On March 21 U.S. News & World Report ran a joint op-ed by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker,and Georgia Tech President G. P. "Bud" Peterson on the importance of encouraging young people to consider and prepare for careers in manufacturing.
Together, our two public research universities provide educational opportunities for 56,000 students and conduct $900 million in research each year, spanning everything from national defense to cancer treatments to Internet security. But now, much of the federal funding for this important research is in jeopardy because of the so-called fiscal cliff, or sequestration, which is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1.
Every Georgian has a stake in our state’s manufacturing sector. Not only is manufacturing one of the cornerstones of the U.S. economy, it also accounts for more than 90 percent of Georgia’s exports. Making things and getting them to the customer has a multiplier effect, directly and indirectly creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and impacting communities across the state.
To all our students, returning and new, welcome back to campus and another academic year! I hope each of you found some time to expand your horizons over the summer months — whether it involved taking a vacation, pursuing hobbies, or, to paraphrase the novelist Marcel Proust, “learning to see the world with new eyes.” It is important to stretch yourselves.
The combination of confidently telling our story to market Atlanta as a university city, and driving strong higher education and business collaboration as outlined in the Metro Chamber’s Forward Atlanta plan can produce powerful results. We’re already doing many of the right things. Now, we are challenged to increase collaboration and tell our story to the world to maximize impact and further boost our state’s economy.
This weekend, along with our new transfer and graduate students, we will welcome more than 2,600 freshmen to our campus. They will enter a community of scholars and more than 127,000 alumni, representing more than 125 years of tradition, ingenuity and innovation, all unified by our motto of “Progress and Service.”
Alexander Hamilton said that “Not only the wealth, but the independence and security of a country, appear to be materially connected with the prosperity of manufacturers." That statement is perhaps even more relevant today than it was 200 years ago.
As we approach the end of the semester with final exams and commencement, it is appropriate to pause a moment and reflect on what we, as members of the Tech community, have been able to accomplish together this past year, and to highlight some of the challenges that lie ahead.
Eighteen months ago, the Tech community embarked on an ambitious journey to write a 25-year strategic plan that would differentiate us in the years to come, positioning Tech as the defining technological research university of the 21st century. It has only been six months since the plan was finalized, and I’m happy to report that we’re making progress.
the election behind them, Congress must now turn its focus to our country’s
critical priorities. High on their list should be finding ways to rekindle our
nation’s competitive capacity and spirit, and increasing collaboration between the
various sectors of our society.
From the beginning, the Georgia Institute of Technology has focused on solving problems. Our growth has responded to the needs of both a city and a state transitioning from the agricultural to the industrial to the digital age.
When I first arrived at Georgia Tech, I was tremendously impressed and, in fact, a
little overwhelmed by the breadth and scope of the research under way here at
Tech and by the efforts to commercialize these developments.
Just over a year ago, the Georgia Tech community
undertook the task of developing a strategic vision for Georgia Tech that will
shape our future for the next 25 years. Our challenge was to create a shared vision to
ensure success in a rapidly changing environment, allowing us to make the best
investments today to better prepare our students and the Institute for the
week Val and I attended the 11th Annual Women in Engineering Excellence Award
Banquet, where we were overwhelmed by all of the amazing young women we talked
to and met. Reflecting on that
experience, it is hard to believe that for the first 67 years, Georgia Tech did
not admit women into its full-time programs.
Thanks to the bold leadership of Blake Van Leer, Tech’s fifth president,
they are today a vital and important part of Georgia Tech.
initiating the strategic planning process last fall, I have often been asked: “Given
the rapidly changing world in which they will live, how can Georgia Tech continue
to prepare its students with the critical skills and knowledge base required to
ensure that they will be successful in their careers?” At its core, this is a
question of the role of academic diversity in the Georgia Tech curricula and
one that we are trying to answer as part of our strategic planning process.
As a world-class institution, Georgia Tech strives to make sure that we are globally competitive. Part of that process is preparing you – our students – for a world economy that is becoming more interconnected as technology continues to break down barriers.
Albert Einstein is considered by many to be one of the most influential scientists of the 20th century. Yet this preeminent physicist whose research had a profound impact on things ranging from relativity to quantum theory, once said, “It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out.”
While I challenge you to study hard, I also encourage you to seek out opportunities that expand your horizons by taking advantage of the many experiences that are right at your fingertips. Embrace the many opportunities available on campus, but also to look around for other new experiences in the city you now call home.