Parker H. “Pete” Petit, Atlanta business executive and philanthropist, has announced a decision to give a $5 million gift to Georgia State University to launch the construction of a new science teaching laboratory building on campus. Pending Georgia Board of Regents approval, the Parker H. Petit Science Teaching Laboratory will be the first building constructed in a planned $200 million University Science Park complex.

Located on a three-acre site in the heart of the Georgia State campus at the corner of Decatur Street and Piedmont Avenue, the state-of-the-art laboratory will provide teaching and research facilities for the 5,300 students who are majoring in science programs housed in the new building.

Georgia State President Carl Patton credits Petit with moving the project forward. “Pete’s gift has been instrumental in initializing this project,” he said. “Teaching and research in science-related disciplines at Georgia State will move to a new level as a result of the construction of the Parker H. Petit Science Teaching Laboratory.”

After founding Healthdyne in 1970, Petit attended Georgia State at night and received his M.B.A. degree in finance in 1973. “Being able to obtain my M.B.A. degree at night while managing my new business was critical for a young entrepreneur. My M.B.A. training allowed me to keep my rapidly growing business under control. I was able to communicate well with venture capitalists and later with Wall Street financiers because of my financial knowledge. In fact, without my being able to obtain my M.B.A., Healthdyne might not have survived those critical first five years.”

Petit founded Healthdyne in 1970 and served as chairman and CEO until 1996, when Healthdyne was split into three public corporations. At that point, he became chairman of the board of the new entities: Healthdyne Technologies, Healthdyne Information Enterprises and Matria Healthcare. The first two were later merged with other companies, and Petit became CEO and chairman of Matria Healthcare in October 2000.

Petit’s philanthropic interests have focused on science and technology. He endowed the Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience at Georgia Tech and assisted in the funding of the Biotechnology Building on the Tech campus. His numerous business affiliations include service on the boards of the Georgia Research Alliance, the Georgia Tech Foundation, Intelligent Systems Inc. and Logility Inc. He was elected to the Technology Hall of Fame of Georgia in 1994.