Marc E. Roach ’70: Learning responsibility and how to live and work together
Marc Roach ’70 received his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering in 1970, when he was Outstanding Alpha Tau Senior, and earned a master’s in EE a year later. He shared this reflection on his fraternity days:
There are many memories I have of people and events that were part of my Alpha Tau experience. I recall fondly the traditions like the “Black and White” formal, the spring “Shrimp and Beer” and the spring “Luau.”
I often think of brother John Roberts ’69 who was my roommate for the time I was staying at the fraternity house. I remember him standing by the Kappa Sigma flagpole at the house the Saturday night (and into early Sunday morning) after Tech played Tennessee shouting out the score over and over – “Tech 6 Tennessee 3.” His dad was a Tennessee grad, had come down for the game, and always thought John should have gone to UT. I guess this was John’s way of letting everyone know how he felt about that. For two summers, we were roommates with two other brothers staying in the Atlanta area. Now those were two wild and fun summers with stories galore – better left untold. I remember at the end of the summer of ’67 we ended up deciding to paint the fraternity house (along with what would become our first wives and our first exes) for the upcoming fall rush before everyone came back. We did a decent job although the combination of alcohol and paint fumes made it challenging to stay focused.
John was my best man at my wedding to my first wife in 1968 while at Georgia Tech. He was also my best man at my second wedding in 1985. He did a better job the second time around, as I am still happily married to that wife – Theresa. We got together often through the years after his return from service in Vietnam as we both ended up back in the Atlanta area. Eventually, John ended up working overseas in Dubai. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2006 after being hit by a van while out jogging in Dubai. John got me into jogging during the summers we were in Atlanta at the old O’Keefe high school track. I continued to do jogging (on and off) through the years. After retirement in 2010, I took back to jogging on a full-time basis. It eventually has become walking on a daily basis because of knee issues. It has kept me in good health, and I owe a lot of this to what John got me doing while being fraternity brothers at Tech.
While I was at Tech, the fraternity always struggled to keep from going on probation because of grades. It finally did happen for one quarter during the intramural football season, and we were not allowed to participate in those games as a fraternity. But “out of the box” thinking prevailed and our team players joined the Key Club and played games against other clubs. We all wore our Kappa Sigma jerseys inside out for those games. We won all our games against the other “clubs” and ended up in the championship game playing another fraternity. We lost the game, but we very proudly wore our Kappa Sigma jerseys “right side out” for that. The unique thing about that game was that it was played on Grant Field itself – the first time such a game was allowed on that field (The field was to have its grass replaced for the next football season). I am sure everyone on that team (I would name names, but I would leave some out) remembers to this day that experience.
As I reflect back on what my Alpha Tau experience meant, I think brother Mike Lutz ’68 put it well when he said in a newsletter from not too long ago: It is where you “grow up.” I would add it’s where you learn or observe the results of irresponsibility, and it makes you a more responsible person. You come to realize YOU are “in charge” of yourself. At the same time, you learn to listen to other people’s ideas and act on them together as a team to achieve a goal.