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Dick Lawrence '61 - Giving Back to Tech


In this issue's alumni spotlight, we are pleased to highlight Richard Lawrence '61, past superior (president) of Xi Chapter.  After a long and productive career in real estate, Dick has retired and is now consulting part-time and working on behalf of Georgia Tech.  Most recently, he was Vice-chair for fundraising of the Class of '61's 40th reunion, which raised $6.7 million for Tech - over $600,000 ahead of the class goal.  Two major gifts from their efforts include $250,000 for the President's Scholarship Program and $91,000 for the Tech Band, the largest single donation ever received by the Band.  Dick is proud of his efforts during 2000 for Georgia Tech and is looking forward to additional service in the future.  He encourages all FEP and ZBT alumni to give back to Tech.  As we form our new chapter, we can view Dick's service as a model for all alumni to be proud of.

What made you decide to come to Georgia Tech and join Phi Epsilon Pi?
My father was a Phi Ep at the University of Georgia.  I grew up in Roanoke, Virginia, which had a very small Jewish community.  I remember my childhood days, when we could not even use the community swimming pool.  During my senior year of high school at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Georgia, my father took me to Tech to see a football game vs. UGA.  Afterwards we dropped by the house, and the brothers I met impressed me.

What were some of your impressions as an undergraduate?
I thought it was great coming to a big city like Atlanta.  The brothers were allowed to join the Standard Club for $15 per month.  We were exposed to some powerful Jewish business and community leaders and their daughters!  I was in the fraternity for four years and was Rush Chairman one year and Superior during my senior year.  I graduated with a degree in Industrial Management.

What did you do after graduation?
I served two years of military service at Edgewood Arsenal in Aberdeen, Maryland.  I had various jobs including a few months as a general's aide, where I planned and attended social affairs and cruised on the Chesapeake Bay.  When my two years were up, I tried to get assigned to Europe.  Because I didn't want to spend another 10 years in the Army, I interviewed for and accepted a job in commercial real estate in Washington D.C.

What brought you back to Atlanta?
Funny enough, it was at another Georgia Tech football game.  A few weeks after deciding on D.C. I came to Atlanta for a football game and met some people in the commercial real estate business.  I decided right then and there to stay.  I only went back to pick up a few belongings, and I have lived in Atlanta ever since.  I sold commercial real estate for 5 years and then jumped into the commercial real estate appraisal business.  Later I joined Cushman & Wakefield and got to travel all over the southeast. 

Anything else we should know about you?
My wife Laura and I have a 29 year-old son and a 19 year-old daughter.  I'm proud to have served on the Boards of The Galloway School and The American Heart Association, in addition to service for the Georgia Tech Alumni Association.  Laura and I are strong supporters of the Georgia Tech Foundation and the Alexander-Tharpe Fund.

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