Georgia Tech Alum Pete Petit Donates $3.3M for Engineering Complex
Posted September 6, 2002 | Atlanta
Georgia Tech alum and prominent Atlantan Parker H. "Pete" Petit, CEO of Matria Healthcare, has made a $3.3 million gift toward the development of a complex of buildings on the Georgia Tech campus devoted to biomedical, environmental and molecular engineering research.
As a result, Georgia Tech will name the building that currently houses its bioengineering and bioscience programs the "Parker H. Petit Building."
The Petit Building, which was opened in 1999, will be among a four-building complex located at the corner of Ferst Drive and Atlantic Drive that will house a unique mini-campus for research and education that will meld and enrich Georgia Tech's engineering, science and information technology programs.
Petit's generous gift will assist Georgia Tech in completing the complex. In addition to the Petit Building, this complex will include the U.A. Whitaker Building for Biomedical Engineering, the Ford Motor Company Environmental Science and Technology Building, and the Molecular and Materials Science and Engineering Building.
On the naming of the building, Georgia Tech President Wayne Clough said: "It is wonderfully appropriate that we name in his honor the remarkable landmark building. It is a symbol of new growth, and stands as an eloquent testimony to the vital role that Pete Petit has played in promoting Tech's research in these emerging fields. His concern, his generosity, and his vision have made a sustained and dramatic contribution to bioengineering and bioscience research at Tech and we thank him for his continuous and generous support of this institution."
The newly named Parker H. Petit Building is a $30 million, 150,000 square-foot facility configured to facilitate interdisciplinary research programs of faculty and their research groups, including both graduate and undergraduate students, mirroring Tech's commitment to bio-related research. More than 500 students, staff and faculty are housed in the interdisciplinary building and are actively engaged in bio-related research.
Petit's gift follows an earlier donation he made of $5 million in 1996 to endow the bioengineering and biosciences building, and a gift of $1 million made in 1985 to fund the Distinguished Chair in Engineering in Medicine which is held by Robert M. Nerem, director of the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, which is housed within the Petit Building.
"The vision and leadership exhibited by Pete Petit's generous gifts have taken the dreams of Georgia Tech's faculty in bioengineering and bioscience to a new level," Nerem said. "He has been a driving force behind the development of bio-related research at Tech and the naming of the building is a worthy tribute to his contributions."
Georgia Tech has been engaged in bio-related research for more than 25 years and in that time has grown into one of the best programs in the country. In March of 2002, U.S. News and World Report ranked Tech's bioengineering program among the best graduate programs in the country.
"I believe that the research conducted by the faculty in the bioengineering and bioscience complex will improve our quality of life and act as a catalyst for economic development in our state and region in the years ahead," Petit said. "I am very fortunate to be able to assist with and play a role in the development of this complex for the bioengineering and bioscience activities at Georgia Tech."
Petit received a bachelor's in mechanical engineering in 1962 and a master's in engineering mechanics in 1964 from Georgia Tech. In 1970, the Petit family lost their second son to a crib death. This tragic loss was the impetus for the development of the first home physiological monitor for infants who were at risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Petit founded Healthdyne to develop and market this product, and the company became an internationally based corporation that manufactured high technology medical devices, developed healthcare information systems, and provided medical services. In 1995, Healthdyne was split into three publicly traded companies, Healthdyne Technologies, Healthdyne Information Enterprises, and Matria Healthcare.
The combined revenues of the companies reached approximately $500 million. Healthdyne Technologies and Healthdyne Information Enterprises have been merged with other successful public companies. Currently, Petit is Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of Matria Healthcare, the largest corporation providing comprehensive disease management services.
The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities and the eighth best engineering and information technology university in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, Georgia Tech’s more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.