Announcing the Brandt-Fritz Dean of Students Endowed Chair
Current parents Lance and Julie Fritz of Omaha, Nebraska, and Darlene and Eric Brandt of Corona Del Mar, California, with President G.P. “Bud” Peterson (left) and Dean of Students John Stein (right), make history at the Oct. 27 Parent’s Board meeting.
Up until now, there has been only one endowed Dean of Students chair in the nation — and that was at a private institution, Cornell University. Now, through the generosity of some Georgia Tech parents —Darlene and Eric Brandt and Julie and Lance Fritz — the Georgia Institute of Technology will be the first public university to announce an endowed Dean of Students chair. The commitment was announced by Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson at the October 27 Georgia Tech Parents Board meeting. “We are making history here today,” he underscored. In thanking the Brandts and Fritzes, Peterson noted that their gift is not only groundbreaking, but will be life-changing.
“A little extra help for some of our students can make a world of difference,” he said. “We are delighted that these families have a vision to provide much-needed support for the most vulnerable members of our student body so that they, too, can thrive and become outstanding Georgia Tech graduates equipped to do great things.” The chair, subject to Board of Regents approval, will always be dedicated to the incumbent dean of students.
The couples committed $1.25 million each to endow the Brandt-Fritz Dean of Students Chair, which will generate an income of $100,000 a year to be used at the discretion of current Dean of Students and Vice President of Student Life John Stein and his successor, in perpetuity.
It was through the Parents Board that they got to know the dean of students and became aware of the role he plays in the lives of Georgia Tech students. At the helm of the Division of Student Life, Stein oversees 16 departments committed to student engagement, leadership, well-being, and success. While learning about the Institute’s focus on the “total student,” the Brandts and Fritzes also gained a heightened awareness of the obstacles to success that many Georgia Tech students face. What spoke to them and inspired their gift, they said, were the “vulnerable populations” — students affected by problems such as homelessness, food insecurity, mental health issues, and substance abuse.
Now, thanks to income generated through the Brandt-Fritz Dean of Students Endowed Chair, Dean Stein and his successors will have a substantial fund that is both flexible and reliable with which to respond to urgent needs and changing priorities as they arise — and to strategically plan for the future.
“This endowment is very exciting news for the Division for Student Life and particularly for the Dean of Students legacy here at Georgia Tech,” Stein said. “The Brandt and Fritz families’ gift will enable us to focus on important initiatives related to student mental health and well-being and will benefit both current and future generations of Georgia Tech students.”