staff from the evening of March 23 until sunset on March 29 in honor and memory of Gov. Miller.
His grandson Bryan Miller said the following March 27 at Gov. Miller’s funeral, and it speaks volumes about his grandfather’s love for education: “Zell was a teacher at heart. That title meant more to him than any other he obtained throughout his career. Whether he was at his home or yours, in the state capital, or in Washington, D.C., Zell was a constant learner and gifted teacher. Our family and those who were closest to him were blessed to graduate from ‘Zell Miller University.’”
We at Georgia Tech are grateful for Gov. Miller’s leadership and mindful that we bear great responsibility to prepare our students with a world-class education. They come with tremendous potential, and through our curriculum, student competitions, and extracurricular activities, we are working to help them fulfill their promise. At Commencement ceremonies, we always share the message that no one who walks down that aisle to receive their diplomas did it alone. For thousands of Georgia Tech students, Gov. Miller has helped provide an important steppingstone. In a sense, those beneficiaries are all graduates of “Zell Miller University.”
As we head down spring semester’s home stretch, a number of student competitions are demonstrating the creativity and technical excellence of Georgia Tech students. On March 14, our 10th annual InVenture Prize competition, the largest such event of its kind in the U.S., was televised before a live audience on Georgia Public Broadcasting.
The winner was Kolby Hanley for his first-of-its-kind aiming device for competitive archery. His StarLight, a lightweight scope with an integrated light, is one of several archery-related products Kolby has developed through his company, UltraView, which he runs from his dorm room. By winning, he earned $20,000 for product development and a free U.S. patent filing by Georgia Tech's Office of Technology Licensing.
Kolby will represent the Institute in the third annual Atlantic Coast Conference InVenture Prize competition April 5-6. ACC InVenture is modeled after Georgia Tech’s competition and typically draws representatives from virtually all of the league’s 15 institutions.
Several other campus competitions and showcases allow students from all six of the Institute's colleges to flex their creative and entrepreneurial muscles. Programs such as CREATE-X, Capstone Design Expo, Convergence Innovation Competition (CIC), Ideas 2 Serve, (I2S), Invention Studio, Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC), and TI:GER give our students opportunities to both sharpen their individual skills and collaborate to prepare for success in an off-campus world where competition is part of the daily expectation.
CIC live judging and demonstration events will be held April 12 in Atlanta and at Georgia Tech-Lorraine in France. That same day, I2S will have its finals. Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business hosted the GSVC Eastern Regional Finals, and the global finals will be April 12-13 in Milan, Italy. The Capstone Design Expo takes place April 24.
I encourage you to explore these various events. You’ll be hard-pressed to come away without being impressed by the inventiveness and expertise of our Georgia Tech students.
G.P. “Bud” Peterson