Marilyn Somers Works to Endow Tech’s Living History Program
After sixteen years of documenting the stories of nearly 800 Tech alumni and friends—and serving as a passionate advocate for the program she founded to tell those stories—Marilyn Somers is “putting her money where her mouth is.”
Somers, who serves as director of the Georgia Tech Living History Program, has made a retirement plan provision to establish the George P. Burdell Living History Endowment Fund.
Founded in 1994, the Living History Program collects, preserves, and presents the history of Georgia Tech by recording on video the life stories of Georgia Tech alumni, friends and employees. Those videos are transcribed, archived and made available for research and the production of documentaries. The earliest story in the collection is from a 1915 alumnus who at 100 years of age happily sang “Ramblin’ Wreck.”
“The idea behind starting this endowment was to have a vehicle to enable people to feel comfortable making charitable gifts to the Living History Program and to emphasize the value of preserving Georgia Tech traditions and history,” said Somers, who staffs the Program along with a full-time videographer and several part-time student workers. “That’s why the endowment fund is named for George P. Burdell. I think of Burdell as belonging to all of us because he’s the spirit of Georgia Tech. I want this endowment to ensure that the Living History Program will still be here a generation from now and a generation after that. I don’t want the treasures we’ve accumulated to disappear because of lack of funding.”
This semester, Somers is collaborating on a new course entitled “Living History at Georgia Tech.” She has also coached student orientation leaders in Tech traditions, and she never misses an opportunity to tell Tech stories in other campus venues.
“History is important,” Somers said. “My hope is that future generations of Tech students and alumni will avail themselves of our database and come to know the roots of this rich institution. Of all that has come before, so richly recounted by our alumni in their own words. That’s why I’m putting my money where my mouth is.”
To inquire about making a gift in support of the Georgia Tech Living History Program, contact any development officer, or firstname.lastname@example.org.