Sunday, March 16, 2014
April 27, 1939: Ted Thornton at Georgia Tech
Letter from Ted Thornton at Georgia Tech to Charlotte at AFSC
Dear Miss Salmon,
The International Relations Club and the YMCA cabinet have formed a committee for the purpose of raising money for two scholarships for refugee students here at Tech. We have succeeded in getting promises for some cash and the local fraternities are willing to board them by taking one of them for a month.
The greatest difficulties we have run into yet is that no one has anyone definitely in mind for the scholarships and some people are dubious as to the kind of students we can get. I am sure you can locate some very good students for us and wish you would send us some information as to the possibilities. I can't promise that we will be able to follow up your suggestions as some others on the committee have other contacts that they will be making. However, I will do all I can.
It has been decided to take one Jewish student and one other. They will be able to get most any kind of engineering here and should have a wonderful opportunity.
Georgia Tech! Another school joins the list of those willing to help refugee students. Jason and I met in seminary in Atlanta, Georgia, where we saw the Georgia Tech school and the Atlanta skyline often. So there’s some warm familiarity when I see the Georgia Tech name and address.
In the letter, Ted tells Charlotte that the “International Relations Club and the YMCA cabinet have formed a committee for the purpose of raising money for two scholarships for refugee students here at Tech.” He tells her the length of his plan, which is actually pretty well thought out, down to the fraternities playing host to the students.
This is probably the first engineering school to have contacted the American Friends Services Committee (AFSC) which is clearly why Charlotte thought to put this letter into the file for my Opa. Opa was a perfect candidate for Georgia Tech.
Ted seemed to be concerned about whether or not there would be students qualified for the rigor of a Georgia Tech education. I doubt he knew about the rigor of German education, but I am sure some of his worries are legitimate. How does someone travel from a foreign country and language, having experienced who knows what trauma, and begin a challenging academic year and succeed? It was a valid question.
I look forward to seeing Charlotte’s response!