George Pierre Rodrigue
June 19, 1931 – September 9, 2018
Dr. George “Pete” Rodrigue, who taught electrical engineering at Georgia Tech from 1968 to 1996, died Sunday in Atlanta after a long illness. He was 87. Dr. Rodrigue grew up along Louisiana’s Bayou Lafourche, in Napoleonville and Paincourtville. He graduated in the final class of Napoleonville High School, in 1948. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics from Louisiana State University and a Ph.D. in applied physics from Harvard University. At LSU he met a lovely coed named Mary Merritt, newly arrived from Argentina. Lovestruck, he promised to take her to “Rondon, Paris, and Lome.” She married him anyway. Over the next 63 years they did travel the world – including visits to London, Paris, and Rome. Dr. Rodrigue worked as a research scientist for Sperry Microwave Electronics Company in Clearwater, Florida, in the late 1950s and 1960s. He and his colleagues won multiple patents, pioneering the development of microwave technologies. He became a professor of electrical engineering at Georgia Tech in 1968, and a Regents’ Professor in 1977. Former students called him a gentleman and a mentor, willing to solve any engineering problem. He also may have been the era’s best-dressed engineering professor. Several times he was recognized as the department’s outstanding teacher. In 1972 he was Outstanding Teacher for all of Georgia Tech. In 1995, he was named Distinguished Educator by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (MTTS). He served the IEEE in many capacities, and became president of MTTS in 1975. A nationally recognized expert in microwave technology, he worked with organizations including the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Bell Labs, Hughes Aircraft, Lockheed-Georgia, Raytheon, Northrup, Airtron, the Superconducting Supercollider Laboratory, and Electromagnetic Sciences, Inc. He was a member of EMS’ board of directors from 1969 to 1972. He was a longtime member of the parishes of Our Lady of the Assumption and of Christ the King Cathedral in Atlanta, and served as a lay reader in both. He also was a founding member and officer of the Ridgeview Neighborhood Association. Dr. Rodrigue was an avid sailor, taking generations of children and grandchildren out on the Gulf of Mexico and on Lake Lanier. He once cited three reasons for becoming a professor: “June, July, and August.” Other interests included the New York Metropolitan Opera, The Atlanta Opera, and The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He also had a soft spot for Labrador retrievers, though he insisted on banning them from the living room. His true passion was his family. He hosted raucous, politically contentious dinners every evening and gigantic family vacations every summer, while putting six children through college. Dr. Rodrigue is survived by his wife, Mary Merritt Rodrigue, of Atlanta, and by their children: George Rodrigue of Cleveland, Ohio; Edward Maxwell Rodrigue of Atlanta; Mary Catherine Rodrigue of Hightstown, N.J.: Frances Rodrigue Mathis of Atlanta; Jane Rodrigue of Pearisburg, Va.; and Dorothy Rodrigue McDaniel of Columbus, Ga.; and by seven grandchildren. His legacy also continues through thousands of students he taught and mentored. The family will receive friends from 6-8pm on Thursday, September 13, 2018 at H.M. Patterson & Son - Oglethorpe Hill, 4550 Peachtree Rd, Brookhaven, GA 30319. A funeral mass will be held at 10am on Friday, September 14, 2018 at Christ the King Cathedral, 2699 Peachtree Rd, Atlanta, GA 30305. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Catholic Relief Services (CRS.org), to The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra or The Atlanta Opera.
- Visitation Thursday, September 13, 2018
- Funeral Service Friday, September 14, 2018
- Committal Service Friday, September 14, 2018
George Pierre Rodrigue
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September 19, 2018
I had Dr. Rodrigue for several courses at GT during the late 70s and early 80s including my very first EE course EE1011, I think. To this day, I still remember him sauntering casually into the classroom on the first day of class in a suit looking quite dapper. I also remember him correcting the pronunciation of his name :-)
As this was my very first class in EE I was very nervous. He had a calm and relaxing demeanor which had a very positive effect on me. I did well in that class thanks to him. He was an excellent teacher and knew how to connect with his students at whatever level they needed. He was always very kind and patient whenever I had a question or visited him during his office hours. I never felt rushed or anyway belittled by him. He had a natural way of quietly building your confidence anytime you interacted with him. It was always clear that for him it was not about making himself look brilliant and smart to his student but rather making them feel brilliant and smart!
Some professors tend to stress you out or keep you on edge - he never did. He always created an environment that was conducive to learning and one in which you felt that you could do your best. I have had many professors over the years most of whom I have forgotten. I will always remember Dr. Rodrigue! He was a very nice, kind, gentle and humble man. He had a very nice smile too!
September 11, 2018
I remember Dr. Rodgrigue quite fondly having taken several classes from him in the late 1970s. . He always gave challenging tests and homework assignments, which I usually enjoyed. After what I thought was one particularly laborious assignment I complained under my breadth as I handed it in that I thought it was a bit unfair. It was a silly comment and I'm not sure why I made it, but Dr. Rodrigue heard me. He smiled in a not overly friendly way and said "What are you going to tell your boss when you're at work - that the problem the company is facing is unfair?" That was a better lesson than the homework assignment. Dr. Rodrigue was an impactful teacher with a dry sense of humor that I enjoyed. He'll be missed.