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crumb trail: Home >> Whistle Online >> Archives >> May 5, 2008

Tech remembers term, legacy of Pat Crecine

  Former Tech President John Patrick Crecine

File photo

John Patrick Crecine.

Former Georgia Tech President John Patrick “Pat” Crecine died April 28 at his home in Pittsburgh. He was 68.

The Institute’s ninth president, Crecine served from 1987 to 1994. During that period, the university underwent an organizational transformation as he spearheaded a restructuring process that included the creation of three new colleges: the College of Computing, the College of Sciences and the predecessor of what is now known as the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.

“Georgia Tech mourns the loss of Pat Crecine,” said Charles Liotta, Regents’ Professor of chemistry and chemical engineering. “As chair of the Georgia Tech Executive Board, I worked closely with Pat during the time of his presidency. He will be remembered by the Georgia Tech community because the many positive changes he made are still evident across campus.”

Born in Detroit, Crecine earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in industrial management from Carnegie Tech, now known as Carnegie Mellon University. While completing work on his doctorate, Crecine began his academic career at the University of Michigan as an assistant professor in political science and sociology.

Crecine left academia from in 1968 to join Rand Corp., but returned to Michigan as the founding director of Public Policy Studies. In 1976, he returned to Carnegie Mellon to head up the newly founded College of Humanities and Social Sciences, where he served as dean for seven years. He was named vice president for Academic Affairs for Carnegie Mellon in 1983.

Crecine is credited for leading Tech’s efforts to help Atlanta win its bid for the 1996 Olympics and utilize the campus as the site of the Olympic Village. He conceived the idea of creating a multimedia presentation to present to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in September of 1989. Developed by the Institute’s Multimedia Laboratory, the 3-D presentation provided a “1996” view of Atlanta, complete with digitized graphic models of non-existent facilities overlaid on their proposed sites. Many believe the presentation showed the IOC that Atlanta was a major player in its Olympics bid and served to create the foundation for the city’s high-tech theme for the Centennial Games.

“Technically, it is a very difficult thing to do because we are trying to integrate many different technologies and they are all state-of-the-art,” Crecine told the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine in the fall of 1989. “People understand they are seeing something really special, something different. That doesn’t always happen.”

Much of West Campus was constructed for the 1996 Olympics during Crecine’s tenure, including the Aquatic Center (now the Campus Recreation Center) and the five apartment
complexes that housed Olympic athletes and journalists. His legacy also includes the Ferst Center for the Arts, the Georgia Research Alliance, the Freshman Experience initiative and the emergence of the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering as a nationally prominent program.

After leaving Tech in 1994, Crecine was associated with several start-up companies in the information technology and e-commerce arenas. He also served as a board member for a number of public companies and non-profit organizations. The John Patrick Crecine Scholarship was established in 1994 for outstanding students who take leadership roles in campus life and achieve recognition in some field of athletic or artistic endeavor.
Crecine is survived by his son, Robert Patrick Jess Crecine; daughter, Kathryn Alicia Barbara Schoenke; brother, Michael James Crecine; grandchild, Cooper; son-in-law Kellner Schoenke and former wife Barbara Vogel.

The funeral service was scheduled for May 2 at 2 p.m. at Freyvogel’s funeral home in Pittsburgh. He will be laid to rest in Allegheny Cemetery. The family will be planning a memorial to celebrate Crecine’s life in the coming months.



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