When the Whistle Blows

About the Ceremony

The Georgia Tech community is always deeply saddened when it loses one of its members. In 2001, a group of concerned students, faculty, and staff realized the community did not have a way in which to collectively honor those whom we had lost. Thus, a campuswide remembrance ceremony was created to honor the memory of those enrolled students and employees of the Institute who had died during the previous year.

Held near the conclusion of spring semester in the shadow of the Tech Tower, the simple ceremony combines Tech’s richest and oldest traditions to create a solemn tribute. Out of respect for the deceased and their families, members of our campus community are asked to refrain from scheduling events during the service. The names of the honorees are published in the student newspaper (Technique) and the faculty/staff newspaper (The Whistle) prior to the event.

Blow on, stern Monarch of Tech's mighty crew,
Be always firm and staid:
To your compelling call we'll e're be true
Til each his part has played.

Taken from "A Tribute to the Whistle" as printed in the 1914 Blueprint Signed, A.D.A.

Families of the deceased are led to the site by a bagpiper and the Ramblin’ Wreck, a 1930 Model A Ford that serves as an official emblem of the Institute. Members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps ROTC units escort each family throughout the service.

A unity candle is lit to represent the entire Georgia Tech community—more than 25,000 students, staff, and faculty—and each family representative is invited to light a candle on behalf of their loved one.

Each year, a respected member of the Georgia Tech community is selected to read each honoree’s name aloud, while the family’s candle lighter and ROTC escort walk to the stage to receive the official gift from the Institute on the family’s behalf.

Before the campus Whistle breaks the evening silence, the alma mater is played to remind those present of our time at Tech and to relay the hope that we will always be united as a community.

Ceremony Participants

Candle Lighters

Candle lighters are members of the Georgia Tech community who have been identified by the family of the deceased as an important person to the honoree during his or her time at Georgia Tech. The candle lighter processes in with the family members and lights a candle in remembrance of the honoree. Upon returning to his or her seat, the candle lighter delivers a gift to the family in appreciation of the honoree's service to the Institute. Candle lighters should arrive at the Student Center by 4:15 p.m. 

Family Members

Prior to the ceremony, family members of the deceased are encouraged to attend a reception honoring their loved one at 4:30 p.m. in the Student Center. Throughout the event, a ROTC cadet and selected candle lighter will accompany each family.

Directions and Parking

Guests are encouraged to park in the Burge Parking Lot (Area 9) lot off of North Ave. 

Traveling on MARTA

From the airport, take the Doraville or North Springs train to the North Avenue station, which is an approximate thirty-minute ride. Walk three blocks west on North Avenue to campus or transfer to a bus on route #13 to Georgia Tech. One-way MARTA fare is $3.50.

Going South on I-75/I-85

Take Exit 249D (North Avenue). At the end of the exit ramp, turn right. Cross Techwood Drive and continue on North Avenue. The Area 1 lot is located on the left immediately after the Alumni House and parking deck.

Going North on I-75/I-85

Take Exit 249D (Spring St./West Peachtree). At the end of the exit ramp, proceed through the first intersection. At the next intersection (West Peachtree Street), turn left. Continue on West Peachtree for one block and turn left on North Avenue. Cross over the interstate and Techwood Drive. The Area 1 lot is located on the left immediately after the Alumni House and parking deck.