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Tech students talk in front of a campus building; A student works with a professor on a computer project Textiles And Fiber
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Because of the need for trained personnel for the state’s growing textile industry, Georgia Tech’s Textile Department was started in 1899 with $10,000 from the Georgia General Assembly along with donations of $20,000 worth of machinery and $13,500 in cash from supporters.

Abhinav Saxena and Professor Jordan Lewis Dorrity

Abhinav Saxena and Professor Jordan Lewis Dorrity

   The successful creation of this textile course was due largely to the interest of Aaron French, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He became interested in the project during the summer of 1897, and cooperated personally and financially in assisting Georgia Tech to create the department.  In commemoration of his generosity, the Board of Trustees of Georgia Tech named the department the A. French Textile School.  Another early supporter was Oscar Elsas, a former Tech student and vice president of Atlanta’s Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills. He was responsible for securing donations of textile machinery.

   Since its beginnings, the scope of instruction has been broadened, and the School has developed into a definite asset to the textile industry in Georgia and the Southeast. Tech graduates helped developed the industry into the state’s largest. By 1947, there was a need for a new building, which was named for Harrison Hightower, Tech alumnus and president of Thomaston Mills. In 1995, the School of Polymer, Textile and Fiber Engineering moved to its new location in the MRDC 1 Complex, where it is currently housed.


Dr. Anselm C. Griffin is the chair of the School of Polymer, Textile and Fiber Engineering.  He came to Georgia Tech in the fall of 2002 from the position of provost at the University of Southern Mississippi. For more information about Dr. Griffin, visit this page.

Making a Gift to the School

Private support gives Georgia Tech the resources to take the lead in new initiatives, weather cyclical changes in support from government and industry, and make long-term investments in a constantly changing technology, often before needs or opportunities are recognized by others. The School’s needs for the coming years include:

Funding for Current Operations

Unlike endowments, gifts for current operating funds are available for use in the year received. Unrestricted gifts support core academic and programmatic needs and provide seed funds for new academic initiatives. Restricted gifts and grants may support a variety of initiatives, including faculty research, undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, and faculty enrichment.

Permanent Endowments

  • Unrestricted Named Endowment Fund––from $25,000. The Institute encourages school-based unrestricted endowments to provide maximum flexibility in meeting pressing needs and support for new initiatives. There are several opportunities for recognition.
  • Faculty Support
    • Endowed Faculty Chair––from $1,500,000. Endowed chairs attract, support, and retain eminent teacher/scholars in specialized areas. Senior faculty chair holders attract highly talented students and faculty, stimulate research, and help leverage funding.
    • Professorship––from $750,000. Income from these named endowments will be used to support outstanding faculty. Professorships give faculty the resources to remain at the forefront of teaching and research efforts in areas important to the future of textile, fiber, and polymer engineering. The funding will be used to seed research projects and for travel, equipment, and student research assistants.
    • Junior Faculty Award––from $500,000. These awards are given to the most promising junior faculty members. They help Georgia Tech retain and attract faculty who are tomorrow’s leading teachers/scholars. Grants are awarded for five years to encourage innovation in teaching and research and nurture professional advancement during the critical pre-tenure years.
  • Student Support
    • Graduate Fellowships––from $25,000 (partial). Georgia Tech puts a premium on attracting students with the character, determination, and intelligence necessary to meet the demands of a first-rate technological education and use that education to improve the world around them. Recruiting the most outstanding graduate students is extremely competitive, so the School needs additional resources to expand and enhance graduate fellowships.
Important Contacts

Mary McEneaney
Director of Development 
Polymer, Textile and Fiber Engineering
Georgia Tech
College of Engineering
Atlanta, GA 30332-0360
404.894.2781 (phone)
404.385.2826 (fax)
Contact Mary McEneaney

[Development Staff Directory]

Important Contacts

School of Polymer, Textile and Fiber Engineering