To the Georgia Tech Community:
As I prepare to step down as president, I wanted to reach out to thank each of you for all you do to help make Georgia Tech the wonderful institution that it is. Serving as the president of Georgia Tech for the past 10½ years has been one of the highlights of my career. I am now looking forward to returning to the faculty here at Tech and resuming my teaching and research.
When Val and I first arrived on campus, we were struck by how proud people were to be here at Georgia Tech. Our first impression was that this is a special place — we just didn’t realize, at the time, how special.
While Val and I are not from the South and did not really know that much about Georgia, we were immediately welcomed, accepted, and supported. As we came to know the faculty, staff, students, and our alumni, friends, and supporters, we experienced firsthand how the people of Georgia Tech, with their unique strengths and shared tradition of excellence, helped to create lifelong bonds within the Georgia Tech community.
Georgia Tech is, indeed, comprised of an amazing group of people, with a remarkable collection of ideas, opinions, and perspectives. You are generous, always willing to go the extra mile and share resources and ideas. You are collaborative and innovative problem solvers — and not afraid to tackle any challenge whether it is on campus, in our state, or halfway around the world. You are in the business of transforming lives and communities; you are, in fact, Designing the Future.
One of the most meaningful things I did as president, one that will stay with me for many years, was to shake the hands of the more than 62,000 graduates who walked across the stage in the 59 Commencement ceremonies I participated in over the past decade. As I would look out over the graduates, I would often think about the things these amazing young people will do and see in their careers: They will cure cancer and other diseases; address the challenges related to climate change, food supply, and energy; and see interplanetary space travel become a reality. I would also think about the hundreds of G. Wayne Clough Tech Promise Scholars from throughout the state who would not have been able to earn a Georgia Tech degree, if not for the generous need-based scholarship named in honor of my predecessor, who, like Val and me, has a passion for putting a Georgia Tech degree within reach of every qualified student. That is why Val and I were both so touched this past June when the Georgia Tech Foundation and Alumni Association announced that they had joined together to create a $17 million need-based scholarship endowment in our honor, to provide a similar opportunity for in-state and out-of-state students, regardless of where they call home in the U.S. Because this is something we have always felt very passionate about and personally support, the honor was all the more meaningful.
The success of any organization or institution is a continuum, with one group building on the strengths and accomplishments of those who came before. Georgia Tech is where it is today because of thousands of dedicated faculty and staff, because of its remarkable students and alumni, because of partnerships, and because of a common vision and a quest for excellence.
On September 1, we will welcome Ángel Cabrera as Georgia Tech’s 12th president to continue building on that trajectory of excellence. As an alumnus with a global perspective and rich leadership experience including serving as president of a large and growing research university, he is uniquely qualified to lead Georgia Tech in its pursuit of excellence.
Val and I have been honored to serve you for the past 10½ years, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for Georgia Tech. Thank you for being so warm, so welcoming, and so supportive of us in our respective roles here at Georgia Tech and, more importantly, thank you for all you continue to do to make this such a special place!
G. P. “Bud” Peterson