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John F. Brock III and Mary R. Brock Reflect on Their Tenure as Campaign Co-Chairs

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The Campaign Quarterly Interview

Brocks reflect on their tenure as Campaign Co-Chairs

CQ: Georgia Tech has concluded its most successful fundraising campaign in the Institute’s history. How do you feel about what has been accomplished?

JFB & MRB: When we reflect on our thoughts and expectations at the beginning of our time on Campaign Georgia Tech, there is no way we could have predicted that our experiences would involve so much more than fundraising. The relationships we established, the people we met, the places we visited, the strength of the Georgia Tech “brand” — all were such an incredible part of the experience. Words cannot express how incredibly proud we are of the alumni, the Georgia Tech friends, parents, faculty and administration, foundations, and corporations who have supported this campaign in such an amazing way.

Some of the highlights, for us, include sitting in living rooms and in boardrooms; enjoying late-night diners but also trendy restaurants; events in ballrooms, museums, clubs, and private homes; sharing a great bottle of wine or enjoying a late-night Coke Zero with remarkable individuals.

individuals. As far as the funniest or most memorable experiences: A Major League Baseball player hanging out with Georgia Tech supporters for three hours the day before Yankees spring training began in Tampa (yes, Mark Teixeira!); always having a Coke to drink in front of everyone as well as a good Coke story; chatting with 300 young Georgia Tech grads at a reception on the Champs Elysees; and visiting Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Brussels with a personal tour by the commander in charge, General Philip M. Breedlove, CE 1977.

CQ: The Campaign has already made a profound, and tangible, difference for Georgia Tech — the campus looks very different today, with so many new and renovated facilities and spaces. There are more than 100 new endowed chairs and professorships. And thousands of students’ lives have been touched as a result of new scholarship opportunities. What do you see as the long-term impact of this unprecedented outpouring of philanthropy?

JFB & MRB: We think Georgia Tech is going to change the world in technology and medical research, in business, in social and policy solutions, and in developing the global leaders of tomorrow. Whether it comes from the research collaboration at EBB where major medical discoveries will be made, Tech Promise scholarship recipients who attended the Institute only because of this program and will do amazing things in their lives, professors impacting student lives through the personal attention they devote to them, and countless other reasons that five, 10, 20 years from now, the two of us will still be saying “Well done, Georgia Tech.” And thanks for the privilege of working on behalf of this phenomenal institution for five years.

CQ: All told, more than 90,000 donors made a gift or commitment to the Campaign. What does that say to you about Georgia Tech alumni, friends, and supporters? What do you think makes people so passionate about giving back to Tech?

JFB & MRB: Each and every donor found their passion, made their connection, and realized that giving back, no matter what the level, would contribute to making this campaign successful. We always said “Look back at your Georgia Tech experience and find a connection” — a scholarship, a particular professor, a need for a new building in athletics, or whatever made a difference in your life as a result of your time at Tech. The only way 91,000-plus donors contribute to an endeavor of any kind is through the recognition that the organization is on the leading edge in its particular field. That defines Georgia Tech! The world wants to know what the Institute thinks about solutions to critically important issues, and that is why 91,000 people supported this Campaign.

CQ: Looking ahead to future campaigns, what advice would you give to the individual or individuals who will be in your role?

JFB & MRB: Be prepared to have Georgia Tech supporters really impact YOUR lives. You’ll have a smile on your face at the end of every event, because the stories never end . . . and the flavor is the same. The two of us wouldn’t be living the lives we are living today without having Tech in our background. Yes, it’s a lot of work, time, and preparation in advance of every meeting, every speech, every solicitation, every trip. But at the end of the day, the joy of success makes it very worthwhile.

CQ: Is there anything you would like to add?

JFB & MRB: As Campaign Co-Chairs, we spent a lot of time with the Development team (who are the best in the world), coaches, professors, administrators, alumni, and many others, but perhaps the ultimate joy was working with Bud and Val Peterson. We have made friends for life, and we will always share the joy of this success with the two of them.