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Wreathes placed on gravestones on Memorial Day in honor of those who served.

Reflections on Memorial Day 2019

On Nov. 11, 1921, America paused to acknowledge the contribution of one of its heroes. Along with thousands of citizens, President Warren G. Harding, former President Woodrow Wilson, Supreme Court justices, congressional leaders, and international diplomats assembled at Arlington Cemetery in Washington D.C. to memorialize a fellow American and World War I casualty whose name, origin, and personal history were — and remain — unknown.

We close Georgia Tech’s campus on Memorial Day to honor and remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to our country, which remains a beacon for freedom in a tumultuous world. Americans in all 50 states and abroad are encouraged to slow down, reflect, and consider the high cost paid by so many who have come before us. This time of year is especially poignant for “The Greatest Generation” that lifted America through World War II’s dark days. Seventy-four years ago, they were young men and women, many the age of our students today, when Germany signed an act of military surrender, and the world celebrated V-E Day — Victory in Europe — on May 8, 1945.

Celebrating Student Success One Handshake at a Time

Success is measured in many different ways in higher education, but among the most meaningful at the Georgia Institute of Technology is the number of graduates we see joyfully accepting their bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. degrees each fall and spring. Some 3,800 Yellow Jackets walked up to receive their diplomas May 3-4 in McCamish Pavilion at Spring 2019 Commencement — our 257th for those keeping count. Because I will soon close a chapter in my life as Georgia Tech's president, I relished this one last opportunity to shake each of our graduates' hands, something I have been privileged to do with most of the 62,000-plus Yellow Jackets who have received degrees since I came to Tech in spring 2009.

 

Looking Ahead: Plans for the Future

I have indicated to Chancellor Steve Wrigley my desire to step down as president of Georgia Tech this coming summer.

While we have not identified a specific date, I anticipate that in the coming weeks, he will establish a search committee and that I will continue to serve as president until the new president has been identified and is able to begin his/her tenure.

The opportunity to serve as president of Georgia Tech for the past 10 years has been one of the highlights of my career and it is my hope and expectation that upon completion of my duties as president, I will be able to return to the faculty and resume my teaching and research at Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech is a great institution and great institutions are built on great people, great faculty, great staff and great students. 

Val and I look forward to continuing to work with you through the upcoming transition period to ensure that Georgia Tech can continue its pursuit of excellence, a pursuit that has helped to make Georgia Tech one of the finest institutions of higher education in the country. 

Learn more about the national search process for Georgia Tech’s 12th president. 

Review a full position description, the search committee roster, and other pertinent information.

Increasing Access, Reducing Costs, and Meeting Future Workforce Needs

The Georgia Institute of Technology has long been known as a leader in education and innovative solutions to a multitude of challenges. Through the focused efforts of more than 50 faculty, staff, and students over the past two years, the Commission on Creating the Next in Education has identified a series of recommendations and actions that will place Georgia Tech at the forefront of innovative educational institutions. The Commission, launched by Provost Rafael Bras, has conducted extensive research and explored innovative approaches to higher education that address the changing needs of learners and educators alike, including ways to improve effectiveness, increase access, reduce costs, and meet the needs of workforce development today and well into the future. The results of this effort are now available in the report entitled “Deliberate Innovation, Lifetime Education.” 

Commitment to Ethics

Georgia Tech is entrusted by students, parents, taxpayers, sponsors, alumni, donors, and friends with resources and with the responsibility to fulfill our mission of education, research, public service, and economic development. This trust and responsibility require a commitment to ethical standards to assure others that our activities are executed in the best interest of those who support us and of those we serve. 

Commitment to Diversity

“We will recruit, develop, retain, and engage a diverse cadre of students, faculty, and staff with a wide variety of backgrounds, perspectives, interests, and talents, creating a campus community that exemplifies the best in all of us—in our intellectual pursuits, our diversity of thought, our personal integrity, and our inclusive excellence.” 
—Georgia Tech Strategic Plan