February 17, 2020

Georgia Tech Alum Pledges $18M, New Tech Square Tower To Be Named For Him

Update: The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia on Feb. 11 approved the naming of the second tower at Tech Square Phase III as George Tower. See the full announcement here.

One of the new towers to rise at Technology Square in Midtown Atlanta will be named for a prominent Georgia Tech graduate, who with his wife has pledged to give the school $18.75 million.

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia is scheduled to vote Feb. 11 to name one of the towers being constructed as part of Phase III of Tech Square in honor of William W. “Bill” George and his wife Penny George, according to the agenda for the meeting. The tower would be named “George Tower.”

Technology Square Phase III would be a new, approximately 400,000-square-foot multi-building complex in midtown Atlanta, on the north side of Fifth Street, between Spring and West Peachtree Streets. Planning for Phase III moved forward in 2018. The project received $4.3 million in general obligation bonds for planning and design in the state of Georgia’s fiscal year 2020 budget and is recommended for $30.7 million in construction funding for fiscal year 2021.

Bill George graduated from Georgia Tech in 1964 with a degree in industrial engineering, the agenda for the Feb. 11 Board of Regents meeting notes. He began his career at the U.S. Department of Defense and held executive positions at Honeywell and Litton Industries before joining Medtronic as president and chief operating officer. He was elected CEO of Medtronic in 1991, and chairman in 1996. He is currently a full professor of management practice at Harvard Business School.

“Bill and Penny George are longtime supporters of GIT, with philanthropic contributions totaling over $4,100,000,” the agenda says. “Most recently, the Georges have entered into an $18,750,000 binding statement of intent with Georgia Tech and the Georgia Tech Foundation for the naming of George Tower, which would house the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Should this naming be approved, the Georges would contribute $1,250,000 annually for five years. The remaining $12,500,000 would be paid over the next seven years, with the final payment due no later than 2031.”

Georgia Tech “intends to use the initial $6,250,000 contribution from the Georges as a challenge grant to secure an additional $6,250,000, for a total philanthropic commitment of $25,000,000,” the Board of Regents says.

During an early 2019 visit to Tech, George told students that, “Leadership makes the difference between success and failure,” and highlighted how leaders often fail because of lack of awareness, passion, compassion, or empathy.

Another of the towers in Phase III in 2019 was named Scheller Tower, and will house the Ernest Scheller Jr. College of Business. It’s expected to open by the end of 2022. Roberta and Ernest Scheller Jr. in 2012 gave $50 million to Tech.

This content was originally posted on BizJournals.com on 2/10/20.