Honorary Alumni Honored



An anonymous donor has made a $2 million gift to Georgia Tech in the names of two individuals whose service to the Institute goes back for decades and whose legacy — already destined to extend far into the future — will now be even broader.

The donor, described as “characteristically quiet in his philanthropy and selfless in recognition,” is a Georgia Tech graduate. He is long known to Georgia Tech, and long known to the people he wishes to honor — honorary alumna Penelope W. “Penny” Stamps and W. Jack Thompson, senior associate athletics director.


This $1 million fund was established in honor of Penny Stamps in celebration of the Stamps family’s longtime friendship with the donor’s family, and in recognition of her many years of philanthropic leadership and service in advancing the mission of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Stamps, together with her husband of more than four decades, E. Roe Stamps IV, IE 1967, MS IE 1972, HON Ph.D. 2014, served as honorary chair of the Campaign Steering Committee during the public phase (2010-15) of Campaign Georgia Tech, inspiring others to step forward with their own transformative gifts. Just scratching the surface of the Stamps’ philanthropic reach at Tech and elsewhere, the couple also established the Stamps Leadership Scholar Awards at Georgia Tech and dozens of other leading universities, and the Stamps name graces buildings across campus — the Stamps Student Center Commons, Stamps Field at the Campus Recreation Center, and Stamps Student Health Services.

The unrestricted income from this endowment will be available for use at the full discretion of Georgia Tech’s president in perpetuity. Given Penny Stamps’ passion for supporting the overall well-being of students, President G.P. “Bud” Peterson plans to dedicate these funds toward student wellness for the foreseeable future.


The anonymous donor designated this $1 million gift as a tribute to Jack Thompson in acknowledgment of the remarkable impact he has made on Georgia Tech athletics through an outstanding career and extraordinary service that has spanned five decades.

Thompson joined Georgia Tech in 1968, initially serving as director of football recruiting. He moved up through Athletics — from assistant to the head football coach, to assistant Athletics director, to an associate position, then a senior associate position. He also developed and served as executive producer of a syndicated television show that featured Tech’s head football coach, head basketball coach, and Athletics director, and he co-hosted Sideline Sports, which ran on Atlanta’s Channel 11 for 19 years. Both shows were among the most highly syndicated coaches’ shows in America at the time.

Under Thompson’s leadership, Georgia Tech Athletics has been among the leaders in per capita fundraising, with cumulative gifts and pledges totaling more than $200 million in the past 10 years. His name has come to be synonymous with the Alexander-Tharpe Fund, and in 2004, he was named an honorary alumnus of Georgia Tech by the Georgia Tech Alumni Association, the highest award conferred on a non-alumnus.

Thompson has asked that the funds from the donor be directed toward renovations to the Edge Center, which sits at the corner of Bobby Dodd Way and Techwood Drive and houses Georgia Tech’s Athletics program, including administrative offices, an academic center, locker rooms, a dining hall, a training room, and more.

A permanent space will be named in Thompson’s honor in the Edge Center or its replacement facility, which will stand as an enduring testament to the impact he has had on Georgia Tech athletics, and as an inspiration to future generations of student-athletes, coaches, and staff.