Cabrera Addresses Campus
President Ángel Cabrera delivered the annual Institute Address on Tuesday, Sept. 22, virtually to nearly 5,000 viewers on YouTube and to a physically distanced and masked audience in the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons.
“What a year it has been,” said Cabrera, who recently finished his inaugural year as Georgia Tech’s 12th president. “Over the past six months, we have navigated through one of the most difficult periods in our history. We have each faced unique challenges in our own personal lives. And, together, we have managed to keep Georgia Tech strong and delivering on its important mission.”
Cabrera said that despite the challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic, Georgia Tech is having a bigger impact in the world than ever before.
“We educate more students and graduate them at higher rates. We conduct more research that helps address some of the biggest challenges we face. We drive more innovation in our local economy and are helping attract some of the most iconic companies of our time — the likes of Google and Microsoft — to our neighborhood,” he said.
“I am humbled and grateful that I get to work with a fine group of people every day,” he said. “If there is one message today, that is a big, huge thank you!”
Cabrera talked about the far-reaching effects of Covid-19 around the world, in the U.S., and at Georgia Tech.
“The impact has been felt in our very own community. I know it has created a lot of stress among many of us, and it has created a lot of stress in all of us together as an institution. This was a time of very difficult questions, very difficult issues, with very difficult answers,” Cabrera said. “The path we’ve taken at Georgia Tech is to try our best to return to campus and resume our activities safely. It hasn’t been easy. But it has allowed us to keep our important work moving forward while minimizing the economic damage, not just to the Institute but to many people whose livelihoods depend on us.”
Cabrera thanked the many members of the Tech community who helped keep Georgia Tech open and moving forward, from students and their families, to Stamps Health Services, Facilities, Environmental Health and Safety, and so many others.
“Among all the things we have done to navigate this storm, I am particularly appreciative of the impressive surveillance testing we have built — not only because it has helped us identify and contain outbreaks and curb infections, but because it shows what Georgia Tech is all about: bringing people together, collaborating, innovating, advancing and leveraging technology, solving problems, and serving others.”
He recognized the individuals who joined Tech’s leadership team in recent months: Kelly Fox, executive vice president for Administration and Finance; Kaye Husbands Fealing, dean and Ivan Allen Jr. Chair, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts; Leslie Sharp, dean of the Library; Jodi Geary, chief audit executive; Daren Hubbard, chief information officer; and Steve McLaughlin, incoming provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs.
Cabrera noted that even while battling a pandemic, the Institute continued to plan for the future with a new 10-year strategic plan. The new plan, currently under development, is grounded in a new mission statement and values, declaring Tech’s commitment to “developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition.”
“The mission and the values are not just words on paper,” Cabrera said. “They describe who we are when we are at our best and who we aspire to be every day. They are also, as we have learned, our lodestar in times of crisis. Not only as we deal with Covid-19.”
He outlined how Tech’s vision is grounded in six areas of strategic priority:
- Amplify impact
- Champion innovation
- Connect globally
- Expand access
- Cultivate well-Being
- Lead by example
“Together, we have crafted a vision of inclusive and meaningful innovation, of service to the public good, of developing exceptional leaders, and producing ideas that can help us break new ground in addressing the biggest local, national, and global challenges of our time,” he said.
Cabrera thanked Provost Rafael L. Bras, who is retiring, for his exemplary service to the Institute.
“Under Rafael’s leadership, Tech increased enrollment by 74% and now has as many graduate students as undergraduates; created new degree programs; expanded cocurricular and extracurricular programs; launched Georgia Tech Arts; transformed the campus; increased international collaborations and started a new campus in Shenzhen; and devised new, accessible pathways to graduate education and alternate educational options for learners around the world,” Cabrera said.
He concluded as he began, with words of gratitude.
“Let me thank each one of you for your commitment to Georgia Tech and our students during this difficult year,” he said.
“The challenges we have faced have been significant, and we can be proud of how we have responded. I am convinced that this experience will ultimately make us stronger. More committed to our mission of Progress and Service and to the idea that technology, the science that supports it, the scholarship that guides it, and the leadership that deploys it can help us improve the human condition — and be more open to envisioning new ways to deliver on that mission.”
The Institute Address was followed by a question and answer session. The event was recorded and is available at president.gatech.edu.