Bailing Out On Seidell

Professor Thomas G. Seidell taught electrical measurements in the original electrical engineering building. In my day, I judged him to be in his middle-to-late 70s. His eyesight was quite poor and he always brought three pairs of glasses to class: one for calling the roll and reading; one for writing on the blackboard, and one for lecturing.

The building was quite antiquated and without air conditioning. Consequently, classroom windows were open in the spring and summer. His classroom was on the first floor. It's safe to say no class at Tech enabled so many cuts. While switching from his roll calling/reading glasses to one of the others, feet could be heard hitting the concrete outside. These belonged to those bailing out through the windows, having used all their allotted cuts. Poor Professor Seidell never witnessed this exodus and no "upright" classmate ever betrayed the defectors. Had he suspected such a ritual, he might have been able to pinpoint the guilty by making some sort of grade correction or even stationing a campus guard outside the windows. I can only hope they enjoyed their illicit leisure, because some of them had to repeat the class.

H. S. "Hal" Branch, EE '51
Goodlettsville, Tenn.

GriffinGriffin Earned His Stripes

In the winter 1999 Alumni Magazine, there was a letter mentioning George Griffin when he was in his 90's reading a book about World War II that I wrote: The Naval Night Battles in the Solomons. I gave George a copy of the book in his office shortly after it was published in 1987.

In addition to his academic career as Tech's beloved dean of students, George had a notable Naval career. He served active duty in the Navy during World War I and World War II and came up through the ranks to a four-stripe captain without having command duty at sea, an almost unheard-of feat. To justify this honor, which came when the war was almost ended, George was made commanding officer of the receiving station at Pearl Harbor. Since Hawaiian duty was classified as "sea duty," protocol was appeased. Old timers said it could not be done: They didn't know our George.

Bill Kilpatrick, IM '42
Coral Gables, Fla.

Starting the Millennium

I was disappointed to read the letters (about the coming millennium) in your magazine from alumni who seem not to have thought very carefully about how our calendar works. Consider your 20th birthday. It was celebrated at the end of your 20th year of life (during which you were 19) and the start of your 21st year the start of your third decade.

By the same reasoning, 1 January 2000 will be the day after the end of the 2000th year1999 of our Christian calendar the start of 2000, and will be the start of the 2001st year the beginning of the third millennium.

It's a simple problem in logical mathematics.

Myrick Hilsman, EE '51
Huntsville, Ala.

Smith Was Gem of a Teacher

The 75th anniversary edition of the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine is a gem. As a retiree, I've read it several times, and will keep it with my memorabilia forever.

The absolute highlight of my academic career at Tech was my three quarters of calculus under Professor D.M. Smith. I can still hear him referring to our class as a bunch of hopeless "Swamp Bunnies" incapable of absorbing his teachings. He, however, made calculus very easy for us, never used a textbook and taught us to take organized notes in such a way that, upon completion of the course, we had a reference document superior to any textbook. His teachings better enabled me to finish my education at Tech with a 3.2 GPA, and succeed in both a 14-year professional career as an engineer, consultant, division manager, and 27-year career of self-employment.

Dr. Smith was a small, white-haired gentleman with a noticeable limp caused by a short leg. He always wore a black suit with a bow tie. I can still see him tooling around campus in his 1930's black coupe automobile, the model being very similar to the Ramblin' Wreck of today. At the end of each quarter, after final exams, he would announce the final grades to the entire class. On one occasion, I took the final exam, breezed through it with no problem, finished early, turned in my paper and left. On the way back to Techwood Dorm, I was going over the exam in my mind and realized that I had made a simple math error at the end of one of the problems. I had solved the problem correctly but had given the wrong answer due to the error. I turn around, rushed back to the old math building on the hill and found Dr. Smith in his office grading the papers. I told him about my error and what the correct answer should be. He looked at me, grunted and didn't say a word. During the next and last class he announced the final grades as usual, alphabetically. When he got to my name he roared "Mr. Lutter, a MIGHTY WEAK 'A.'" I'll never forget that or the good-natured kidding I got from my friends in the class.

Fred C. Lutter, EE '55
Palm Coast, Fla.

Sideways had his moments

The winter 1999 edition of the Alumni Magazine brought back great memories of Georgia Tech and our faithful pet, Sideways. I was there in the Navy V-12 program from March '44 'til June '46. Part of the time I lived in Techwood Dorm and recall Sideways' appearance on campus and his life there. The highlight of his career must have been on the night of the Inter-Fraternity Council Dance.

I was with my date (now my wife of 52 years). The dance was in the gym. If I remember correctly, Sammy Kaye and his band were there to provide the music.

We were standing around the edge of the floor waiting for all the fraternity presidents and their dates to get together to do the leadoff dance. At that moment, Sideways ambled in from the north door and walked right out to the middle of the floor, lifted one leg and relieved himself. Everyone cracked up. Sammy Kaye was laughing so hard I thought he was going to fall off the bandstand. The puddle was quickly wiped up and the dance went on.

It is great to know that Sideways is still remembered by his grave marker.

Billy Wallace, EE '46
Stillwater, Okla.

Gymnastics Deserves Recognition

I have enjoyed the Alumni Magazine especially the 75th Anniversary edition. Yet, there is one aspect of Tech sports that I have never seen mention of men's gymnastics.

An important part of my life in Georgia Tech athletics was as a member of the men's gymnastics team during 1971-77. I went through the freshman physical education gym class, then worked with the men's team as they took on the major competitors, including the University of Georgia, Georgia Southern and Memphis State.

We all worked together in advertising, equipment maintenance, and promotion to generate interest in what was called a minor sport. In spite of our course loads, our competitiveness improved to where in 1975, nationally ranked schools such as the University of Indiana and LSU accepted our invitation to compete. The spectators filled the old gym until it was standing-room-only during the LSU meet.

Coach Bill Beavers did an outstanding job as coach and a member of the team, despite cutbacks and seeming disinterest on the part of the Athletic Association. During this time, equipment and facilities were provided for women's gymnastics, and several of my teammates and I helped out with teaching them, although the level of support for them was far below what it was for the men.

It hurt a great deal when I heard that support for gymnastics at Tech had been discontinued. For all the books that have come out concerning sports at Georgia Tech, mention should be made of the efforts of coaches Lyle Welser and Bill Beavers as well as the players that made Georgia Tech a name in gymnastics in the South.

Steve Lubs, EE '77
Brooklyn Park, Md.

Thank you to the official sponsors of the

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 Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine welcomes your letters. Please address all correspondence to Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine, 190 North Avenue, NW, Atlanta, GA 30313, Fax (404) 894-5113. E-mail, (please include full name, city and telephone number).