Honorary Alumna Jeanne Ferst Dies

Jeanne Rolfe Ferst, wife of the late Robert H. Ferst, ME 38, died May 27 at her home in Atlanta. She was 91.

Though she attended the University of Chicago, Mrs. Ferst became a proud supporter of Georgia Tech after marrying into one of the Institute’s most dedicated alumni families in 1940.

During Tech’s Capital Campaign, Mrs. Ferst made a commitment of $1 million to the Institute for the naming of the Robert Ferst Center for the Arts to honor her husband, who died in 1991. She later served on the center’s advisory board. The Ferst Center, which over the years has hosted performances by Arlo Guthrie and Penn & Teller as well as a recent campus visit by Gen. David Petraeus, is located just steps away from the winding street named for the Ferst family.

Mrs. Ferst, a retired real estate broker, was named an honorary alumna of Tech at the Alumni Association’s Gold & White Honors ceremony in 2008.

Her service off campus included chairing the Fulton County Economic Development Advisory Board and serving on the Fulton County Economic Development Corp. and the Southern Center for International Studies boards; the Georgia Higher Education Savings Plan board of directors; the Kennedy Center’s National Committee for the Performing Arts; the Commission on Presidential Scholars; and the Georgia Public Telecommunications Commission.

Mrs. Ferst five times served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention. She was a chair and member of the Georgia Republican finance committee and treasurer of the Georgia Republican Party. She also served as chair or co-chair of presidential finance committees. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that former Georgia Rep. and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was scheduled to serve as a pallbearer at Mrs. Ferst’s funeral.

Memorials in her name may be made to the Georgia Tech Foundation for the Jeanne Ferst Director’s Chair in the Robert Ferst Center for the Arts.

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