The Yellow Jacket Marching Band
Edited and embedded by Winfield
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Tech Tower has been a defining symbol of the Institute since it was built in 1888. The infamous, five foot tall “TECH” signs were added to the tower by the class of 1922 during their freshman year in order to “light the spirit of Tech to the four points of the compass.” The practice of stealing the ‘T’ began in 1969. A group of students calling themselves “The Magnificent Seven” stole the ‘T’ in honor of Georgia Tech President Edwin D. Harrison’s retirement.
The ‘T’ has been removed from Tech Tower enough times that there is now a traditional way to do it. The ‘T’ on the East side of the tower should be taken first because it faces I-75/I-85. If the first ‘T’ is gone, one should continue around the tower in clockwise fashion; after all the ‘T’s have been captured the ‘H’s come next followed by the ‘E’s and finally the ‘C’s. After successfully stealing the ‘T,’ students traditionally returned it to the president. However, fear of punishment has caused more recent thieves to keep the ‘T’ as a souvenir of their achievement.
Over the years, Georgia Tech leadership has had differing opinions regarding the stealing of the ‘T’. Sometimes the practice was overlooked and at one time even endorsed as “among the all-time greatest rituals.” Now, however, it is strictly forbidden due to safety and liability concerns. High-tech security features such as pressure-sensitive roof tiling, fiber optic cables, and an audible alarm have been added to the “TECH” sign in order to discourage its theft. No one can blame a person for concocting a plan “so that he would have what every Tech man needed, his own glowing yellow T for a conversation piece.”