“It is unprecedented that a leading research university can conceive, design, and construct a building that, inherent in its design, will accelerate innovation and breakthrough discoveries.” That was the immediate impression of Helen B. and Roger A. Krone, AE 1978, after they toured the Engineered Biosystems Building (EBB) and learned about the work that’s happening there.
They were so inspired, in fact, that they made a life-changing decision: to make a naming gift that will advance research in biomedicine and biosciences and leave an enduring legacy at Georgia Tech.
Opened in 2015, EBB embodies collaboration. It was designed specifically to bring together researchers from different disciplines so that, as a community, Georgia Tech faculty and students drawn from biology, chemistry, and engineering can elevate our understanding of living systems and bring about new cures for diseases. It houses the Children’s Pediatric Technology Center, a research partnership with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University. And it was made possible thanks to the investment of the State of Georgia, the Institute, and private philanthropy.
“We believe that the next big area for Georgia Tech is at the intersection of engineering and biosciences,” the Krones explained. “There is so much we need to do: find cures for cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. And that will require a new era in cooperation and collaboration. We hope that our gift will help propel Tech to a global leadership role in solving the most difficult human engineering problems that affect us all.”
The Roger A. and Helen B. Krone Engineered Biosystems Building is organized around research neighborhoods: chemical biology, cell and developmental biology, and systems biology, and provides 219,000 square feet of shared laboratories, offices, and common spaces. Stairs alternate on various floors, encouraging people to move within the neighborhoods and interact with one another. Small and informal meeting areas are located near the stairwells, to further encourage interactions among the 140 faculty members and 1,000 graduate students who work there.
“I have often said that if cancer is cured at Georgia Tech, it will happen in the facility we have been calling EBB,” said Gary S. May, EE 1985, dean and Southern Company Chair in the College of Engineering. “I could not be more pleased to say that that potential now exists for the Krone Building. Roger and Helen Krone have been great benefactors to Tech. It is fitting that this generosity is now permanently reflected in the building that will bear their name.”
“We believe that the next big area for Georgia Tech is at the intersection of engineering and biosciences.”
- Helen B. and Roger A. Krone
Paul M. Goldbart, dean and Betsy Middleton and John Clark Sutherland Chair in the College of Sciences, echoed May’s sentiments. “I believe I speak for all of the researchers whose work will reach new heights as a result of the Krone Building, as well as all of the people whose lives and health will be enriched because of this work, when I say how immensely grateful we are to Roger and Helen Krone and all others who have made this ‘temple of science and engineering’ possible.”
Roger Krone is the CEO of Leidos, a leader in science and technology solutions in defense, intelligence, homeland security, and civil and health markets. Before joining the company, he was president of Network and Space Systems for The Boeing Company, and was vice president and treasurer of McDonnell Douglas at the time of its 1997 merger with Boeing. Krone first began working at McDonnell Douglas in 1992 as director of financial planning after spending 14 years at General Dynamics.
Helen Krone is secretary, treasurer, and financial manager for the Krone Foundation. She is a member of the board of trustees for the Mountain Retreat Association, which manages the Montreat Conference Center, a national Presbyterian conference center in North Carolina.
For both of them, philanthropy is not just something they do, but an essential part of who they are. Over many years they have given generously, especially to the universities that shaped their lives — Helen’s alma mater is the University of Texas at Austin, and Roger holds a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
“Our success is the integral product of all of the investments that people and institutions have made in us over the past 40 years,” they said. “The transformation we have watched at Georgia Tech over those same 40 years has been the direct result of the commitment that alumni have made in the Institute. The university that Tech will become will be a direct result of the lasting commitment we all make.”
In 2015, the couple made an estate gift for faculty support in the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering that pushed that school past its campaign goal in the final months of Campaign Georgia Tech. For 43 consecutive years, they have given to Roll Call. But it’s not only about financial support. Roger Krone currently serves on the board of the Georgia Tech Foundation and he has been a member and chair of the Georgia Tech Advisory Board. He also served as an ex-officio member of the Campaign Steering Committee.
“My education didn’t end with my graduation,” he explained. “My lifelong association with Tech through continuing education, lectures, seminars, recruiting, advisory boards, and, of course, athletics, have continuously enriched my life.”