A Message from Dr. Cabrera

A Message from Dr. Cabrera


To:  The Georgia Tech Community
From: Dr. Ángel Cabrera

June 17, 2019
I just returned to Fairfax, Virginia from a brief and emotional visit to campus with my wife Beth on Friday and I wanted to let you know that I am thrilled to have been selected as your next president.

As you may have read, Beth and I met at Georgia Tech while pursuing our doctorates. Last month, our son Alex earned his BS in Computer Science at Georgia Tech as well. For about a decade, I have served on the Georgia Tech Advisory Board and visited often. So, as we walked in front of Tech Tower last week, it felt like coming home — back to where it all began. (We have a daughter too, Emilia, who’s a rising junior at Harvard and is feeling left out these days as the only member of the family without a Georgia Tech degree — an issue that, we have suggested, she can try to correct in the future if she so chooses.)

I first landed in Atlanta 28 years ago from Spain, with two suitcases and big dreams, a solid engineering education from Universidad Politécnica of Madrid and a generous Fulbright Scholarship that made it possible. Four years later, I emerged a changed person: transformed intellectually and confident to start an academic career and make a difference. Never in my wildest dreams, though, did it occur to me then that one day I would be asked to return as president. But what I know is that everything I have been able to achieve can be traced back to my experiences at Georgia Tech.

I am very excited to be back not just for personal reasons, but also for what Georgia Tech means for the world. There will soon be 8 billion of us on this planet, and we have to figure out how we’re going to make it work for all of us. How we are going to feed everyone; provide health and education; create economic opportunity; build just, free, and peaceful societies; and protect the natural environment our life depends on. We have our work cut out for us; we need new and better technologies to tackle these challenges, new and better policies and business models, and a deeper understanding of the human impact, the benefits and risks, of the technologies we develop. I see Georgia Tech not only as a strategic asset for Atlanta and Georgia and an invaluable national resource, but also as one of the essential hubs of innovation in the world that holds the key to help us deal with our most pressing global challenges.

As I begin my transition, I feel a deep sense of gratitude to my current school, George Mason University, which is Virginia’s largest, fastest growing, most diverse university, and the nation’s youngest Research 1 institution. I leave wonderful colleagues behind who are driving a unique story in American higher education. As Georgia Tech prepared me for my presidency at George Mason University, I feel George Mason has now returned the favor by having prepared me for Georgia Tech.

A special word of heartfelt thanks to my two predecessors, presidents Wayne Clough and Bud Peterson. Together they have led Georgia Tech through a remarkable 24 years. It is an honor to follow in their footsteps.

I’m reminded of then-sophomore Nick Selby’s legendary “We Can Do That” student convocation speech when he quoted Newton’s “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” We do stand on the shoulders of giants: the thousands of faculty, students, and staff and the leaders, alumni, and supporters who have made Georgia Tech what it is today. If we can now see and reach further, it is because of them. And we have an obligation to do just that.

I am very much looking forward to meeting and working with all of you.