George P. Burdell: Wikis


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Burdell's, a store in Georgia Tech's student center

George P. Burdell is a fictitious student officially enrolled at Georgia Tech in 1927 as a practical joke. Since then, he has received several degrees, served in the military, gotten married, served on Mad magazine's Board of Directors, among other accomplishments. Burdell at one point even led the online poll for Time's 2001 Person of the Year award.[1] He has evolved into an important and notorious campus tradition; all Georgia Tech students learn about him at orientation.[2]





The credit for George P. Burdell's origins go to William Edgar "Ed" Smith, BS 1930. Ed conceived the idea for Burdell when he received two Georgia Tech enrollment forms.[3] In a 1977 Atlanta Newspaper interview, Smith said that he originally intended to enroll his ARC (Academy of Richmond County - Augusta, Georgia) high school principal, George P. Butler. He decided against it and changed the last name to Burdell, the maiden name of his best friend's mother.[3][4]

After enrolling him, Smith signed Burdell up for all the same classes he had. Smith would do all schoolwork twice, changing it slightly to avoid professors catching his sham. When he had a test, he would take it twice and then turn it in under both names.[5] By 1930 George had earned his bachelor's,[3] and only a few years later received his master's degree.[3] He became an official alumnus, even though his name has remained on the active student rolls ever since.[6] In 1930, Burdell was admitted to the ANAK Society, Georgia Tech's oldest secret society.[7]

One of the first pranks to use George's name came after someone was snubbed by a fraternity he had intended to join. "That irritated [him]. He went out and ordered a truckload of furniture to be delivered c.o.d. to that fraternity. Of course, the order was made by George P. Burdell."[8]

World War II

During World War II, George P. Burdell served in the armed forces on many fronts, his name appearing around the world. He was listed on the flight crew of a B-17 bomber, flying twelve missions over Europe with the 8th Air Force in England. However, when a Tech graduate became the new operations officer for the crew, he immediately recognized the name on the flight log, and Burdell's flying days were over.[4]

George P. Burdell and equally fictitious Agnes Scott College student Ramona Cartwright announced their engagement in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 1958, a prank by Agnes Scott's senior class.[9] The 50th wedding anniversary, of "Mr. and Mrs. George P. Burdell from Atlanta," was acknowledged in the September 23, 2006 broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion.[10]

Postwar career

George P. Burdell is listed as a basketball letterman from 1956 to 1958 in the Georgia Tech Basketball yearbook.[11] In 1969 Georgia Tech computerized its class registration, believing they had successfully found a way to keep George from registering for class that semester. As it turned out, hackers registered him for every class in the Institute that quarter, over 3,000 credit hours.[4] And George did so several times, including in 1975 and 1980.[6]

George P. Burdell was listed on Mad magazine's Board of Directors from 1969 until 1981.[2] Also, when Time magazine was attempting to select their Person of the Year for 2001, George Burdell was the leading candidate (holding at least 57% of the votes) until the magazine removed him from the running.[1][2] In addition, many checks from Kraft Foods are signed by George.[12] Burdell has even obtained many credit cards in his name, and subscribes to many magazines and music clubs.

More recently, Burdell has participated in music and politics; George P. is a longstanding staff member of WREK,[13] the Georgia Tech student radio station, and he played baritone on the 1995 album Jesus Christ Superstar: A Resurrection, which was made in Atlanta by many musicians from the Atlanta alternative scene.[14] In 2000, George was the alternate delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Georgia.[15] Burdell was also a member of the choir of the 2006 album There is a Place.[16] He is also listed in the Faculty and Staff list on Georgia Perimeter College's website. Currently, George's "son," George P. Burdell Junior, is an active proctor for several classes every term.[17] Burdell is also currently listed as a production assistant for the South Park website,[18]


Burdell is a campus icon, and his name is revered among the students on campus.[19][20] Incoming freshmen are introduced to him as one of the greatest alumni to graduate from the school. George P. Burdell is often paged by first year marching band students during football games and also at airports, bars, and hotels. Georgia Tech students or alumni often use his name as an alias when they do not want to disclose their real name.[21] There is a store in Georgia Tech's student center named "Burdell's," pictured above.[22] A newspaper recently published in its "community calendar" that Burdell was "unavoidably detained on Friday night and was unable to sit in the Relay for Life dunking booth. His slide rule was confiscated by TSA at the Augusta Airport."[23]


  1. ^ a b "George P. Burdell for Time's Person of the Year". BUZZwords. Georgia Tech Alumni Association. 2002-01-02. Retrieved 2007-03-05.  
  2. ^ a b c Amick, Daniel (2004-08-20). "George P. Burdell: the legend lives on". The Technique. Retrieved 2007-02-04.  
  3. ^ a b c d Edwards, Pat (2000-02-25). "George P. Burdell-the man, the myth, well, the myth". The Technique. Retrieved 2007-04-10.  
  4. ^ a b c "The TBook: George P. Burdell". Retrieved 2007-03-02.  
  5. ^ "Traditions". Georgia Tech Athletic Association. Retrieved 2007-03-02.  
  6. ^ a b "George P. Burdell: A student of mystery, a student of legend - the forever student remains alive somewhere at Tech". Stay Informed. Spring 1998. Retrieved 2007-03-02.  
  7. ^ "ANAK Graduates, 1930-1939". The ANAK Society. The ANAK Society. Retrieved 2007-12-25.  
  8. ^ Dunn, John (Winter 1996). "Burdell's Pal: Colonel Drennon to receive Alumni Distinguished Service Award". Tech Topics. Retrieved 2007-03-02.  
  9. ^ "Agnes Scott - Student Life - Traditions". Retrieved 2007-03-02.  
  10. ^ "A Prairie Home Companion for September 23, 2006". American Public Media. 2007-09-23. Retrieved 2007-03-02.  
  11. ^ "Georgia Tech Basketball History". Georgia Tech Basketball Yearbook. 2002.  
  12. ^ Goettling, Gary (Winter 1991). "Isn't that George on the Horn?". Technotes. Georgia Tech Alumni Association. Retrieved 2007-02-04.  
  13. ^ "WREK website staff listing". Retrieved 2008-02-22.  
  14. ^ "Jesus Christ Superstar: A Resurrection". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-09-04.  
  15. ^ "Index to Politicians: Burcham to Burdette". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 2007-03-02.  
  16. ^ "There Is a Place". Retrieved 2007-03-02.  
  17. ^ "Burdell Jr.'s course surveys". SGA Course Critique. Retrieved 2007-03-02.  
  18. ^ "Web Credits". Retrieved 2009-05-27.  
  19. ^ Edwards, Pat (2000-09-15). "Faces at Georgia Tech: Profile on George P. Burdell". The Technique. Retrieved 2007-02-04.  
  20. ^ Ritz, Anthony (2000-09-22). "Burdell’s birthday bash becomes tradition". The Technique. Retrieved 2007-02-04.  
  21. ^ Schultz, Jeff (2006-02-24). "Sweden-Finland: The Georgia-Florida of Olympic hockey". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2007-02-04.  
  22. ^ "Georgia Tech Student Center". Retrieved 2007-03-02.  
  23. ^ "Pick up stickers". The Lincoln Journal. 2007-05-17. Retrieved 2007-06-15.  


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