The Georgia Tech Alumni Association honored eight distinguished members of the Georgia Tech community at its sixth annual Gold & White Honors Gala on Jan. 25, 2018, at the InterContinental Buckhead, with awards that express the Alumni Association’s appreciation for service to the Institute, recognize contributions to communities and celebrate the inspiration these individuals provide for the alumni leaders of tomorrow.
Francis Lott, Ga Tech Graduate ’58, Bachelor of Architecture ‘59, and lifelong resident of Douglas, was one of eight alumni to receive distinguished honors at the Gold & White Gala, where he was presented the 2018 Dean Griffin Community Service Award. This prestigious award recognizes alumni who have performed exemplary community service in the following ways: service in a long- term volunteer capacity, impact on the quality of life of others, leadership and creativity in dealing with societal problems and ability to serve as a source of inspiration for others.
After graduating from Georgia Tech, Francis Lott served five years as an officer in the United States Air Force, then returned to his hometown of Douglas, in Coffee County, Ga., where he joined family-owned Lott Builders Supply Co. Beginning in 1981, he established Lott Properties Inc. and led his family’s diversification into real estate development, which grew to over 40 properties, many in Douglas. In addition, Francis was a founding board member of the highly successful Douglas National Bank, and he served for 22 years on the Board of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. He currently serves on boards for the Community Foundation of Coffee County and Wiregrass Georgia Technical College Foundation.
A former chair of the local chamber of commerce, he has tirelessly volunteered his time and money to help drive improved economic growth for Coffee County. In the late 1970s, Francis initiated a community-funded speculative industrial building program in Douglas, which has developed four 100,000 sq. ft. buildings, to date, to help attract industrial prospects. He has developed shopping centers, restaurants, apartments, single-family subdivisions, self-storage facilities and more. A 2014 article in DouglasNow.com cited him as a “driving force” behind formation of the Douglas-Coffee County Jobs Development Council and noted that he had been actively involved in helping recruit industries to the community for 40 years, helping create more than 3,800 new jobs,over time. In 2004, Francis established an Economic Development Fund, with a $1 million endowment to the Community Foundation of Coffee County (CFCC) to help drive improved economic development and community growth. Francis purchased the abandoned downtown Belk Hudson building in 1998 and completely renovated it in 2004 as a mixed-use business facility. Renamed The ATRIUM, he gifted the building to the Douglas-Coffee County Economic Development Authority in 2014, then designed and built out 4,000 sq. ft. for new state-of-the-art offices for the Chamber of Commerce, as well as a 260-seat Event Center in the basement.
His community efforts haven’t gone unnoticed statewide. Francis is one of only two people to ever receive the “Volunteer of the Year” award twice from the Georgia Economic Developers Association, in 1995 and again in 2015. He’s also long been a champion of higher education and Georgia Tech, in particular. In 2015, Francis and his wife, Diane, endowed $500,000 to the G. Wayne Clough Georgia Tech Promise Scholarship Program to help provide a debt-free Georgia Tech education for students who otherwise could not afford to attend, with priority given Coffee County residents. Francis also makes frequent visits to local schools, where he’s inspired several high school students to attend college and to apply to Tech, if they do well in math and science. This fall, 15 CHS graduates will be enrolled at Georgia Tech, four on Promise Scholarships, endowed by Francis and Diane.
L to R: Francis Lott, Honoree and Recipient of the 2018 Dean Griffin Community Service Award; Douglas native, Dr. G. Wayne Clough, Georgia Tech President (2006-2014), 12th Secretary of the Smithsonian (6 years) and currently GT President Emeritus; longtime friend, Susan Sanders (M. Arch) Georgia Tech Director of Development for the College of Architecture; and Francis' wife, Diane Lott.
Francis Lott, Honoree and Recipient of the 2018 Dean Griffin Community Service Award. Francis Lott delivering speech upon acceptance of the Georgia Tech 2018 Dean Griffin Community Service Award.
Left to Right: Bill Todd, Georgia Tech Hall of Fame Alumni; Douglas native, Dr. G. Wayne Clough, Georgia Tech President (2006 -2014), Secretary of the Smithsonian (6 years), currently Georgia Tech President Emeritus;
Francis Lott standing in front of the iconic Ga Tech "Ramblin' Wreck" with the 2018 Dean Griffin Community Service Award. All proceeds of the Gold & White Honors Gala support Georgia Tech Alumni Association student programs, which prepare Tech students to become the next generation of alumni leaders.