Bathtub gift received in name of Jordan

Bathtub DonationKennesaw State University recently received the unique gift of a bathtub in the name of late alumnus and former adjunct professor Edward Jordan ’82. The tub was presented to Renee Butler, interim dean of the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology.

Jordan earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering technology from what was then called Southern Technical Institute. After passing away in December 2017 at age 65, his wife, Shirley Jordan, and their close friend, Dwayne Whittle, wanted to provide a gift to the College and leave a legacy of the extremely popular bathtub races that took place in Marietta from 1966 through 1991.

“We wished to make this donation to the University representing Edward and the bathtub racing legacy, which includes the students and staff involved throughout the years,” Shirley Jordan said. “This tub represents knowledge gained, ingenuity, as well as skills developed by the students and staff of Kennesaw State University, formerly known as Southern Polytechnic State University.” 

The races during that period attracted thousands of people to campus while the building of bathtubs served as a way for students to apply their engineering skills. In 1968, motorized engines began being used and the event gained national attention.

According to Whittle, the bathtub donated was built in 1981 and was raced to many first-place finishes until 1991. The current No. 15 tub, which replaced an older version that was crashed in February 1981, is made of cast iron and was required to be at least 180 pounds. The gold tub with green trim also features signage of two sponsors.

Bathtub Donation-1Edward Jordan really enjoyed racing bathtubs as a college student and won several races in which he competed. He later spent many years, from 1985 until his death, as a beloved instructor at the University. His buddy, Whittle ’80, also is a KSU alumnus (Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering technology) and current part-time assistant professor for mechanical engineering technology.

Besides serving as part-time professors at Kennesaw State, Edward Jordan and Whittle also worked together at the Lockheed Martin Corporation in Marietta. Jordan started at Lockheed Martin in 1983 and retired as a senior manufacturing engineer in 2011. 

On Saturday, Aug. 25, the presentation of the bathtub gift took place during a special event on KSU’s Marietta campus. A group of about 65 people attended the ceremony to commemorate the historic bathtub races. The tub will hang in the lobby of the Engineering Technology Center as a permanent display.
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“The Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology is proud to carry on the traditions begun by Southern Tech,” Butler said. “Today, we are home to about 4,500 engineering and engineering technology students, who will all benefit by learning about the heritage of the Southern Tech bathtub races from the Edward Jordan bathtub. The bathtub is a testament to our students’ ingenuity and engineering skills. With such fine craftsmanship, it is a true work of art that will be a showpiece for the Engineering Technology Center.”

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