Former Tech President Returns for Groundbreaking of the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons

Ceremony honors contributions of Dr. G. Wayne Clough

The formal groundbreaking for the G. Wayne Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons will be held Monday, April 5 at 2 p.m. 

Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons
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A rendering of the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons

The $85 million Clough Commons will be dedicated to students’ academic enrichment and offer innovative learning experiences. The five-story building features a central glass atrium and is located on a slope between the Tech Green and the Price Gilbert Library, providing expansive views of green space as well as the Kessler Campanile.

The building is named in honor of Georgia Tech’s tenth president and current Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, G. Wayne Clough, who was known for his commitment to undergraduate education during his fourteen years (September 1994-March 2008) as president of the Institute.

“We are celebrating not only this building and what it will mean for Georgia Tech undergraduate students for generations to come, but also the people and organizations who had the vision and determination to make it a reality,” said Georgia Tech President G. P. “Bud” Peterson. “Initial plans for the undergraduate learning commons began 12 years ago, in the early years of Dr. Wayne Clough’s presidency. He knew that the rapid growth of the student body required the creation of a campus community invested in their success. This building is part of Dr. Clough’s vision and will be an important part of his legacy.” 

What will distinguish the Clough Commons from other student-oriented facilities is a unique and comfortable environment outside the traditional classroom where students can take advantage of hands-on, collaborative and technologically enhanced teaching and learning opportunities. The 230,000-square-foot facility will encompass:

  • Modern and innovative science laboratories for foundational biology, chemistry, earth and atmospheric sciences and physics courses;
  • Technologically advanced classrooms ranging from intimate seminar classroom setting, to tiered lecture halls seating hundreds;
  • A single facility housing undergraduate advising, tutoring and other student-centered academic services; and 
  • Sustainable design features that will enable certifcation as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building.

Perry Dean Rogers Architects, with Houser Walker Architecture, completed facility programming for the building. The firm of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson was selected to design the project.

“On behalf of the University System, I’d like to extend our thanks to Governor Sonny Perdue and the General Assembly for providing $60 million in state funding. The combination of the investment from the state and private philanthropy is making the Clough Commons possible,” said University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll Davis. “This building is a lasting reminder of the wonderful contributions Dr. Clough has made to higher education and the state of Georgia.”  

Following 14 years of service to higher education in Georgia, the University System Board of Regents has also named Secretary Clough as President Emeritus of the Georgia Institute of Technology and will honor him during the groundbreaking ceremony.

“This building is the result of the support and hard work of so many, from students and faculty to donors and state officials,” said Clough. “This Learning Center epitomizes Georgia Tech’s commitment to the success and growth of its undergraduate students. I am humbled that the building will carry my name. I accept this honor on behalf of the students of Georgia Tech to whom this building is truly dedicated."

Clough is the first and only alumnus to serve president of the Institute. During his tenure, he led an unprecedented expansion of the campus, overseeing the funding of $1 billion in the construction and renovation of more than 25 buildings. He shook hands with 51,000 graduates, which is more than 35 percent of the total number of individuals who have received a degree from Georgia Tech.

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.