Georgia Tech Celebrates 50th Anniversary of the Matriculation of Black Students

This week, Georgia Tech celebrates the 50th anniversary of the matriculation of black students at the Institute.  Ralph Long Jr., Lawrence Williams and Ford Green, the first three black students enrolled in 1961, will return to campus on October 8 and 9 to celebrate the anniversary.

50th anniversary of the matriculation of black students
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Ralph Long Jr., Lawrence Williams and Ford Green, the first three black students enrolled in 1961.

According to Gary May, chair of Georgia Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and chair of the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee, “Matriculation of black students at Georgia Tech took place during a time in the Deep South where desegregation was frequently met with extreme strife. Tech is relatively unique in that the enrollment of Long, Williams and Greene took place without violence or a court order." 

During the coming year, Georgia Tech will celebrate the contributions that African-American students, faculty, staff and alumni have made to the Institute. The three original students who enrolled in 1961 will return to campus to participate in the anniversary and Homecoming activities.

“This anniversary is an opportunity to remember our past and the challenges our early black students experienced while at the same time enjoying our successes and looking toward a future that truly celebrates Tech’s leadership and future opportunities to increase and enhance the diversity of our community.” said Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud “Peterson.

Programming for the year, which is still being finalized, will include an exhibit at the Alumni Association, guest speakers throughout the year, a presence in annual campus leadership programs for students, a series of events for the MLK Weekend, a theatrical production and other lectures and symposia.

“The upcoming year will offer a wide variety of events and speakers. We hope the entire Georgia Tech community will join in the celebration,” said May. It is important to take time to remember the pioneers and honor our past while celebrating our progress and anticipating our future.”

 Details of events associated with the 50th anniversary will be available at

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.