Articles, Blog

Investiture Ceremony Live Webcast

November 2, 2019

testing. Georgia Tech Alma Mater.>>SPEAKER: Good morning. Good
morning. Welcome to the Investiture of
the Georgia Institute of Technology’s 12th President,
Angel Cabrera. Please rise and remain standing for the
presentation of colors and the singing of the National Anthem. (Applause. )>>SPEAKER: Please be seated. Welcome again to this
investiture. An investiture is a historical moment, and a
moment both to reflect on the history and to commit to the
future. Presidents may come, presidents
may go, but the Institute must endure. My own history with Georgia Tech
is short in the grand schemes of things. I am Charles Isbell, I’m the
Dean of the College of Computing and a
proud 1990 alum of Georgia Tech, and although my own history is
short, it sometimes feels long. I grew up on the south side of
Atlanta, just about 8-miles south of here. I had known most
of my life that I wanted to come to Georgia Tech, and when I finally got to campus, it
wasn’t quite 8-miles, it felt more like 800. Georgia Tech was so different
from the Atlanta where I grew up. A lot of things have
changed since my first day on campus 33 years ago. I know
I’ve changed. Georgia Tech taught me to think like a
computationalist. It taught me about research. I even learned
a little bit of Spanish, some cognitive science, and some history, but the most
important thing that I learned from Georgia Tech was how to think about risk. I
got to see a College of Computing built from scratch. I
got to see an entire university transform itself into a
world-renowned powerhouse. That transformation came with plenty
of thought and caution, but more importantly, it came with
boldness and without fear. Today, most importantly, Georgia
Tech doesn’t seem separate from the city of Atlanta the way it
was when I first arrived. We have physically spread into
Midtown. In my day, no one ever, ever crossed the connector, but that physical
expansion is only a small part of a larger evolution of Georgia
Tech. It is now increasingly apart of
the city, increasingly apart of the state, and increasingly apart of the
nation. At the end of the day, we are an elite university,
should make no mistake about that, but we are a public
university, with a public mission. Our mission is not
only to pursue the cutting-edge in research, in teaching, and in
service, but to make sure that our discoveries make a positive
difference for everyone. Our work doesn’t just affect those
who are lucky enough to come here, like a poor kid who grew
up 8-miles south of here. What we do here affects everyone in Atlanta, in Georgia, the state,
and the world. We have so much that we can accomplish
together. We have so much we have to accomplish together,
because the problems we face can only be overcome together. As we welcome our new president,
we must realize, as he does, that what comes next belongs to
all of us, because while presidents come and
presidents go, it turns out that while they’re here, they change
everything. They set the direction of the university,
they set the character of the university, and I can’t wait to
see how Angel will help us to make
new history. Now I would like to turn the program over to some
of the campus stars who are helping us to create that future
history. Coming up next will be Pooja
Juvekar, who’s President of the Georgia Tech Undergraduate
Student Government Association, Marian alivey, who
is the Dean of the Scheller College of Business, David
Brown, chair of the Georgia Tech Staff Council, and Tom Fanning,
a two-time Georgia Tech graduate and 2013 honorary Ph. D recipient.
(Applause. )>>SPEAKER: President Cabrera,
guests, and the Georgia Tech family, let’s all take a journey
back to 1888. We are looking up at Tech Tower. It stands as the
tallest building in Atlanta. Who could imagine what would
become of the Georgia School of Technology? There were evening
classes, only about one major offered, and not quite 500
student organizations. The time is now 2019. We are standing
outside by Tech Tower, and we can see the surrounding tall
skyline of Atlanta that has been built around us. Over the decades, as the skyline
soared, so, too, did our Georgia Tech. Our populations soar, our
rankings soar, our line at the Clough
Starbucks soar, our new construction loudly soar, and most importantly, our
students soar. We soar when we watch our classmates participate
in the Mini500. We soar when we see an engaging TA host exam
review sessions with pizza to make sure we all understand the
exam material. We soar when we hear the
Marching Band play the Ramblin Wreck song. We
soar when students unicycle around campus. We soar when we
watch students gather to begin a campus-wide mentorship program,
only so that it is in place for when after they graduate. But
most importantly, we soar when we are challenged to be better
learners, not only in the classroom, but rather in life.
Here at Georgia Tech, you just feel that you are part of
something bigger and bolder than yourself, that
you are not the smartest in the room, because that is not a room a Yellow
Jacket wants to be in. That bold notion of curiosity, it is
not just that we pursue our passions here, but it’s how we pursue our
passions. This is the spirit that enables our institute to soar, and unlike
the height of tall towers in Atlanta or the proud rankings we
can show on one hand, the spirit of a Georgia Tech student is
immeasurable. We are in awe of and inspired by the buzz around
us. It feels odd to give advice to the Institute President about
how to steer the boat that is Georgia Tech, so instead, let’s just say Yellow
Jacket to Yellow Jacket, President Cabrera, I can imagine
there will be things students will get upset about, and we may
not always agree. I hope that, just as today, as I
was handed a microphone, a microphone is continued to be
handed to even more students during this new era, and the
excitement to come, remember the every-day students, the ones who
dream of someday changing the skyline themselves, but also the
ones that may be uncertain, unconnected, and
unknowing about what their future holds. That spirit of
being apart of something bigger and bolder is such a spirit
worth holding on to and something that makes me feel so,
so elated for this time in our institute’s history. So,
President Cabrera, drop some pennies on Sideways’ grave and
bring us what you’ve got. We are all just as excited as you
are. Welcome home, and Go Jackets.
(Applause. )>>SPEAKER: Good morning. I am honored to be here this
morning with you today to welcome our new president, Angel Cabrera. I was asked to offer words of
wisdom, but, you know, it kind of feels strange to offer advice to someone who
wrote a book on how to think, how to
act, and how to lead in a transformed
world. I’m going to try anyway, and understandably, my comments are
going to be brief. If you do a search on the terms
leader or leaderships on Google, you
will have have 146 million hits. So, I decided to start by
introducing the definition of leadership that resonates the most with me.
This is a definition given by John Quincy Adams. In his words, “if your actions
inspire others to dream more, to learn
more, do more and become more, then you
are a leader. ” now, in practical terms, what
this means for a dean or a president
is that you need to start with very clear values and an inspirational
vision and a strategy that engages people.
If you do that, then you’ll find that they want to do more and become
more. President Cabrera, I know that
you’re already well on your way to
creating an inspirational vision, mission, and strategy
for Georgia Tech. You’re all in, and we are all in
with you. What I would like to do is to
add to this definition of John Quincy
Adams and argue that, in the 21st century,
leaders also need to be ambidextrous to
be effective. We live in a world that is
volatile, complex, and uncertain, with
untold challenges and opportunities. Also, at Georgia Tech, we have
an amazing collectivity of talent,
ideas, inventions, and innovations. We have the capacity to address
and take on challenges and
opportunities as they emerge, and we know that
they will. This requires ambidextrous leadership. Just to make sure, by
ambidexterity, I don’t mean having the ability of using both
your right hand and your left hand to doodle during boring
meetings. What I mean is to have, on the one hand, the discipline,
efficiency, and focus to execute strategy while remaining agile, innovative, and flexible . Now, what we need to do is
that we remain flexible and, um, the whole idea of, um, flexibility is extremely
important. Now, I know that under your
flexible and ambidextrous leadership, Georgia Tech will continue its assent to
be a world-class public university,
and that we will continue to serve Georgia, the nation, and
the world through our distinct approach to education, research,
and service. On behalf of the faculty, I want
to let you know that we are truly excited to have you here. We are here for you and with
you, and we are very excited and
optimistic with what the future holds. President Cabrera, welcome to
Georgia Tech. (Applause. )>>SPEAKER: Good morning,
everyone. President Angel Cabrera, Dr.
Beth Cabrera, and esteemed members of the faculty, staff,
and students, on behalf of the staff of this great institution,
I am both honored and humbled to stand before you
today to officially welcome President and
Dr. Cabrera to the Georgia Tech
family. President Cabrera, you are charged with leading one of the nation’s preeminent technical
institutions into a future that demands so much of the next
generation of students. Addressing issues such as
climate change, conflicts over resources, and the rise of global populism
hinges not only on the content of the curriculum here, but on
the example you set for us to be responsible, constructive, and engaged global citizens. We are asking a lot of you, but
I am proud to say that we all believe you are the right people
for the job. We look forward to learning from your wisdom, your leadership, and
your service. We, the staff, hope for
meaningful engagement with you in support of the mission of
Georgia Tech, and we hope that you will lean on us to support
you as you forge your path to being one of the greatest presidents this
institution has ever seen. I want to share something with
you, something you said when you addressed the campus. You said, and I quote, “you all
know what a unique place Georgia Tech is. Our work here is
serious, and we take it seriously, but it’s not just
a job, it’s an experience. It’s a community. You spend a lot of
your time here. Enjoy yourself. Have fun. ” President Cabrera, we say the
same to you. Keep it funny. Enjoy yourself. Have fun. On
behalf of the staff, I hope your presidency is blessed. I wish
you and Dr. Cabrera many years of happiness
and joy at the Georgia Institute of
Technology. Above all, I want you to know that you are
welcome. Thank you. (Applause. )>>SPEAKER: Well, good morning,
everyone. What a beautiful day. Members of the Board of Regents
of the University System of Georgia, President Cabrera, faculty, staff, and
students and guests, thank you for
inviting me to speak at today’s occasion. I am so proud of my association
with Georgia Tech. I’ve been instructed to keep my remarks to
around 3 minutes. I take that as a suggestion.
(Laughing. )
>>SPEAKER: And, in fact, for me, that may be a bigger challenge than
freshman calculus, but, in fact, President Cabrera, on behalf of
the alumni of this great institution, it’s my honor to
officially welcome you to the Georgia Institute of Technology.
You know, when I received the invitation to speak at today’s
event, I was asked by the organizers to
say something that would add to this historic moment, and that’s
always a tough challenge, but I think if I wanted to come up
with something, it would be this, that when we frame our
day-to-day actions, I like to do that in two ways, and I
typically categorize that as the what’s and the how’s. You know,
at Southern Company, our what’s are essentially making, moving,
and selling energy, the most reliable, the lowest prices,
with the best customer service in the United States. At Georgia Tech, I think the
what is being the top definitive
technological research university. The teaching and
learning occurring here are forming global leaders
who will influence the major
technological, social, and policy breakthroughs that are related to the critical
challenges of our times, but the what’s alone are not sufficient.
As important, and potentially more powerful than what we do in life
is how we do it. All the innovation, research,
and entrepreneurship emanating from Georgia Tech will be for naught if we
are not leaders in improving the human condition, making a
difference on a personal level, touching people’s hearts in a
positive way. These are the things that propel any enterprise forward and create
sustaining value. Culture, not rules and
procedures, drives behavior. A common culture is the key to
success. It sets an institutional
guidepost, a common set of principles, a common set of
expected behaviors that define how we should interact with each other.
At Georgia Tech, our culture is predicated on the belief that
technological change is fundamental to the advancement of society, that
change is inevitable, and, so, how will
we engage? Well, you can’t keep the waves
off the beach. Try as you might, those waves will come crashing to the shore, and,
sure, some people will choose to ignore them or spend all of
their resources trying to fight them off and make them
stop, but as Yellow Jackets, we
promise not only will we prepare for and respond to the
inevitable change that we will face in the future, but more
than that, we pledge to ourselves and to each
other and to the world that we will be
leaders who will influence the future and ensure that those advances will improve
the quality of life for all. It is imperative that our
communities must be better off because we’re
here, and that is why we’re so excited to have you here. As
we’ve already mentioned, who better to understand and carry
on this mission than the guy that wrote the book how to
think, act, and lead in a transformed world? Through your leadership, the
Georgia Tech community, the students, staff, faculty, and alumni will
continue to personify our motto of progress and service. So, on
behalf of all the Georgia Tech alumni around the world, welcome
back to Atlanta. Welcome back to Georgia Tech. And just
remember, you’re a Ramblin Wreck from Georgia Tech and a
hell of an engineer. (Applause. )>>SPEAKER: Thank you, Tom, and
each and every one of you. We appreciate you being here and
for your kind words. All of our speakers, I think, have done an
outstanding job of explaining what makes Georgia Tech a truly
special institution, about what sets us apart from other
universities, and about what brings us together and connects
us to one another and to this place. President Cabrera, you
have been here for almost two months now, but we’d like for
you and the entire audience to take a look at a brief video
presentation. It will give you a glimpse into what life at Tech
looks like in the 21st century and what you have to look
forward to as you begin this journey with us. (Video.)>>SPEAKER: So, as you can
tell, the campus is a little bit excited, maybe even more than a
little bit excited, to welcome our new president, but we’re not
the only ones. We are pleased to be joined today by the
honorable Geoff Duncan, Lieutenant Governor of the state of
Georgia. (Applause. )>>SPEAKER: Margaret Venable,
an alumna and President of Dalton State
College. (Applause.)
>>SPEAKER: And Gregory Unruh, an author and professor at
George Mason University. (Applause.)
>>SPEAKER: Please join me again in welcoming our guests.>>SPEAKER: Thank you so much.
It is such an honor to be here today. It is such an honor to
be surrounded by so many people that I have looked up to for, um, a large portion of
my life, those that I consider to be subject matter experts,
but also those that I consider to be mentors to me as I move
through my life. Um, so, I add this to the long list of things
that I never would have expected to happen to me when I was on
campus here at Georgia Tech. Oftentimes, when I come back to
my campus, I make my team drive me around, just to remind
myself that some of the buildings that were here are
still here. That helps me feel young. We took a trip by Woodruff and
the 8th Street Apartments. One of those big events that
happened along the way was actually the first time I got to
meet Dr. Cabrera. I got to deliver, as just one of
an incredible opportunity for
myself, was the commencement address this last spring, and I
got to meet Dr. Cabrera, and he probably had no idea who I was,
in fact, I’m certain he didn’t, and I didn’t really understand
his background and whatnot, but for some reason, throughout my
life, I have been attracted to people that have two things, great perspective, um,
and just a booming personality, and I
think everybody here who has met Dr. Cabrera understands that
those are two skills that he brings, and to me, they are even
more important than all the long list of achievements that his
life and his story will deliver to us on paper, but it is that ability to
have a perspective, that everybody that silts and meets
with him, that talks to him, feels like you’re on the same
journey he is, and his ability to communicate through a
personality is what’s going to allow him to be a success with
the students, with the faculty, with the alumni, and with this
community all across the great state of Georgia. I was told
that this was a welcoming address, and everybody here
understands that this is a welcome back address for Dr.
Cabrera. He is woven into the very fabric of who we are, his
family is woven in to the very fabric of who we are
here at Georgia Tech. This institution, and now I get to
look at this from a different perspective as the Lieutenant
Governor, um, or an alternative
perspective, is this is what embodies, to me, the perfect
intersection of a couple of different areas of the world
that come together. This proves to be a partnership between academia, between the
private sector, between the community, it seems to be the
perfect intersection, and it is an opportunity for us here at
Georgia Tech to put our stamp and our
message all across the entire globe, and, so, as we look
forward to this opportunity that Dr. Cabrera’s going to continue
to have, to lead us in that charge, not just
here, but around the world, I see it as a tremendous
opportunity. My biggest initiative, probably,
I’ll say as Lieutenant Governor, but I’ll say in my life, is that
I’ve really wanted to take the claim here and to push forward with Georgia being the technology capitol of the east
coast of this university. I truly want us to achieve and
earn the title of that. If that happens, if we truly achieve
that, it will happen because Georgia Tech continues to thrive,
continues to lead, continues to invite the best and brightest
from around the world to be apart of this journey, to build
the confidence of investors and
innovators in every square inch of this world to call Georgia
Tech home and to trust us. So, I look forward to partnering
with this institution, with Dr. Cabrera and his leadership as we
move forward. Georgia Tech has become the center of gravity for
technology in the world, and I can think of no better person to
lead the charge than Dr. Cabrera. Thank you so much.
(Applause. )>>SPEAKER: Now it’s my honor
to bring greetings on behalf of the University System of Georgia presidents
today. Very few of us here today know what the job of a
college President really involves, and even fewer know
what leading the Georgia Institute of Technology entails.
I’m here, President Cabrera, to ensure that you know that you
have the full support and the confidence of your colleagues
across the University System. I’m also here as an alumna of
this institution and, to a lesser
extent, as the proud mother of a current Georgia Tech student who
will graduate this May, heavens permitting.
(Laughing. )
(Applause.)>>SPEAKER: Within the
University System of Georgia, each institution carries an
important and unique mission. That is certainly true of
Georgia Tech. This institution enjoys an excellent reputation
for producing graduates who are not merely intelligent, but who
are filled with perseverance, or grit as we like to call it these
days, students who are prepared to be the entrepreneurs and leaders of this state for years
to come. I stand here today as an example of how even a chemistry major, or a
psychology major, President Cabrera, from the right
institution can become a college or university president.
Keeping in mind that Dalton State’s football team is still
undefeated — (Laughing.)
>>SPEAKER: For those students who are unable to attend Dalton
State, Georgia Tech makes a fine backup school.
(Laughing.)>>SPEAKER: But, seriously,
University System of Georgia colleges such
as Dalton State enjoy partnering with Georgia Tech through the
Regents’ Engineering Pathway Program, for example. How lucky
is it that students can begin their education in northwest
Georgia at Dalton State and then continue seamlessly to complete
an engineering degree or a graduate degree at an institution as highly
respected as Georgia Tech? What an amazing opportunity for
our students. The leadership of the Institute therefore is no light matter, to
me or many others. The Chancellor and the Board of
Regents have reviewed the applicants carefully, and they
have chosen Angel Cabrera as the 12th President
of Georgia Tech, because they see in him the capacity to build
upon a long history of excellence. President Cabrera,
we appreciate your leadership, and we wish you the very best, because your success
benefits us all. Welcome home. (Applause. )>>SPEAKER: Good morning. It’s
a pleasure to be here to celebrate the Investiture of
President Cabrera, and I’m going to share a little bit of my
perspective. Um, we’ve all heard the saying
or thought it might be great to be a fly on the wall for some
big event, and I’m sort of the fly on the wall who’s watched
this evolution of President Cabrera’s career, and just
between you and me, when I first met Angel,
I didn’t immediately imagine him becoming the president of his Alma Mater, one
of the leading technical universities in the country. I met Angel at my first job at
IE Business School in Madrid. We were both freshly minted Ph. Ds and were trying to establish
ourselves academically, and when I got there, I made it a point
to go around and meet all of the chairs of the departments, and
Angel was the chair of the Human Resources department,
and I don’t know what your typical idea you have in your
mind when you think of a college professor is, but I bet the man
that I saw in that office that day would fit the bill
perfectly. He had a sweater vest on, rimmed
glasses, the tweed jacket with the patches on the shoulders,
and it just couldn’t have dawned on me at
that moment that I was staring at a future university
president, but it wasn’t long after that initial meeting that
they began an internal search to replace our outgoing dean, and I
remember having conversations with Angel about it. I would
say, everyone seems to know who this new dean’s going to be
except me, you know, and again, there was this, something just
didn’t click, he seemed like a young 30-year-old-something kid
to me, and I couldn’t imagine him being tapped to run, um, one
of Europe’s leading business schools, and when someone
finally told me it was going to be Angel, I rushed home to my
wife and said, you’re never going to believe who the next Dean of IE Business
School is going to be, and with that decision, Angel became the
youngest Business School Dean in Europe, and that was the
beginning of the career that brought us here today, but I’m
going to share a secret with you that most of you don’t know, and that by accepting that Business School deanship, Angel
forwent what was destined to be a brilliant academic career.
In the brief period before becoming administrator, he
published a handful of articles, some of them with his very
talented alumna wife, Elizabeth, the citation, of course, is
Cabrera and Cabrera, right? You’re getting Cabrera squared
here. Um, and those articles have gone on to become classics
in the knowledge management literature, each of them with
thousands of citations. And another secret that you probably
don’t know is that Angel is a phenomenal teacher. He, um, before he became the
Dean, he repeatedly won the teaching excellence award at the
University, and he would have continued to win it, except he
pulled himself out of the running after he became the
Dean. So, if you’re like me, now you’re wondering, why would
someone give up the possibility of being an academic rock star
to take on the headaches that come along with running a
university? And there are many theories about that.
(Laughing.)>>SPEAKER: But for me, the
reason is quite simple. For Angel, higher education isn’t a
job, it really is a calling. In conversations, sometimes after a
glass of wine, he can wax lyrically about how important
higher education is, um, in society, and it’s not
just talk, he has become a recognized
leader in aligning higher education with society’s
highest values, and that began with his first deanship, when
Angel’s potential at that point was recognized by the World
Economic Forum, who tapped him as a young global leader, and he
worked within that network to advance many issues of ethics
and civil responsibilities in business schools. One of the
most stand-out accomplishments was the creation of the United Nations principles
education, who is committed to teaching MBAs how to incorporate
social and environmental responsibility into their work,
and as he moved from business schools to the presidency of Virginia’s largest
public university, um, the same thinking came along with him,
and it continues to this day. Just earlier this month, we
watched the latest initiative led by
Angel take wing. We were in New York, and I was, um, honored to
join President Cabrera and dozens of other university
leaders from around the world in launching the University Global
Compact, which commits colleges to support education and
research in the pursuit of the world’s sustainable development
goals. So, I’m coming from George Mason University, and, so, this is
obviously standing here with mixed emotions. We have lost a transformational
leader, but our loss is, obviously, your gain, and, so, I
want to congratulate all of you and also congratulate President
Cabrera. (Applause. )>>SPEAKER: The honorable John
Lewis, U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 5th
congressional District was scheduled to join us this
morning. He sends his regrets, there are things happening in
DC, and asked that we share the following. So, it is my honor
to share with you his remarks. Good morning, Lieutenant
Governor Duncan, Chancellor Wrigley,
members of the Board of Regents, faculty, staff, students,
friends, and everyone in the Georgia Tech community. I am
very sorry that I’m unable to join you today for the
investiture of Dr. Angel Cabrera as the 12th President of the
Georgia Institute of Technology. As you know, Georgia Tech
selected a president with long, deep ties to the university, a
graduate, who is also the husband and the father of Yellow
Jackets. On behalf of the people of Georgia’s 5th
Congressional District, I would like to welcome you, Dr.
Cabrera, and your family back home. Founded in 1885, Georgia
Tech’s mission originatey focused on helping our great
state adjust, compete, and succeed gnat rapidly
industrializing economy. Today, the brightest men and women of
every race, creed, and background are drawn to Georgia
Tech, from every corner of the world. For the past 134 years, Georgia
Tech has striven to develop the minds of young people who are
now great inventors and innovators. These amazing
visionaries now help to make Atlanta the bustling,
international city in which we are so proud to study, work, and
live. In Metro Atlanta, this
world-renowned university has a reputation for being an
outstanding research hub, a good neighbor, and a thoughtful
partner. For the local community and many
educational institutions in our great city, state, and region.
Incoming students are infused with the special spirit of this
stellar institution and welcome the challenge that Yellow
Jackets are expected and empowered to change the world.
Each student and faculty member is committed to doing the hard work
and the hard math to make life better and fairer for all of us and for
generations yet unborn. Dr. Cabrera, you now have the great
privilege and responsibility of leading one of our nation’s
finest institutions of higher education. It is my hope that
you will continue and strengthen Georgia Tech’s outstanding
legacy and ensure that the institute remains an innovative
force in Metro Atlanta and a renowned
global center for talent, teaching, and technology. Under
your leadership, I have no doubt that Georgia Tech will continue
to encourage the students, inspire the faculty, unlock
potential, and transform the lives of everyone who proudly
calls Georgia home. I hope that you will lead and care for this institute with an eye to
the future and a commitment to justice. Again, I thank and congratulate
you on this momentous occasion. (Applause. )>>SPEAKER: And now for the
moment where it all happens. For the introduction and
investiture of Georgia Tech’s 12th
President, please welcome Steve Wrigley, Chancellor for the
University System of Georgia. (Applause. )>>SPEAKER: Good morning,
everyone. This is a special day for me in many ways, and I’ve
really enjoyed getting to know Dr. Cabrera in these last
several months, so it’s exciting for all of us, a big day for
Georgia Tech, and I look forward to working with him for many,
many years. We appreciate Lieutenant Governor Duncan
spending a few minutes with us. There are several members of the
Board of Regents here, and I
appreciate their being here today. I know there’s a few
legislators I’ve seen, so thank you for being here and your
support of the University System and of Georgia Tech. It’s a big contingent of
presidents, and we appreciate them taking time to be here to
show support for their new colleague. We are here today to
share in the time-honored tradition to invest
a new president of the Georgia Institute of Technology. First,
let me say, being president is a team effort, and the most
important part of every president’s team
is family. I want to recognize Dr. Beth Cabrera, who, like her
husband, is a highly accomplished graduate of Georgia
Tech. Also, their son Alex, a Tech
alumnus who is currently in the Ph.D program at Carnegie Mellon,
and daughter, Emilia, who in this family of high achievers is studying at
Harvard. (Laughing.)
>>SPEAKER: Thank you all for being here and your support of
Georgia Tech and Dr. Cabrera. Thank you very much.
(Applause. )>>SPEAKER: Those of you who
are here today play an essential role as well in the life of
Georgia Tech. As faculty, staff, students, and alumni and friends, thank you
for being here, and thank you for what you
do for Georgia Tech. We human beings created
ceremonies to commemorate important transitions in life,
to set them apart, to remind ourselves to pause and recognize
that something vital to our future is
occurring, thus we have weddings and funerals, christenings and Bar
Mitzvahs, birthdays and commencements, and, yes, we have this investiture,
because it marks a very important day. The dictionary
says an investiture is a, quote, formal ceremony of
conferring the authority and symbols of
high office, and since the Middle Ages, with this ceremony,
presidents accept the responsibility of leading the
pursuit of knowledge in a college or university. It is an awesome responsibility,
yet leading a public university today is also a complex
responsibility. It is a shared responsibility,
for the benefit of students, the
community, this state, under the governing authority of the Board
of Regents. We rely on the governor and
general assembly for essential funding and guidance, and we
must also have the support and donations of alumni
and friends, and we are grateful for that support. This day is
important, because public higher education plays a
critical role in our society. That role is educating students
and advancing knowledge. In doing so, Georgia Tech
contributes to the prosperity and intellectual life of this
state. It is a high calling to prepare students for a life of progress
and service. It is also a high calling to
advance knowledge to transform how we
live. Georgia Tech, among the top universities in the world,
answers that calling every day through the outstanding
teaching, research, and public service of its excellent
faculty. As Chancellor, I believe in this institution and its mission, and
I appreciate the dedication of those in the campus community
who are so deeply committed to the success of its
students. Ultimately, the purpose of the
University System is knowledge, to create it through research,
transfer it through teaching, and apply it through service.
So, it is the primary role of the President to create and to
sustain an environment where the pursuit of knowledge can thrive.
It is not always easy. Being a public university president today is sometimes challenging, frequently frustrating, but it
is always rewarding. The reward comes in igniting intellectual
curiosity, even in a single student, because in doing so,
you can alter the course of a life, and
that makes the job of President,
however challenging, ultimately
rewarding. Dr. Cabrera, as you know, arrived
as President already a Yellow Jacket. He knows the Georgia
Tech community, and he knows what makes this
place buzz. I am excited about Dr. Cabrera’s leadership,
because he will challenge this great university to dream even bigger and to reach ever
higher. That is ultimately what a great leader does, and I am
confident Dr. Cabrera is just such a leader.
It is now my responsibility to formally invest Dr. Angel Cabrera with the duties
and responsibilities of the President of the Georgia
Institute of Technology. President Cabrera, please join
me at the podium. I charge you, Dr. Angel Cabrera, as President of
the Georgia Institute of Technology, to seek academic
excellence and to advance the pursuit of knowledge. I charge
you always to place foremost in your thoughts and actions the
needs of students, faculty, and staff.
Finally, I charge you to protect the interest of Georgia Tech and its community, the Board of Regents,
and the state of Georgia. President Cabrera, do you accept
these charges?>>SPEAKER: I do.>>SPEAKER: By the authority
vested in me by the Board of Regents, I
invest you, Dr. Angel Cabrera, as the 12th President of the
Georgia Institute of Technology. Congratulations.
(Applause. )>>SPEAKER: Fantastic. So, we have another wonderful
moment in front of us. The National Pan-Hellenic Council
has a long-standing significance in the lives of
black students on college campuses. On November 20th, 1976, Omega
Psi Phi became the first NPHC fraternity
chartered at Georgia Tech. Today, it’s comprised of dynamic
students who are consistently striving for greatness, unity,
and awareness of issues that affect their community. They’re also known for the art
of stepping and strolling. The history of stepping has no
official origin, but can be traced back hundreds of years in
African history and culture. It has evolved today in an art form that enjoys significance within
the NPHC community, paying homage to the past, while
embracing the change of the future. Please welcome join me now in welcoming members
from the National Pan-Hellenic Council.
(Applause. )>>SPEAKER: Hi. I had always wanted to do that.
(Laughing.)>>SPEAKER: You know, as if
being back at Georgia Tech as President weren’t surreal enough, I got to ride
the Ramblin Wreck on the stage. That’s crazy. That’s, I think,
what we mean when we say, um, we are Georgia Tech, we can do
that, right? (Laughing.)>>SPEAKER: I am so absolutely
honored to have so many of you join us
today and so grateful to share the moment with people who mean
so much to me. People have traveled from far away, from as far as South Korea,
Costa Rica, Mexico, and Spain. I will never forget this moment.
I am incredibly grateful to all the members of the Georgia Tech
community for being here today, our faculty, students, our
staff, alumni. I really get to work with
absolutely amazing people. Now, I also understand that our
friend Georgia Burdell is here in the
audience as well and that, apparently, he has never missed a Georgia Tech
Investiture. George, you don’t need to stand up, but thank you.
(Laughing.)>>SPEAKER: By the way, for our
guests, if you have never heard of the famous George, just ask
any student later, and they’ll tell you all about his
incredible achievements. Um, I hope you have enjoyed the
proceedings today just as much as I have. I feel like the Master of
Ceremonies, um, Dean Isbell may have found a new calling.
(Applause.)>>SPEAKER: And I want to thank
him and all the speakers for sharing their words of wisdom.
Really, what you did and what you shared today means the world
to me. Thank you so much. A warm welcome to the delegates of
our sister schools throughout Georgia, throughout the nation,
and from around the world. I love this display. I hope you’ve captured it,
because what this represents, we may be very different and serve
different constituencies, but we’re all in
this together. We share one mission. Thank you all so very
much for what you do for higher education.
(Applause.)>>SPEAKER: And, um, as the
Chancellor just did, I want to thank all the government
officials, community leaders, and philanthropists, many of
themhere today, for believing in higher ed and investing in
higher ed. We simply could not do what we do without your
support. And I want to thank all my friends and family, for
always, always being there. I am moved to have so many of
them here, and, um, so many others watching from far away. Most special recognition, um, to
Beth, my wife of 25 years. Beth was the smartest, most fun
and most beautiful person in my class at Georgia Tech. She
still is. She has been an absolutely
wonderful companion in a life journey that
neither of us could have ever anticipated. She’s the best
mother in the world and has had an impressive career despite of
the demands of my own. She has been a true partner in every
step along the way. Thank you, Beth. I love you.
(Applause. )>>SPEAKER: Despite not knowing
Spanish when we met, Beth went on to
earn tenure as a business professor at a
leading Spanish university. That university, Carlos III of
Madrid, is represented here today by the very person who
hired her and mentored her, our dear friend, Professor
Isabel Gutierrez, and by a dear
childhood friend of mine, who’s today the vice president of
research, Carlos III is one of the most advired universities in
Spain and an awesome study abroad destination for all
Georgia Tech students. Please stand up, so we can recognize
you. Where are you? (Applause. )>>SPEAKER: And, um, of course,
since you’ve heard so much about my
children, it is my privilege to prove to you that they do
exist. (Laughing.)
>>SPEAKER: Alex and Emilia, and by the way, thank you, Dean
Isbell, you prepared this young man incredibly well. He’s now an NSF Graduate
Fellow, as you heard, a first-year Ph.D student at
Carnegie Mellon, and he was a big reason why his sister
still is a major in computer science at
Harvard , and they’re skipping class to
be here. (Laughing.)
>>SPEAKER: Um, okay, so, one of the, just, um, we have been a little
bit triggered in the last two months by lots of memories.
Probably, the toughest test I took during my time as a student
at Georgia Tech was the day I traveled to Florence, Alabama, the home of Beth, to
ask Keith and Mary Lynn for their blessings to marry their daughter and move to
Spain with her. (Laughing.)
>>SPEAKER: Instead of running me out of town, which may have
crossed their mind actually, they and their other daughter,
Katherine, opened their arms to me and have treated me as a
member of the family ever since, and for that, I thank you
so very much. (Applause. )
>>SPEAKER: And I do want to thank the people who actually brought me
here, and that is the members of the
search committee. They spent a lot of time looking at amazing people, and they were
chaired by, um, a Georgia Tech alum,
chairman Ben Tarbutton, so thank you for,
Regent Tarbutton, for leading the charge, and then, of course,
Chancellor Steve Wrigley, and the Chairman, Don Waters, and everybody else on
that board for actually casting their vote in my favor. Thank
you so very much. (Applause.)
(Laughing.)>>SPEAKER: Now, I feel a great
sense of responsibility to, um, follow in the footsteps of 11 prior
presidents, who, um, very skillfully steered us through
different times and circumstances. Two of them, Wayne Clough and
Bud Peterson are with us today. Together, they have led us
through an amazing, remarkable 24 years of
growth in size and stature and influence. I personally look up
to them as examples of leadership, I value them as
friends, and I would like to recognize them both and thank
them for their continuing service to this
institution. Thank you so much.
(Applause. )>>SPEAKER: Now, as a Georgia
Tech grad, I’m a math wizard, so I
have done the numbers, and I have calculated that the average
Georgia Tech President has had a tenure of exactly 11 years
and 3 months. (Laughing.)
>>SPEAKER: The shortest serving president, your bottom
left on that photo, was Art Hansen, who left
after only two years to move to his Alma Mater, Purdue. It is my hope that Hansen will
retain that record for years to come.
(Laughing.)>>SPEAKER: And since I’m
already at my Alma Mater, may you keep the record forever,
sir. (Laughing.)
>>SPEAKER: The longest tenure was Marion Brittain, and he served
for 22 years, Brittain as in Brittain’s
Dining Hall, and I am really not interested in breaking that
record either. (Laughing.)
>>SPEAKER: So, my goal today, um, Chairman Waters, Chancellor
Wrigley, I’m shooting for a productive, successful
presidency of average duration. That’s what I’m aiming for.
(Laughing.)>>SPEAKER: Now, more
seriously, Beth and I have had a lot of fun reconnecting and rediscovering Atlanta in
the last two months. We absolutely love what has
happened in this city since we left. Tech Square, the Belt
Line, the creative scene, the film, the
music. We now even have a world-class
soccer team. (Laughing.)
>>SPEAKER: Vamos Atlanta United.
(Applause.)>>SPEAKER: And, by the way, we
love the fact that Georgia Tech has
been behind a lot of what has happened here. It’s just
absolutely remarkable. Now, one of the visits that we
found especially impactful and moving
was the National Center for Civil and Human Rights downtown, and those of
you who are visiting, add that to the list of places to see.
It was a very powerful experience, but it made us
reflect on the impact that this city, that Atlanta has had on
the entire nation and beyond during the Civil Rights
Movement, and it also inspired us to think how much
more Atlanta can do. Now, right after we arrived here,
Congressman John Lewis was very kind to invite me to his office
to offer a warm welcome to Atlanta, and we immediately
talked about the Civil Rights Movement, and he shared with me
some photos, and I was moved by the cover of Life Magazine of that momentous day in 1965,
when, at the age of only 25, can you
believe it, he led hundreds of people across that bridge in Selma to fight
injustice, to stand up for the rights of
everybody, and he, and not only the leaders that we remember,
like Dr. Martin Luther King, but thousands of others whose
names we don’t remember put their lives on the line to
demand justice for the oppressed. Their courage helped
transform an entire nation for the better and sent a message of
hope around the world that still resonates today. The epicenter of that movement
of hope and social change was right here
in Atlanta. It grew out of churches, around
Auburn Avenue, in classrooms in the
Atlanta University Center, and the hearts of people who were committed to a
better future. I feel strongly that it’s now our turn to take
up the mantle. There are still many bridges that need to be
crossed to make our society more just and prosperous, to bring
about freedom, opportunity and peace to people around the
world, to help us all live healthier, safer, more
enlightened lives, and much of that work can
once again start right here in Atlanta, this time in the
classrooms, the labs, the innovation spaces of the Georgia
Institute of Technology. (Applause.)>>SPEAKER: We have what it
takes. We live in one of the largest, most vibrant, most
diverse, best globally connected cities in the nation. We have a
state-of-the-art campus in the heart of a neighborhood that we
have helped transform in a hub of innovation and
entrepreneurship. We enjoy a world-class faculty
across a whole array of academic disciplines and an absolutely
amazing staff. We offer outstanding programs in
business, liberal arts, sciences, computing, design, in
addition to engineering, that are considered among the world’s
finest. We attract thousands of the most talented students from
Georgia, from across the country and around the world, and many
more thousands that we serve online, and with over a billion
dollars in research awards across all
the colleges and GTRI, we are among
the nation’s most research-intensive universities.
Few institutions in the world enjoy the abundance of talent
and technological resources that we have right here at Georgia Tech, and
with those resources come, of course,
the responsibility and opportunity to try and make a
difference in the world. That is what our motto, progress
and service, is all about. Every
day since I’ve arrived, I’ve been inspired by the projects
that I’m learning about and I’m discovering. Take, um,
Professor Shannon Yee, who I met, he’s a mechanical engineer
professor, he’s an expert in, um, thermal conductivity of
polymers. Lit He ended up partnering with Bill
Gates to design a new toilet that processes its own waste and
that can help save the lives of millions of children who are
growing up in cities and slums around the world without proper sewer. Or take recently, at one of the
football games, I ran into General Stephen Melton, and he
approached me to let me know how technology that was developed at GTRI had saved his
life and the lives of many other American soldiers flying missions on the
C-130 since the mid-nineties, and I met Executive Director of the Peanut
Commission of Georgia, who explained that Georgia Tech
research is helping increase the yield of one of the crops that, of course, is at the heart
of the Georgia economy. Or take my new favorite spot on campus, the Kendeda Building,
we’re supposed to love our buildings equally, I don’t,
that’s my — (Laughing.)
>>SPEAKER: That’s my favorite. This is, um, an amazing,
striking example of beautiful sustainable
design, integration with nature, human inclusion and well-being,
and this building will inspire architect civil
engineers, business and policy leaders for generations to come.
These projects and hundreds of projects that happen in this
institution every day show that technology can drive change for the better, but it
has to be grounded on a deep understanding
of technology’s human, social and
economic context, it has to be connected with ideas from
different disciplines, and it has to incorporate perspectives
from different stakeholders, and that should inform how we
think about our curriculum and how we think about the research
that we conduct here. Now, one thing I learned when we were
students in psychology at Georgia Tech is the fact that learning
happens when we confront evidence or when we
engage in conversation, with ideas that
are different from our own. Our minds, however, are
hard-wired to prove ourselves right, to confirm the ideas that
we already have. That’s why we like to hang out with people who
are like us, that’s why we like to always watch the same news
channel and read the same newspaper, and if you wonder why
our society is becoming that polarized, that’s exactly why.
However, learning and innovation happens when we do just the
opposite. When we consider that our beliefs may be wrong or
incomplete, when we engage in conversation with different
people who may hold different ideas, and when we confront
evidence that challenges our beliefs. Just like biological
evolution requires genetic diversity, so does learning, innovation,
creativity, they depend on diversity of ideas. So, increasing diversity at
Georgia Tech is not just a moral imperative, it is a necessary
condition for us to be the best learning and research place that
we can be. (Applause.)>>SPEAKER: We have made a lot
of progress as an institution, but there is a lot more that
needs to be done. It wasn’t until 1952 that
Georgia Tech accepted the first white women as
full-time students. 1952, and it wasn’t until 1961
when the first African American students were allowed to enroll in this
institution. During my first week on the job, I had the
privilege of meeting the first black students in Tech’s history, Ford
Greene, Ralph Long, Jr. , and Lawrence Williams, as well as as Tech’s first first African
American graduate, Ronald Yancey. I am lighted that two
of them are with us today. Thank you for being here.
(Applause. )>>SPEAKER: While these
gentlemen were on campus, they had a panel and shared some of
the stories about what it was like to be the lone black
student on Georgia Tech campus in 1961. Some of that was hard
to process. It was hard, and yet it was
deeply inspiring. It showed us that while progress
may in no way be inevitable, it is
possible, when there are people with the courage to make things
change. So, today, we’re the number one producer of women
engineers in the country, we’re the number one producer of
minority engineers and the largest producer of African
American engineering Ph.Ds in the country. These are wonderful statistics,
we’re very proud of them, however,
there’s still only 6 percent of our total enrollment at Georgia
Tech is African American, women still are
underrepresented in engineering disciplines and computing, and
the percentage of low-income students who are able to attend
Georgia Tech still trails the statistics at some of the
leading universities in the country. We can do better, and we must do
better. (Applause. )>>SPEAKER: Now, as we increase
the numbers, we have to work equally
hard to make sure that this is an inclusive campus, where
everybody can feel a sense of belonging, where everybody can
thrive, no matter where they come from. If you have talent, if you want
to work hard, if you share our commitment to progress and
service, we want you here, no matter where you come from. The world today is healthier and
safer, better fed, less poor, more educated and freer than it has
ever been, in no small part because of new technologies and
because the institutions that new technology has enabled.
Much of that progress has emanated from places like Georgia Tech. There will soon be about 8
billion of us on this planet, and we must figure out how to
improve everybody’s quality of life, how to provide clean,
sustainable food, water, and energy, healthcare and education
for all, build more just and peaceful societies, and protect
the natural environment on which our lives depend. What makes me
very excited about being back at Georgia Tech is to be part of a
community that can make a real difference in the most important
problems of our time. Now, I have spent, as you would
imagine, um, a good part of the last few weeks getting to know
some of our most generous donors, to tell them
how thankful I am for what they’ve done and how excited I am to work with
them in the future, and when I have had those meetings, I’ve
asked them all the question, why do you give money to Georgia
Tech? Now, their stories are different, but their message is
always the same. They believe that this is how they can have the biggest impact in the
lives of others. We all get that, because we all
know we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the opportunities each of us had
to go to school. I am fully aware that the likelihood of that a kid like me, raised in
the 70s by parents without a college degree, in a working-class neighborhood
outside of Madrid, that the odds that a kid like that would one
day be named President of a leading American research
university is virtually nil. It can only be explained by
three words: Public higher education. Thanks to the education I
received at Universidad Politécnica of
Madrid, I learned about research, about technology, and
about a program called the Fulbright Scholarship, which
would allow someone like me to come to
the U.S. and be at one of those great research universities, and
it was thanks to the faculty I had here that I was
inspired to pursue a career in higher
education. When I first arrived to Georgia Tech 28 years ago, I
was immediately struck by the incredible resources at a
place like Georgia Tech, and it wasn’t even anything near what
we have today, and I was also shocked and inspired that a
place like this would open its doors to someone like me. I,
first, my conclusion was, well, this is a reflection of
America’s wealth. America has these types of universities,
because it can afford them, because it’s wealthy enough to
be able to build these universities. I soon realized, I had it all
backwards. America is prosperous, America is
innovative, and one of the most competitive nations in the
world. American society is dynamic and open, because it
built great universities that opened their doors to talent of
all backgrounds, and that is, in a nutshell, what brings us all
together, a belief in the transformative power of a great
research university. We stand at the forefront of
those efforts. Georgia Tech is not only a strategic asset for Atlanta and Georgia
and an invaluable national resource, but it is one of the world’s essential
hubs of innovation, with the potential to create solutions
for the many pressing challenges of our time. Let’s design and build a better
future. Let’s work on our mission of
progress and service together. Thank you.
(Applause. )

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