History

In 1979, Georgia Tech created the Office of Minority Educational Development (OMED). Over four decades, OMED has demonstrated outstanding success.

Our second decade saw a paradigm shift. Focusing on how gifted our students were – else they would not have been accepted into Georgia Tech – we began to raise expectations for student performance. We directed our attention toward the educational process and became OMED: Educational Services. We have adopted a data-driven, quality approach toward the business of education with students being identified as “customers.”

In 2019, we launched our 3rd shift under the new leadership of Georgia Tech alumna, Sybrina Atwaters. We have broadened the scope and impact of our research, services, and programs to serve the ever-growing and more diverse Georgia Tech Student population. Our holistic approach to student success and development has garnered over several Insitute-wide initiatives bringing together academic, student life, career, financial aid, and community to serve greater higher educational aims of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

A diverse workplace can only be achieved and maintained by a commitment to innovative and sound philosophies that strategically produce successful sustained partnerships and academic performance.

History Timeline:

1975       Ad-hoc committee organized to address concerns about the academic and social success of minority students. Dr. Wilmer Grant is appointed lead. The committee leads to the formation of OMED.

1979       Georgia Tech creates OMED, the unit charged with the retention and development of traditionally underrepresented students: African American/Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American, multicultural. Dr. Thomas Parker is founding director.

1980       The first Challenge program was held. In the mid to late 80’s, Dr. William Gamble becomes director of OMED. In addition to Challenge, leadership retreats, Academic Survival Workshop, Minority Orientation Week, and Student Assistant Volunteers (SAV) are key OMED programs.

1992       OMED launches Group counselors program which becomes the Team Coach program (1993) and later becomes the Edge Peer Mentoring Program (2015).

1993       Dr. Gavin Samms, GT alumnus, is officially hired as director of OMED. OMED reports under the President’s office.

1994       OMED launches Academic Support/Tutoring Services for matriculation students. Transitions (an orientation program for incoming dual-degree, transfer, and graduate students) is created.

1995       Tower Awards is created to recognize underrepresented minority undergraduate students earning a 3.0 or above GPA. Currently (2021) Tower Awards recognizes underrepresented minority undergraduate students earning a 3.3 or above GPA and graduate students earning a 3.5 or above GPA at completion of their degree program.

1998       S. Gordon Moore Jr., GT alumnus, is appointed director of OMED.

2008       Coordination of Focus, an Institute-wide recruitment program to attract the nation’s top talent from diverse backgrounds to purse graduate studies and careers in academia, is moved to OMED.

2011       Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (IDEI). Dr. Archie Ervin is appointed the first African American vice president for IDEI. OMED is moved under IDEI. OMED is awarded an AAMI grant by the University System of Georgia to launch GT-PRIME (AAMI program at Georgia Tech).

2012       Cynthia Moore becomes the first woman hired as director of OMED.

2016       Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion renovates the Chapin building were OMED is housed, and establishes the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion (CSDI) at Chapin. S. Gordon Moore Jr. is hired as executive director of CSDI.

2019       Dr. Sybrina Atwaters, GT alumna, is hired as director of OMED. WOCI (Women of Color Initiative) is established.

2020       Peer-I-Scope program is launched to serve Achieve Atlanta Scholars, Atlanta Public School graduates, and transfer students from HBCU’s and other minority serving institutions matriculating at Georgia Tech. OMED’s Academic Empowerment and Impact Grants and Awards are launched.

2021       Career Alliance, a strategic alliance between OMED and Georgia Tech Career Center, is established to strengthen and advance experiential learning experiences (co-ops, internships, job shadowing, undergraduate research, study abroad) equitably for all students.

*Timeline data sources: Georgia Tech Onyx Yearbook, Oral history archives, OMED Brochure archives, past director interview transcripts, personell records.

The Chapin Building has housed OMED: Educational Services since 1979. Recently renovated, the Chapin Building is located on 681 Cherry Street NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0600.