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crumb trail: Home >> Whistle Online >> Archives >> Mar. 7, 2005

Visionary gift benefits students studying abroad

Dan Treadaway
Institute Communications and Public Affairs

  Paul M. Heffernan

Paul M. Heffernan

During his thirty-eight-year career at Georgia Tech, the late Paul M. Heffernan literally left his mark on the campus. Professor and head of the former School of Architecture, Heffernan was chief designer for the Bradley Building (now occupied by Junior’s), the College of Architecture building, the Price Gilbert Library and Information Center, the Hinman and Hightower Buildings, and Smith, Glenn, and Towers Residence Halls, among others.

Heffernan also believed in the value of studying abroad for architecture students, having spent considerable time in Paris studying and teaching French architecture. Just prior to retiring, he taught at the Grand Palais in Paris as part of Tech’s Study Abroad Program in 1976-77.

To ensure that his commitment to international study continued after his death in 1987, Heffernan established a trust in which the College of Architecture has a remainder interest. The trust was created for the lifetime benefit of Heffernan’s sister, Virginia Hancock, who died in 2004. Heffernan’s will provides that after his sister’s death, the College of Architecture will receive $100,000 to support students with “traveling scholarships abroad.”

Paul Heffernan file

• Earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in
architectural engineering at Iowa State
University in 1929 and 1931

• Completed master’s degree in architecture
at Harvard University in 1935

• Traveled to France on a fellowship,
studying at the Ecole Nationale
Superieure des Beaux-Arts from

• Hired by Georgia Tech as an associate
professor in the School of Architecture
in 1938

• Named director of the School of
Architecture in 1956

• Adopted a six-year curriculum in 1972

• Established a fourth-year class affiliated
with Ecole des Beaux Arts in 1975

• Retired in 1976

“P. M. Heffernan really is a legendary figure among our students, faculty, and alumni,” said College of Architecture Dean Thomas Galloway. “He was a driving force early on for propelling Tech’s Architecture program to national and international prominence. A critical element of that prominence is the consistently high national ranking of our academic programs and the high quality of our study abroad programs, especially our Senior Year in Paris Program. P. M. had the extraordinary foresight to realize that for us to have a truly great architecture program, we had to have truly great study abroad opportunities in place.”

The Heffernan gift helps to support a broader strategic goal of Georgia Tech’s for at least 50 percent of all undergraduates to have an international academic experience before they graduate.

“We were so pleased to learn about Mr. Heffernan’s wonderful gift,” said Howard Rollins, director of Tech’s Office of International Education, which administers the Institute’s study abroad and exchange programs. “This is the kind of strategic gift that truly moves us forward in terms of external recognition as a genuinely global institution.”

Funds from the Heffernan bequest will be available to College of Architecture students studying abroad, hopefully beginning in fall 2006.



Approved by the Office of External Affairs on 09/24/97
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Last Modified: March 7, 2005