OUR ORIGINS - THE FRED B. WENN BUILDING
The Georgia Tech Student Center opened its doors in early 1970 as the realization of a dream and much effort on the part of Omicron Delta Kappa, a student honor society. The state‐of‐the-art building, just under 100,000 square feet in size met the needs of the nearly 7,000 students enrolled at that time. Building services included a cafeteria, a music browsing room, Craft Center, ballroom, movie theater, meeting rooms, full‐service Post Office, an art gallery, chapel, table service dining area, and several lounges. Additionally, the original building housed a recreation area with twelve bowling lanes, a billiards room, table games, playing cards, and a video arcade.
The 1996 Centennial Summer Olympic Games brought a world of attention and media coverage to campus, and the Student Center served as the center of athlete services during the games. Several areas in the building were modified to meet the needs of the 15,000 athletes and the Atlanta Committees for the Olympic Games.
NOTABLE FACILITY CHANGES
To meet the overwhelming demand for lunch in the Food Court, an outdoor patio was enclosed in 1986 to create a 4,000 square foot, 350 seat Greenhouse dining room.
In 1987, the Post Office was expanded with a 6,000 square foot addition to accommodate 15,020 mailboxes, nearly doubling the number of boxes previously available.
In 1997, the Ballroom was expanded into 1,500 square feet of adjacent storage and patio space and was fully renovated to accommodate larger campus events.
6 meeting spaces, numerous lounges, a central performance stage, and retail services. In the Fall of 2010, a new “fast‐food” Food Court in the Commons was built. The new line‐up offers a full‐service Chick‐fil‐A (relocated from the 2nd floor Food Court), Subway, and Taco Bell.
The Stamps Student Center Commons was completed in March of 2004 and was fully occupied and dedicated in August. Services included 4 dining concepts, SGA and Student Involvement Offices,
CAMPUS LIFE ORIGINS
Many of Georgia Tech’s most beloved programs and traditions began in the Student Center.
Community Service programs on campus were housed in the Student center when it opened. By late 1973, the programs were growing to such an extent that a position was added to the program staff to oversee community services and campus organizations advisement. The programs continued to expand until, in the mid 1990’s, a positions was created to advise community service programs. In 2002, the program was moved to Student Affairs to support the Campus Leadership Initiative.
New student orientation was created in the early 1970’s, placed in the Student Center Programs Area in 1972, named FASET (Familiarization and Adaptation to the Surroundings and Environs of Tech) by the program staff, and expanded to include sessions for transfer students for each quarter. By 1979, the program had outgrown its space and Dean James E. Dull transferred it to the Student Affairs office.
The campus outdoor recreation program got its start in the Student Center. Initially called Outward Bound, the program was in place by 1971, offering kayaking, canoeing, caving, vertical caving and rafting instruction and outings. By 1974, the name had been changed to ORGT (Outdoor Recreation Georgia Tech). The program transferred in the winter of 1986 to the Student Athletic Complex.
In fall of 1978, a student who had single handedly managed a program called Free University graduated. The program offered a variety of non‐credit courses. A new position was created on the Program Board for a chairperson to run the courses. Renamed OPTIONS , the program offered 14 classes on various topics in the spring of 1979, and remains popular to this day by providing participants life skill‐building courses for a low cost.
Started in late 1998, the GT Edge was the campus co‐curricular transcript program. Created by program staff, the transcript allowed a student to track, on a web site, the knowledge and skills he or she was building by participating in extra and co‐curricular activities. Upon graduation, the student in the program would receive a leadership transcript, signed by the Dean of Students, to accompany his or her diploma. By 2002, when the President of GT moved the program to Student Affairs for oversight, 386 students were enrolled in the program.
STUDENT CENTER DIRECTORS
Tim Mitchell from 1970 – 1973
Roger Wehrle from 1974 – 1992
Rich Steele from 1992 – 2010
Kim D. Harrington from August 2010 ‐ present
Staff longevity has been a hallmark of the Student Center with numerous staff ending their careers upon retirement from Georgia Tech. This trend continues as several current staff members have 20+ years of service.