Alumnus Endows First Director's Chair for Research Institute at Georgia Tech
Alumnus Parker H. “Pete” Petit (ME 1962, MS EM 1964) recently made a commitment to establish the first endowed director’s chair for a research institute at Georgia Tech.
The Parker H. Petit Director’s Chair in Bioengineering and Bioscience will be within the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience (IBB), an interdisciplinary research facility that Petit helped create with an endowment 15 years ago.
The new endowed director’s chair position is designed to significantly enhance IBB’s ability to attract and retain an eminent researcher-scholar to this position of academic leadership without regard to the academic discipline of the incumbent.
Robert E. Guldberg, director of IBB, will be the first to hold the endowed position. A professor of mechanical engineering, Guldberg was named IBB director in 2009 after serving as associate director since 2004. Guldberg is widely recognized for his research in biomechanics, biomaterials and tissue engineering with an emphasis on orthopedic applications.
“Pete’s past generosity and good will toward Georgia Tech and IBB catalyzed the formation and growth of a unique and thriving bio-community,” Guldberg said. “Now, he is once again paving the way in support of innovation and interdisciplinary research by providing this unique endowment—the first of its kind on the Georgia Tech campus.”
Petit is chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based MiMedx Group, an integrated developer, manufacturer and marketer of patent-protected biomaterial-based products focused on augmenting the repair of traumatized tissues and structures. An exceedingly active alumnus for nearly five decades, Petit serves on the IBB Advisory Board, the Campaign Georgia Tech Steering Committee and the Alexander-Tharpe Fund Board of Trustees.
Petit is also among a handful of Georgia Tech pioneers who recognized very early the vast potential of bioengineering and bioscience, and provided the significant support required for that potential to be realized.
Twenty-five years ago, Petit established the Parker H. Petit Distinguished Chair for Engineering in Medicine in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. In 1995, Petit committed an additional $5 million to establish an endowment for IBB. Petit is once again leading the way in providing vital support for the life sciences at his alma mater.
“What started in the mid 1980s as an initial investment on my part has resulted in this amazing program at Georgia Tech,” Petit said. “To see this facility, and the students and faculty and the groundbreaking interdisciplinary research they’re doing in the facility—there’s no other word for it—it’s overwhelming.”