Alumnus Names Aquatic Center for Former Coach

Sept. 17, 2015


By Stacy Braukman
Georgia Tech Office of Development

Originally posted Sept. 14, 2015, in The Whistle. Click here to see original story on gatech.edu.

Almost 20 years after Atlanta hosted the Centennial Olympic Games, one of the most magnificent sites constructed for the 1996 event still reigns among the nation’s premier swimming and diving facilities.

Indeed, for two decades, the Aquatic Center has been a signature feature within the Campus Recreation Center as well as a focal point for campus tours. And now, because of the vision of one alumnus, it will bear the name of a beloved Tech swimming coach.

The facility, which will soon be known as the McAuley Aquatic Center, was named to honor James Herbert “Herb” McAuley, a 1947 electrical engineering graduate and former swimming champion who devoted four decades to coaching swimmers at Tech — both competitive swimmers and undergraduates taking the compulsory and infamous “drown-proofing” class.

Richard L. Bergmark, a 1975 industrial management graduate, is the man who made it possible. One portion is an outright gift to fund two new high-tech scoreboards for the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, which Georgia Tech will be hosting in the spring of 2016. The second part consists of a multi-year pledge creating an endowment in support of facility maintenance, improvements, and swimming programs. And the final component is an irrevocable estate provision that will one day ensure that the endowment is fully funded.

“This is a fantastic way to give recognition to Coach McAuley,” Bergmark said. “He was a great coach, a mentor, a generous person, and a Tech alumnus himself. He developed so many swimmers, many of whom I had the great fortune of meeting, competing with, and developing wonderful associations with while at Tech.”

McAuley did something else that Bergmark has never forgotten, by helping him secure an out-of-state scholarship. “It was his focus on the ‘student’ part of ‘student-athlete’ that I will forever be grateful for, because that is what enabled me to graduate from Tech,” he said.

After graduating, Bergmark achieved success in the petroleum industry. He currently serves as the chief financial officer of Core Laboratories, after having risen through the ranks at Western Atlas International, a leading provider of oilfield services and reservoir information technologies. He has served on the advisory board of the Scheller College of Business and on the board of the Georgia Tech Foundation.

Bergmark’s philanthropic investment guarantees that the McAuley Aquatic Center will remain vital to the Tech campus community, intercollegiate athletics, and the metro Atlanta area. As Bergmark put it, “One of the goals of the gift is to ensure that Georgia Tech will continue to attract the finest events to our world-class venue — this includes not just competitive events but aquatic activities and events for all students as well.”

He hopes, too, that his philanthropy will inspire others, particularly when it comes to Georgia Tech swimming. “What the program needs to complement our coaching talent and quality aquatic facilities are additional endowed scholarships,” he said.

For the second time in program history, Georgia Tech and the CRC will serve as the host site for the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships. The Women’s Championships will be held March 16-19, followed by the Men’s Championships March 23-26. Georgia Tech previously hosted the 2007 NCAA Championships and the CRC was also the site of the 1996 Summer Olympics swimming and diving competitions.

Admission to all home Georgia Tech swimming events are free and open to the public. Home events are held at the GT Aquatic Center located inside the Campus Recreation Center (CRC).

For more information on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Swimming & Diving program, follow us on Twitter (@GTSwimDive), Facebook (www.facebook.com/GTswimdive) or online at www.ramblinwreck.com.