This weekend in New York I will be working with a group of university leaders from around the world and faculty champions from Georgia Tech and other leading universities to identify ways in which universities can best help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs are 17 goals adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 representing some of the most consequential and complex problems we face as a species. The Goals range from poverty and hunger, to health, gender equality, climate change and ocean biodiversity and include specific targets that we need to achieve by 2030. They are not nice-to-haves, but essential to the long-term sustainability of life and human development on our planet.
As a university driven to improve the human condition through technology and committed to the motto “progress and service,” Georgia Tech is uniquely positioned to lead and make a significant contribution on many of these goals. Since I returned to Georgia Tech I have been amazed by the work that is already happening across disciplines and departments: whether inventing a new toilet that can help reduce child mortality due to diarrhea and other infectious diseases, to accelerating the reduction of cost of renewable energies. From artificial intelligence, to business and policy, engineering or biology, we have the talent and the resources to make a difference.
Beth and I received the warmest welcome from the entire community, and, as I have told many people, we feel like we are coming home again. I’ve been here as a graduate student, as an alumnus, as a member of the Georgia Tech Advisory Board, and as a parent. I never imagined I would return one day as president. Incredible.
Today, I begin my service as Georgia Tech’s president. I am thrilled to be back at a place that means so much to my family and me, and I am honored to be able to work with you and serve this remarkable institution.