At the Spring 2021 Commencement ceremony, H. Milton Stewart (IE 1961) received an honorary doctorate from Georgia Tech in recognition of his tremendous and longtime service to the Institute.
A leader in the telecommunications industry for most of his career, Stewart is the retired CEO of Standard Telephone Company. He has served on numerous boards including the Georgia Tech Alumni Association, the Georgia Tech Foundation, and the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) Advisory Board. Stewart and his wife, Carolyn, served as honorary chairs of the public phase of Campaign Georgia Tech. They are members of The Hill Society.
Stewart decided to attend Georgia Tech when George Griffin, then the dean of students, visited his rural Georgia high school. Stewart entered the Institute as an electrical engineering major, then switched to industrial engineering (IE) when he realized the IE curriculum was better suited to his interests in telecommunications and the outdoors.
“I loved statistics,” Stewart recalled in a 2006 interview. “Statistics was material to 20th-century telecommunications in order to optimize electromechanical switching equipment to handle busy-hour call volume.” Other IE coursework that he found helpful throughout his career included plant design and layout, material handling, and engineering economy, in addition to numerous interdisciplinary engineering classes. A highlight of Stewart’s college career was working as a student assistant in the IE office, helmed at the time by Colonel Frank Groseclose.
The School that bears his name has benefited immeasurably from Stewart’s philanthropy. In 1995 he established the H. Milton Stewart Endowment Fund for ISyE programs, and in 1999 he endowed the H. Milton and Carolyn J. Stewart School Chair, the first such chair at the Institute. In 2006 Stewart provided a permanent endowment, which named the School and impacted and enhanced the entire ISyE program.
“ISyE always makes us proud,” Stewart said. “Receiving the honorary Ph.D. was a wonderful thrill and is a recognition both humbling to and greatly appreciated by Carolyn and me and by our incredibly supportive family.”
H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering