Following in Mom and Dad's Footsteps

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Roughly one in five Georgia Tech students is a legacy, and that would definitely be the case for Thomas Gray. Both his mom and dad are Georgia Tech alumni, and they came along for one of the final FASET sessions of the summer season before Thomas started at Georgia Tech Aug. 18.

J.R. Gray met Janie when he served as news editor of The Technique. Janie worked on the advertising staff. They dated while at Tech and married shortly after graduating in 1991.

Janie recalls her own FASET session and making fast friendships.

“I remember meeting two fellow incoming students who both were also majoring in biology who became two of my best friends through the rest of our time at Tech and beyond. They were both bridesmaids in our wedding,” she says.

J.R. was making friends during FASET as well.

“What I remember most is the fire alarm going off at Woodruff where we were staying at 2 a.m.,” he says. “But I also remember going to the old Columbia Theatre with my FASET group to see [the film] Aliens and hanging out with other new freshmen.”

J.R. now works for Nokia, and Janie for Microsoft. The family lives near Chicago. Returning to help prepare their son for campus stirred up some fond memories.

“It’s been great to spend some time visiting some of our old spots and talking with Thomas about how things were for us when we were freshmen,” says J.R.

The Gray family has studied in four of Georgia Tech’s six colleges. Janie majored in biology. J.R. got his first degree in management, then came back to further his education with a second degree in computer science. Thomas is enrolled and beginning coursework in the College of Engineering.


What’s the biggest thing that’s changed on campus since you left?

J.R.: Physically, the expansion of campus with all of the new buildings, Tech Square, the CRC, and such. Educationally, all of the additional opportunities like minors and concentrations. We had certificate programs, and I earned one in economics, but we didn’t have true minors.

Janie: First, the number of additional opportunities in biology-related fields like biochemistry, bioengineering, and others. All we had was one biology degree.  Second, all of the support options for students today to help them stay in school.  

What are you most looking forward to now that your son is starting his college career? 

J.R.: Well, this is our second son to head to college, with our eldest going overseas to the U.K. for school, so a lot of this is second nature for us now. I am looking forward to hearing Thomas’ stories about his freshman year at Tech and how similar or different it will be from my experience.

What are you feeling sending your son off to college? 

Janie: Because I am confident of the school and the opportunities to integrate no matter how quiet of a student, I am positive that he will enjoy his time at Tech. I am looking forward to hearing about his first week of school.

What made you decide to come to Georgia Tech?

Thomas: I decided to come to Georgia Tech because I love the campus and the resources the Institute has to offer its students. As a top-ranked engineering school, Tech will provide me with the best education around.

What are you planning on studying and what would your dream job be?

Thomas: I am planning on studying mechanical engineering, most likely with a focus in automation and robotics. As for my future career, I honestly haven’t gotten that far in my planning. I am still unsure of the exact path I wish to take.

What are you looking forward as you start your college experience?

Thomas: I am looking forward to meeting all of my fellow Yellow Jackets!




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