George P. Burdell

I was researching pranks because I thought I remembered a story of an Ivy League fraternity that put a horse or a pig through college by rotating attendance for tests and submitting term papers over four years. I do not know if I found my source or just another bogus student when I stumbled over the George P. Burdell running joke. Apparently Ed Smith mistakenly received two forms to Georgia Tech in 1927 and he filled out one for himself and another for George who went on to a more distinguished career than Ed. George has many degrees, he flew on twelve missions in World War II, was on the Board of Directors at Mad Magazine, and briefly led Time’s 2001 online poll for Person of the Year. A campus building at Georgia Tech is named after him. My Dad was a rambling wreck from Georgia Tech, so I am mystified why I never heard about this particular tradition. Maybe he did not want to give me any ideas or the impression this was acceptable. He was especially touchy after the investigation into who was signing Phil Rizzuto (former Yankee shortstop) into Boeing logbooks for long distance phone charges shortly after I was rehired by the Company in 1972.


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