TTU to host visit from Rita Geier on April 8

Tennessee Tech University will host a presentation by Rita Geier at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8, in the Derryberry Hall Auditorium.

She is the original plaintiff in the 1968 Geier lawsuit, filed because Tennessee maintained a segregated system of higher education even after its legal desegregation in 1956.

Following her discussion, titled "What the Geier Lawsuit Has Meant to Me," she will address audience questions. The event is free and open to the public.

" I will congratulate TTU on the initiative and innovation it has shown in implementing the Geier Consent Decree, underscore the critical importance of bringing the power and opportunity of technology education to African Americans and other minorities and encourage TTU’s future efforts," she said.

The Tennessee Board of Regents in December 2002 named TTU as the recipient of the first Spirit of Geier Award, which recognizes a TBR institution or individual who has shown exceptional commitment to implementing the intent of the Geier Consent Decree.
Agreement by all plaintiffs to the Geier Consent Decree was achieved in 2000 under the mediation efforts of Carlos Gonzáles, who is now monitoring the compliance of all parties.

If all aspects of the consent decree are carried out to the satisfaction of the federal court, Tennessee’s system of higher education could be declared unitary in 2005, bringing an end to the litigation.

Among TTU’s efforts to support the consent decree include:

o Piloting its own pre-university program for minority high school students in 2001, which was used as a model for this year’s official Geier summer program.

o Hosting a Geier visiting professor, Frank Underdown, professor of physics and astronomy at Michigan Technological University.
o And initiating a plan that doubled the number of black graduate students enrolled at TTU within one year.

Geier is executive counselor to the federal commissioner of the Social Security Administration. She holds a B. A. degree from Fisk University, an M. A. from the University of Chicago and a J. D. degree from Vanderbilt University.

She has been admitted to the bar in the states of Tennessee and Washington, licensed to practice in numerous federal courts and has received the Presidential Rank Meritorious Executive Award.

She is married to Paul M. Geier. The couple has two sons, and they live in Potomac, Md.