Retirees Keep Connected through Silver Jackets

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Every year, dozens of employees say goodbye to the proverbial 9 to 5 at Georgia Tech, but they do not say goodbye to 11 a.m. to noon, the second Tuesday of every month during fall and spring semesters. 

That’s when members of Georgia Tech’s retiree organization, the Silver Jackets, meet to stay connected to one another and the institution. 

The group was founded in 2007 at the instigation of Maureen Glass, an administrative manager who retired from the (then) School of Polymer, Textile and Fiber Engineering after 30 years with the Institute. “How could I just stop being connected to Tech?” she thought at the time. 

There are no membership fees, but the organization does accept donations to its operating and endowment accounts with the Georgia Tech Foundation.

Silver Jackets meetings are held in the Student Center (Room 343) and typically draw around 40 attendees, said Ian Gatland, immediate past president of the organization, who retired as a professor and associate chair of the School of Physics in 2003 after 39 years at Tech. He joined the Silver Jackets in 2008. 

Each meeting features a speaker, who gives a 45-minute presentation on his or her area of expertise. “They’re mainly given by people who are associated with Tech,” Gatland said, “but occasionally we do bring in people from outside to talk about interesting things.” 

The group’s December meeting is a holiday luncheon, but the most popular meeting every year by far, Gatland said, is the annual presentation from Human Resources on health insurance benefits. 

“These meetings are attended by about 140 people,” he said. “We have to use the Student Center Theater.”

Attendees usually break into smaller groups and head out for lunch after the meetings, Gatland said.  

Another ongoing activity is assisting with semi-annual campus blood drives. “We have lots of munchies and drinks, and when the students have finished giving blood, our job is to give them something to nibble on and make sure they don’t leave for at least 10 minutes,” Gatland said. 

As the Institute celebrates its annual Retirement Dinner on Nov. 5, about 100 employees will move into the next phase of their relationship with Georgia Tech and have the chance to become Silver Jackets. 

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  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Kristen Bailey
  • Created:10/26/2015
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016