Students and former students came together for lunch March 14 at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. And though most had never met each other, they shared a permanent and life-altering link.
The event gathered scholarship and fellowship recipients and the families who are helping pay for the students’ education. It was the first time the School arranged a group meeting like this, and in some cases, it was an emotional experience.
“It’s really special,” said Linda Farrell, who had tears in her eyes as she talked about her brother, the namesake of the Bruce J. Wittschiebe Memorial Scholarship. “Bruce, he was such a people person. He would walk in a room and by the end of the evening, he would know everybody and everybody would be having a good time. So that part of him, his focus on people, and the strength of Tech being its students and professors was very important to him. And now Lauren [Gardner, the scholarship recipient,] is carrying on with that.”
Read more from some of the students and benefactors who had a chance to meet:
Maya Goldman, center, with Jimmy and Angela Mitchell. Goldman received the endowed scholarship the couple created. Jimmy Mitchell earned his civil engineering degree at Georgia Tech in 2005, and Angela Mitchell graduated in 2004 with a degree in textiles. (Photo: Mariah Austin)
“We didn’t want to save a lot of money and then at the end of life give it away and not be a part of that. So we have started to give it away immediately. One of the first things we did was establish this endowment, and I just have had a lot of fun being a part of a couple of these students’ [lives] who have gotten the scholarship. They’ve been amazing people.” – Jimmy Mitchell, BSCE 2005
“The scholarship, allowed me to come to my dream school without any of the worries that a lot of my peers had. … It’s nice seeing [the Mitchells] at events like this and just seeing how involved they are. It motivates me to be the best person I can be because [they’ve invested in me.]” – Maya Goldman, BSCE 2016 and first-year master’s student
“It’s meaningful to see that money going to really great use right away. It helps you feel more connected to the school. And even though I’m not in civil engineering — I was textiles — it gets me very excited about the things Maya is doing and will be doing.” – Angela Mitchell, BSMSE 2004
Senior Zoe Turner-Yovanovitch, left, met James Maughon for the first time at the School of Civil and Environvironmental Engineering scholarship lunch March 14. Turner-Yovanovitch has received the scholarship Maughon, BCE 1969, created for civil and environmental engineering students. (Photo: Mariah Austin)
“I don’t think I would have come to Tech if I hadn’t received this scholarship because it was just, truthfully, financially unbearable. So making it possible for me to go to Tech and making it possible for me to experience the incredible civil engineering faculty and learn from them, that’s propelling my career. … I’m so excited about all of the opportunities that are coming my way, and I owe it all to Tech, which I owe to the James Maughon Scholarship.” – Zoe Turner-Yovanovitch, civil engineering senior
“My father grew up near the campus, and he sold Cokes [and] popcorn during football games. … When I went to Tech, he told he’d always wanted to do something for Tech, and since I was going to Tech that he wanted me to do something for Tech. That sort of was the seed I guess that was planted many years ago.” – James Maughon, BCE 1969
Lauren Gardner, center, received the Bruce J. Wittschiebe Memorial Scholarship to help her attend Georgia Tech. She's with Wittschiebe's sister, Linda Farrell, left, and his wife, Janice. (Photo: Mariah Austin)
“Being out of state, it’s very expensive to come here, but I knew I really wanted to come here. I knew Georgia Tech was going to give me the essential tools that I needed to be a good engineer. So this scholarship has helped me not have to take out so many loans and be a little bit more free with being able to be involved in the Georgia Tech community. I hope one day that I can give back in the same way that this scholarship has given back to me.” – Lauren Gardner, civil engineering senior
“Bruce … was really involved at Georgia Tech. He was the Reck driver, he was part of Reck Club, he was in a fraternity. So he was really involved at Georgia Tech as well as being involved with his school, civil engineering. I was looking for something to give back in his name, and this was perfect. He would’ve loved this.” – Janice Martin Wittschiebe, the widow of Bruce Wittschiebe