The Art of Giving

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Rachael Pocklington
Communications Officer, Parents Program

The holiday season and the dawning of a new year is a natural time for all of us to reflect on our “good fortunes,” especially in light of the current economic downturn. At Georgia Tech, we are extremely grateful to all who give of their precious resources, both time and monetary contributions, to this great Institute. We simply could not sustain our superior educational experience without the support of the entire community, especially our parents.

For Aaron and Jan Lupuloff, parents of a third-year Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISYE) major, the act of giving to Georgia Tech is truly one of selflessness and a desire to invest in the greater good for today and the future. Hearing the Lupuloffs’ perspective reminds us of the critical role that both parents and current students play in Tech’s philanthropic success.

How did you get involved in philanthropy? Is it something you have always practiced?

Aaron: “I was talking with our daughter, Dana, last night about this and it really comes down to knowing that you are blessed. Giving back is the right thing to do, it is good karma. It reminds me of Maimonides’ Eight Degrees of Charity, which describes the various stages of giving and the corresponding meaning behind each respective level. All forms of giving are good, but to give in order to help fellow neighbors gain strength so that they can support themselves is the highest level. This is something that was taught in my home growing up and a belief that I practice in my life.”

How do you feel about giving to Georgia Tech?

Jan: “We feel educated about Tech, the opportunities to give, and where that money goes and the benefits to the students. We are big public school advocates, so we understand the inherent constraints as well as the opportunities to make a difference in these kids’ lives. Honestly, giving to Tech is very natural to us. Our daughter is extremely proud of this Institute, and we want to help ensure that feeling lives on for her and other students. When we were asked for our help, we said ‘yes.’”

Aaron: “I went to the University of Alabama and only recently was I asked to give back. I think Tech is very different in terms of what students gain from the experience here. Students are really proud to be a part of Tech for unique reasons. They talk about events like Midnight Breakfast, where the top brass serve free food to students studying for exams. For us, it is a way to ensure that these traditions continue for our student who is enrolled today and for the future students at Tech.”

Does giving to Tech make you feel more connected?

Jan: “Absolutely! Our daughter plays a great role since she wants us to be involved. Our daughter is connected and that helps us feel connected.”

What would you tell other parents who are considering giving to the Institute?

Aaron: “This is an opportunity to truly give for the greater good. It is also an investment in their student’s education and happiness - not just while their student is at Tech, but for the long term. The support that Tech receives really does make a difference. Neither Jan nor I are Tech alums, but we feel compelled to leave our mark in some small way. As parents, we want our daughter’s degree to be meaningful in the future. I think that value is defined by the quality of the educational experience - both in and out of the classroom. We also want our daughter to continue to be proud of her education. Pride can be enduring and will perhaps transfer down to future generations.”

Jan: “I would say that if Georgia Tech is to be the preeminent technology destination and prepare our students for the future, it will take the entire community, including parents, to make that happen. Like Aaron said, we aren’t alums but we believe in the incredible experience our daughter is having and want to enable other students to have an outstanding experience too!”

For more information on the many opportunities to give back to Georgia Tech, please contact Trish Wichmann at or call 404.385.7605.


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    Rachael Pocklington
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