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Dr. Donald J. Grace

Donald J. Grace, director of EES/GTRI and vice president of Georgia Institute of Technology, 1976-1992.

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Donald Grace's record 16-year tenure from 1976-1992 as director of the Engineering Experiment Station was marked by spectacular growth.

"I would like to develop a constructive interaction between the EES and outside agencies, and increase the interaction between the EES and the academic section of Tech," said Grace, soon after arriving. Within the two years, he took a number of steps in that regard:

Spurring Contract Growth

When Grace retired in 1992, the annual dollar value of research contracts totaled nearly $100 million up from $10 million when he arrived. Traditional strengths in defense electronics and economic development were augmented with new research capabilities in areas such as:

Creating New Labs

To handle the increased volume and scope of work, the number of labs grew to nearly two dozen. New facilities included:

Announcing the Georgia Tech Research Institute

In 1984, the Engineering Experiment Station became the Georgia Tech Research Institute. "We're finally calling ourselves what we evolved into years ago," said Grace in making the announcement.

Grace's primary aim was to support researchers. "If they had good technical ideas, I would go out and try to help them get contracts to do what they wanted to do," he said.

A Bittersweet Farewell

Grace's retirement in 1992 was bittersweet, said Janice Rogers, his assistant since 1986. "He retired to look after wife," she said. Joan Grace suffered from a degenerative muscle disease that left her wheel-chair-bound and unable to care for herself, although her mind was unaffected.

For the remaining three years of her life, Joan and Don Grace indulged their love of traveling and ventured around the world. Don Grace passed away in 2007.

 

For more, view the Wikipedia article on Donald J. Grace.