A Family Tradition
By Kristen Bailey
As Tech celebrated its 250th Commencement in December 2015, we talked with a few graduates with connections to Commencements past.
For some who come to Tech as a legacy, they may be the most recent in a long lineage of Yellow Jackets. For others, they’re part of a new generation that is planting roots that could start that lineage for years to come. We talked with four graduates about their families, their time at Tech, and where they are headed next.
MAJOR: Computer Science
POST-GRAD PLANS: Working in IT at Boeing
PHOTO: Gene’s great-great-uncle, Floyd Furlow, was on the Georgia Tech football team in 1899.
When he first started looking at colleges, Gene Hynson didn’t realize just how deep the Tech blood ran in his family. He knew his mother and great-grandfather, James Furlow, had both attended, along with a few other family members. He knew that James had been inducted into the Engineering Hall of Fame in the 1990s. Thanks to some additional research by his mother and grandmother, he learned that the family’s Tech tradition began in 1899 when Floyd Furlow, his great-great-uncle, played on the Georgia Tech football team.
Gene, who is graduating at age 20, earns a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science this week. He wanted to come to Tech anyway, since his passions aligned with Tech’s strengths, but the family connection made it even more exciting once he got here.
“It’s really cool to be part of it,” he said.
Someone from each generation of his family has attended Tech since the first Furlow in the 1890s. Hynson’s great-grandfather won the Cake Race his sophomore year, earning him a cross-country scholarship. Great-great-uncle Floyd repaired an elevator as a student, which led to a job offer at Otis Elevators, where he eventually became president.
Gene has made unique memories of his own. He became a senior leader with Campus Christian Fellowship, was involved with the Ramblin’ Running Club, and regularly attended swing dances through the Georgia Tech Dance Association. Perhaps his longest lasting memory will be getting engaged at one of those dances in the Student Center Ballroom.
“It was a 1920s themed dance, and I actually wore a white tuxedo that had belonged to my great-great-grandfather,” he said. “I had the ring in my pocket and at one point I spun her, and while she was spinning I got down on one knee.”
Gene will head to Charleston shortly after graduation, where he’ll work in IT for Boeing. He’ll stay connected to Tech pretty easily, though — in January, he starts graduate school through Tech’s Online Master of Science in Computer Science program. Still, it won’t be quite the same.
“I’ll miss the atmosphere of campus,” he said. “It’s peaceful here. It can be far to walk sometimes when you're going through the storm of classes, but it's peaceful here and I'm going to miss it.”