Georgia Tech Launches European Alumni Association

Georgia Tech, which opened its European campus in Metz, France in 1990, has launched an alumni association for its graduates living in Europe.

More than 700 Georgia Tech alumni now live in Europe and graduated from either the Georgia Tech-Lorraine campus in France or the main campus in Atlanta. The Georgia Tech Alumni Association – Europe is open to those graduates.

On Dec. 3, more than 80 Georgia Tech graduates residing in Europe gathered at the Maison de la Lorraine in Paris, to celebrate the inauguration of the alumni group. The members of the new European branch of the Alumni Association are part of a vast network of over 100,000 Georgia Tech graduates worldwide.

“With the growing momentum behind Georgia Tech-Lorraine it makes good sense to formally organize a European centered alumni activity,” said Fabienne Berge, corporate relations representative for Georgia Tech-Lorraine.

Georgia Tech-Lorraine President Hans B. Puttgen plans to engage all Tech alumni residing in Europe in the new association, which will be an integral part of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association and will be housed at Tech’s European platform in Metz, France. The Europe Alumni Association has worked with the Georgia Tech Alumni Association in Atlanta to match the new organization’s goals, Puttgen said.

Joseph P. Irwin, vice president and executive director of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association, said, “It is imperative for us to think strategically and globally while acting locally in building alumni support for Georgia Tech in Europe. It will also enable us to build networking among European-based Tech alumni.”

Since opening its doors, the Georgia Tech-Lorraine campus has “come of age” in terms of its academic and research programs and is currently awarding more than 100 graduate degrees each year in engineering disciplines. The campus also won an economic development award in 2001.

In 1998, Georgia Tech Lorraine and the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique established the GTL-CNRS Telecom Laboratory that has rapidly gained international recognition in its field. In this research and development environment, faculty and graduate students from both institutions jointly explore the frontiers of secure high-speed optical telecommunications systems. The lab is at the leading edge of research into quantum cryptographic coding, which is used to secure information for the Internet.

“The new lab provides a unique environment for the graduate students, where they are able to work with researchers from both continents and to interact with leading companies,” Puttgen said.

Students must be admitted to Georgia Tech prior to enrolling in the Lorraine program. Diplomas earned by students at Georgia Tech-Lorraine are identical to those earned by students at the Atlanta campus.

About 65 percent of Georgia Tech-Lorraine’s students are from France, 25 percent from the United States and the remaining 10 percent have come from 25 other countries. Each year, 150 Atlanta-based undergraduate students travel to Georgia Tech-Lorraine for 10-week summer study abroad programs in several engineering disciplines, management, economics, humanities and social sciences. To date, over 50 engineering professors have taught at Georgia Tech Lorraine.

A unique dual-degree program available through Georgia Tech-Lorraine is the Binome Program, in which a French student and an American student are sponsored by an international corporation. The company pays the students’ tuition and provides an internship for the French student at an office in the United States and one for the American in Europe.

During the three-semester program, both students study at Georgia Tech-Lorraine for two semesters, then work summer internships. The French student spends the final academic semester at Tech’s Atlanta campus while the American student spends the semester at a highly ranked French partner institution. The dual-degree program results in a master's degree from Tech and from the French partner institution.

“The idea is to have the companies hire the students right after they complete the program,” Berge said. “These companies are building a greenhouse for talent. The main emphasis for the Binome Program is to develop long-term partnerships with corporations needing to hire well-qualified engineers to address their global market aspirations.”

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.