Irving (Bud) Foote, Faculty


Irving (Bud) Foote, Faculty


The following is an Oral History Interview with Irving "Bud" Foote, Georgia Tech professor from 1957, conducted by Marilyn Somers on December 11, 1995 in the Alumni Association in Atlanta. The subject of the interview is student and faculty life at Georgia Tech. Bud Foote begins the interview by talking about his life before taking a job at Georgia Tech. He states that Jack Walker came to the Arnold School, where Mr. Foote was teaching, and asked him to come to Tech at teach. He then talks about Don Oberdorf, his freshman roommate from Princeton. Bud talks about his academic career and the many odd jobs he has held in his lifetime. He then discusses his first experience in Atlanta and his first visit to Tech. Foote then talks about the technological atmosphere at Tech and how this affects the arts. He has an aside on the arts and technology. He goes into a discussion on being a Yankee in the South in the 1950's and the two integrations that happened at Tech. Foote talks about the racial integration that happened at Tech. He talks about the mood of Atlanta at the time. Foote relates a funny story about his sons and a Klan gathering on Peachtree Street. He talks about how Tech integrated racially without a problem because the administration took a hard line on the students. He then states that Tech students are too busy to hate. Foote states that women had a harder time integrating Tech than the African-Americans. He talks about the men at Tech not being southern gentlemen. He then talks about his ascension through the academic ranks to full professorship. He talks about the working conditions at Tech in his early days. He mentions his family briefly. He then talks about the make-up of the students body and how it has changed over the years. Bud talks about faculty members ranging from Henry Adams to Bill Mullen. He states that Henry Adams was an extremely profane man who was a scholar on Shakespeare. Foote talks about English 10 and teaching it in night school. He discusses his burn-out at Yale University. He then talks about Glenn Rainey, a man who he describes as a liberal when it wasn't fashionable. Foote mentions the nicknames that Glenn Rainey and David Comer had for each other. He then talks about the risque folklore of the English department, including the Christina Rosseti story. He talks about his time as the AASU's faculty advisor. While talking about this he mentions Bill Stanley and tells a story about how George Griffin would call everybody "boy" and how the African-American students shouldn't be offended by this. He talks about the reason why he left Tech for a few years while his second marriage broke up. Foote then launches into how he came to teach science fiction at Tech and how lucky he feels to be teaching at such a great institute. He then talks about where he lived while in Atlanta most notably living in "the dump." Bud then talks briefly about his children. He then talks about his time as a resident advisor at Brown Residence Hall. He talks about how the Tech students creatively made free phone calls. He then talks about his football memories. He tells a story about Harry Coleman and John Neff. He relates an unpleasant memory of Tech students making racist comments at the Liberty Bowl. He then talks about scholarly students, including the Bubba Buddhist. He then talks about The Bat. He talks about George Griffin and what he did after retirement. He then talks about Atlanta before the explosive growth. Foote reiterates the fact that the student body has changed over the years and then talks about his experience with the scholar exchange program with the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg. Bud talks about the notion of change as it pertains to Tech. He states that Tech is not a mechanism, rather it is an organism. He concludes the interview by talking about how Bobby Dodd would inquire about his player's grades and if they were failing he would get tutors for then, but he would let the professors fail a player without impunity.


1995 December 11