Dimitri Mavris, Marilyn Smith, and Wanda Pierson were the GT-AE employees honored for their 25 years of service during a special celebration, hosted by President Bud Peterson.
Tuesday, 09 February 2016

When Dimitri Mavris, Marilyn Smith and Wanda Pierson began their tenure at Georgia Tech, the Hubble Telescope had just been launched.

The spacecraft Galileo had just given the world a dazzling glimpse of Venus - as it sped toward  Jupiter.

And many of the students that Mavris, Pierson, and Smith currently mentor had not been born yet.

The year was 1990.

Twenty-five years later, these three GT-AE stars were among the many GT employees honored for their years of service during a special celebration, hosted by President Bud Peterson, April 6. The celebration also recognized 10-year employees, like Dr. Mitchell Walker, Michelle FIelds and C-STAR's Cindy Pendley.

For all of the time they've put in, these three "quarter-century-colleagues" are still bringing it to Georgia Tech each day - inspiring students and their fellow employees with the same energy that delivered them here at the tail end of the disco craze. Where did the time go? We asked them about that.


Recently appointed to the position of Langley Distinguished Professor in Advanced Aerospace Systems Architecture, Dimitri Mavris  was named a Regents Professor last year. 

What does Prof. Mavris miss most?

"Nothing," said the head of AE's Aerospace Systems Design Lab.

"With every year that goes by, Georgia Tech is getting better and better. The place has grown by leaps and bounds -- academically, in stature, and in size. But I must say that Juniors closing has left a void. "


Like Mavris, Prof. Marilyn Smith earned her undergraduate, masters, and doctorate from GT-AE before coming back to join our faculty. Recently selected as a 2015 Technical Fellow by the American Helicopter Society, she has been a towering presence in the field of rotorcraft technology and innovation.

What does Smith miss the most?

"Conversation. I find myself emailing Dr. Hodges who 'lives' in the office next door to mine rather than getting up to talk to him. In public all you see are people checking cell phones, even when they are at dinner with someone."

She is currently planning to retire from the School, effective December 2015, so we asked her what she will miss.
As the program manager for the Georgia Space Grant Consortium,Wanda Pierson has helped launch the careers of many ambitious young men and women during her time at Georgia Tech. The statewide consortium of 17 universities, two non-profit organizations, and two industrial affiliates, all work to increase the diversity of students and professionals in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related fields.


"I have seen great expansion in the department in terms of size and diversity of faculty, staff, students, and facilities. The campus is now so large that I feel like I need to take a tour to learn about all of the new buildings. Also, it was inevitable, but still shocking to realize that a large number of faculty and staff are younger than I am.

I will miss working with student groups and all of the many people I have met."