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Georgia Tech "Gold Star" Alumni and Student Visual Materials

Identifier: VAUA410

  • Staff Only


This collection contains photos of three Tech alumni who were killed in WWII or Vietnam. There are also photos of the Georgia Tech War Memorial Plaque and drawings of its design.


  • ca. 1936-1976


General Physical Description

(9 items)

Restrictions: Access


Restrictions: Use

Permission to publish materials from this collection must be obtained from the Head of Archives and Special Collections.


2 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

This collection contains photos of three Tech alumni who were killed in WWII or Vietnam. One photograph is color while the others are black and white. There are also photos of the Georgia Tech War Memorial Plaque and drawings of its design.

Administrative History

The Georgia Tech Alumni Association is the official alumni association for the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech.) The first recorded meeting of the association was held in 1896. Georgia Tech's first graduate, Henry L. Smith (ME '90), invited former classmates to join him at his home to discuss the idea of an alumni association. Together, they drafted the first set of by-laws in 1898. In 1906, a petition for a charter was produced, and it was granted on June 20, 1908. In 1919, reorganization occurred and new by-laws were drafted under the name of the Georgia Tech National Alumni Association, under the leadership of W. H. Glenn (1891.) The physical manifestation of it on campus has also been referred to as the Alumni Office or Alumni Activities. Several programs have developed out of the Alumni Association, such as a placement service started in 1923 by George C. Griffin and the Annual Alumni Roll Call, an annual fundraising and outreach campaign, which was started circa 1947.

The Alumni Association was also the impetus behind various “Gold Star” projects. The "Gold Star" memorial lists came to be known as a way to acknowledge Georgia Tech alumni who had made the “Supreme Sacrifice” while in the service of the United States Armed Forces. In the 1940s, the Georgia Tech National Alumni Association began gathering information regarding Tech alumni and students who had served in War World II and had been killed in action (KIA,) taken as a prisoner of war (POW,) or were missing in action (MIA.) This information was often sent in to the Alumni Office by outside sources--some solicited and some unsolicited--such as relatives or friends of the servicemen, as well as from the respective fraternities of which they had been a member. Much of this incoming information came to the Alumni Association by way of the Annual Alumni Roll Call.

In the late 1940s, the information gathered was then turned into “Gold Star” lists, which listed the names and accompanying details of these servicemen. This information was also used for the alumni directory, war memorial records, and a “Gold Star Alumni” column in the alumni publication, The Georgia Tech Alumnus. Tributes to such individuals had been published in issues of the Alumnus since January 1942. These tributes often appeared in the publication as the “Gold Star World War II Memorial Roll." Circa 1946 the Public Relations Office at Georgia Tech also had a hand in the Gold Star lists, particularly in the Georgia Tech World War II Memorial Roll.

In the 1970s “Gold Star” initiatives were revived in response to losses from the Vietnam War. As with earlier “Gold Star” lists, information concerning Tech alumni and students deemed KIA, POW, or MIA was sought by the Alumni Association. At this time it was decided to take these memorial lists and transform them into a plaque to be installed on Tech’s campus as a way of honoring these alumni and students who had sacrificed their lives while serving in the Armed Forces in WWI and each war or conflict through Vietnam, respectively. The memorial was in the form of a large bronze plaque installed on Tech’s campus at the Student Center. Campus Architect David Savini was involved with the plaque creation. The Georgia Tech Foundation was billed for the plaque, which was dedicated during homecoming on October 29, 1971. The dedication ceremony took place on the front steps of the Georgia Tech Student Center at Hemphill Avenue with Dr. James Boyd, then acting president of Tech, presiding over the ceremony. Development and Public Relations at Tech, as well as Dean George Griffin, were also involved in the plaque project. Circa 1974 Tech started preparing for a physical addition to the plaque for additional names left off of the 1971 plaque. The Cobb Company was chosen as a vendor for both plaque projects.

Sources: MS024 and collection itself consulted as sources for the creation of the Administrative History note.


This collection is separated into two subject series. The first series, Tech Alumni and Students, contains photographs of Tech alumni killed in war. The second series, War Memorial Plaque, contains drawings for the design of the memorial plaque and photos of it.

Other Finding Aids

A print copy of this finding aid is available in the Georgia Tech Archives reading room.


Accession #2004.036.

Separated Material

Manuscript materials are processed and housed separately as UA410.

General Physical Description

(9 items)

Processing Information

Mandi D. Johnson processed these visual materials in August 2011.

Inventory of the Georgia Tech "Gold Star" Alumni and Student Visual Materials, ca. 1936-1976
Mandi D. Johnson
Copyright August 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, Library, Georgia Institute of Technology Repository

Georgia Institute of Technology
266 4th Street, NW
Atlanta 30332-0900 USA