Anthony Frese, AE 1983, M.S. AE 1989, gives endowment to support AE scholarships.


Frese Family, Faculty and Staff

Alumnus Anthony "Tony" Frese, AE 1983, M.S. AE 1989, has cemented his legacy with a generous endowment to the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering (AE). Frese, accompanied by a delegation of 13 esteemed members of the Frese family, visited the Georgia Tech campus to personally deliver this gift. 

Guests included Frese’s wife, Skotti Frese; his mother, Laurie Frese; twin brother Vince Frese, his wife Monica Frese; sisters Lauren Casey and Lisa Randall, IM 1982; younger brother Paul Frese; stepson Jim Stewart; nieces Leah and Amelia Randall BIO 2008 and her husband Justin Karch; niece Abigail Frese who will graduate with her degree in Business Administration in 2025 and her boyfriend Andrew Condra who graduated in May.

For Frese, philanthropy is more than just a gesture; it's a testament to his values and a tribute to his family legacy. With this endowment that honors his father, Vincent J. Frese, and grandfather, Ermenegildo A. Frese, he aims to ensure that future generations of students, particularly those facing financial constraints, have the opportunity to pursue their dreams.

The scholarship will support AE undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need. It will be managed through the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OFSA) and is estimated to launch in Fall 2025. AE students must contact OFSA to be considered for the scholarship.

The Frese Family Making Their Mark from the Start

Originally from outside Naples, ItalyErmenegildo Frese came to the United States in the early 1900s. He settled in Queens, New York, where he carved out a livelihood as a skilled shoemaker. Despite his flourishing business, the elder Frese held steadfast to a profound belief: that his children should forge their own paths.

With calloused, ink-stained hands, Ermenegildo Frese wisely guided his children to pursue education, hoping their hands would be spared the wear and tear he endured as a cobbler.   Frese added, “My grandfather would always show me his hands as we sat on the sidewalk outside his shoe store and tell me, I never want you to have hands like mine. Go to school and use your mind, not your hands!” His words stuck with me and got me through many times when I felt like giving up. I am certain without his encouragement, I would not have been able to persevere and be successful at Georgia Tech.” 

Frese’s father, Vincent Frese, loved airplanes, and this passion and Ermenegildo Frese’s wisdom led him to Parks College of Engineering, Aviation, and Technology in St. Louis, Missouri. After he graduated, he became an aeronautical engineer, working for major airlines such as Pan American and Northeast Airlines. He ultimately landed at Delta Air Lines, where he spent 31 years before retiring. He told his wife he couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Incidentally, his mother, Josephine Frese, wanted him to be a violinist. Music didn’t turn out to be his strong suit, but luckily for the Frese family, aviation did.

“My husband traveled a lot for his job, but it was a labor of love for him. He was in heaven if he could ride the jumpseat or be in the cockpit. He started working at Grumman Aircraft but later switched to Pan American. He was very concerned because jets were becoming popular, and he wanted no part of the jet industry. He liked propeller-driven airplanes, but obviously, he got over it,” Laurie Frese shared.

AE Chair MItchell Walker and Alumnus Tony Frese

AE Chair Mitchell Walker and Alumnus Tony Frese

laurie frese, mitchell walker and tony frese

From left to right: Laurie Frese, AE Chair Mitchell Walker, and Tony Frese

It’s Contagious

“I never get tired of seeing airplanes fly,” Frese beamed.

Growing up with an aerophile, it is no wonder that Frese and his twin brother Vince Frese also fell in love with airplanes. Frese’s mother shared that her boys were always outside in the cul-de-sac, flying planes, and the kids in the neighborhood would come out and watch. 

“My dad came out to watch one particular time as we were trying to fly this cardboard airplane. We gathered a bunch of cardboard boxes and epoxied the pieces together to make an airplane because I didn’t have money to buy a model. I was a little kid at the time, but I was designing and building my own model airplanes. Unfortunately, the thing would not fly. My dad stepped in and told me I needed to get the weight out. Thanks to him, it flew. It was the first time I learned about weight management and flight,” he joked.

Joining the Hive

Continuing the aviation bug, Frese brought his love of aerospace to Georgia Tech, where he found himself in a new world with really smart people who shared his passion. The work was demanding and required advanced skills and a lot of time to master, unlike anything he’d ever experienced. 

When he came to Georgia Tech, the new freedom and social opportunities were also distractions. He quickly realized he couldn’t phone it in. He had to do the work and study hard. He wanted to enjoy his college days but also had to discipline himself, sometimes spending late nights with his nose to the grindstone. Self-discipline was the toughest challenge in his first year. 

As Frese reminisced on his time at Georgia Tech, one particular image stood out. It was his experience collaborating with an airplane design team on a project under the guidance of Professor Wilford Horton, who had a significant impact on Frese’s tenure at Georgia Tech. 

Frese asked Professor Horton if he and a team could build and fly a remote-controlled airplane of their initial conceptional design. Horton approved. Despite encountering numerous hurdles, the team's perseverance paid off when they witnessed their creation take flight. The satisfaction of seeing their work materialize into a tangible achievement is forever etched in his memory. It taught him about engineering principles and prepared him for a lifetime of teamwork.

He was also deeply touched when Professor John J. Harper, who taught aircraft performance at AE, attended his December 1983 graduation. 

But it was Professor Jim Tanner, a physics professor in the College of Sciences, School of Physics, who changed the trajectory of his time at Georgia Tech. 

“I struggled early on at Tech because I was taking all of this math and wasn’t getting how to apply it to engineering problems. He taught me how to think like an engineer. He made it all click for me.”

Tanner told the class on the first day of class that if they came to class every day and took notes, they would earn an A in the class. Tanner quizzed students every Friday with ten questions. They had to put their answer in a box. It had to be correct. He wasn’t going to give them partial credit for their work and didn’t care how much work they showed in the surrounding space.

“In engineering, the process is often just as important as the answer, but that wasn’t the case in Tanner’s class. He did not give partial credit. It was either right or wrong. He really emphasized how important getting the right answer was as we stepped into industry.  This really sharpened my understanding of how important it was to double-check my work.”

Frese thought he would not pass the class, but he came to class every day, which was unusual then because attendance wasn’t a part of grading, and received his A. 

frese at bachelors graduation

Tony Frese and family at his graduation for his bachelor's degree. Ant is Tony's nickname. 

frese family at master's degree graduation

Tony Frese and his family at his Master's graduation.

The Frese family has swarmed Georgia Tech in a significant way. Frese’s sister, Lisa Randall, IM 1982, is an active Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority member on campus. His brother Vince is enrolled in the Online Master of Science in Cyber Security and his other brother Paul Frese attended Tech in 1988 for a year. His niece, Amelia Randall, BIO 2008, was featured in Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine for her nuptials to Justin Karch on February 12, 2022. Frese's Emmy award-winning other niece, Leah Randall, attended Tech from 2008-2010. His niece Abigail Frese is a Georgia Tech student at Scheller College of Business.

Bringing Success Back to the Nest

All of his hard work paid off. Currently, he is the Vice President of Business Development at Lockheed Martin and serves on the Georgia Tech Advisory Board. He represents Lockheed Martin to President Ángel Cabrera and ensures they collaborate with Georgia Tech.

“I’ve led many teams in the corporate environment, and I can tell who on my team is from Georgia Tech. They are brilliant, and they are on it,” Frese said.

It was important for Frese to return to Georgia Tech after realizing how essential his education was to his success. Georgia Tech has done a lot for his wife and family. There was a time when he didn’t want to step foot back on campus because the work was so demanding. He needed a breather, but as he soared in his career, he recognized how the school prepared him. 

“My affinity for Georgia Tech grows every day working with President Cabrera and the advisory board. It has given me insight from the other side of the classroom. Georgia Tech is still demanding, and rightfully so,” Frese shared.

In light of what the successful Lockheed Martin executive has seen and accomplished, he suggests that students pay attention to the newest technologies today. He coaches various students, but he suggests that aerospace students become very knowledgeable regarding artificial intelligence and how to apply it to aerospace engineering because it will be valuable to them when they graduate. 

Related Stories:

Open configuration options Andrew and Stephanie Ollikainen: Giving Back to Tech is a Labor of Love

Andrew Ollikainen, BSAE '07 and his wife, Stephanie, have made a strong statement about their support for the AE School.

Ray T. Muggridge III, AE '70 and Nancy Muggridge: Creating Space for AE's Shining Stars Open configuration options Open configuration options Image

Faculty, staff, students, and several alumni came together November 9 to celebrate the re-dedication of the Daniel Guggenheim School's Aero Maker Space - henceforth called the Yang Aero Maker Space. The endowment of the new lab, which is open to all students, staff, and faculty, was underwritten by another very dedicated alumnus, Ray T. Muggridge, III, AE '70.