Atlanta Business Chronicle | September 27, 2010
When I first arrived at Georgia Tech, I was tremendously impressed and, in fact, a little overwhelmed by the breadth and scope of the research under way here at Tech and by the efforts to commercialize these developments.
I remember looking forward to the time when I would have a complete understanding and in-depth knowledge of all that was going on. Today, nearly a year and a half later, I recognize that this is never going to happen — and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Over the past year and a half, I have come to realize that the rate at which new discoveries and scientific and technological advances are being made by the many faculty, staff and students here at Georgia Tech exceeds my ability to fully comprehend all that is going on. The many innovative and creative ideas that are being developed — ranging from new scientific discoveries and technological advances in fields such as health care and nanotechnology — are both inspiring and transformational. Each represents a piece of what will be a new vision for potential commercial entities here in Georgia and around the world.
For the past year, the entire Tech community has been focused on the development of a road map for the future, a strategic vision that aims to position Georgia Tech as the defining technological research university of the 21st century.
The process for shaping this vision involved a broad array of meetings with students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends; town hall presentations; and online solicitations for input from the broader Tech community. What resulted is a focused and aggressive vision that identifies specific goals while allowing flexibility for the details that will define those goals.
The one constant is what we believe has distinguished Georgia Tech graduates from the graduates of other institutions — innovation, entrepreneurship, leadership and public service, all of which have been and will continue to be fundamental characteristics of our graduates.
One of our goals is for Georgia Tech to be the “Innovation Institute,” a place where technology, economics, business, public policy, law, commercialization and entrepreneurship co-mingle and thrive. This involves creating a culture that values not only the rewards of research, but also the economic and commercial impact of the results. Tech is already an economic engine for the state and known for its innovation. Our goal is to be known for innovation worldwide, preparing students to be innovative leaders whether in education, government, corporate, law or public policy environments.
Another is to prepare our students to be leaders in both the public and private sectors.
The role that technology plays in public policy and the law is another area we plan to expand and enhance. Our expertise in technology coupled with the insights and expertise in our School of Public Policy will provide an invaluable resource that will serve public officials and business leaders locally, nationally and globally. This will eventually be formalized, strengthening Georgia Tech’s position as a thought leader in areas such as bioengineering, the environment, energy and national security, among other pressing issues.
While a thriving local and state economy will always be a top priority, expanding our global presence — already significant due to the more than one-third of our students participating in an international experience prior to graduation — will become increasingly important.
Finally, by organizing the myriad of entrepreneurship activities on campus and creating a culture of leadership and innovation, we can prepare and produce alumni who can rise to the top of their professions and are able to thrive in a global economy. This focus on international influence includes using our expertise in addressing universal goals such as affordable energy, nuclear safeguards and sustainability.
This is just a portion of what we have planned. Those eager to delve into our ambitions in more detail can access the full strategic plan at gatech.edu/vision.
G.P. “Bud” Peterson is the 11th President of the Georgia Institute of Technology.