For the last 14 years, Tech has been graced with the presence of President Clough, who greatly contributed to the progress Tech has made over the past decade. From rapid campus expansion to the steady improvement of Tech’s national rankings, Clough is the superlative force behind an institute that is already redefining university-level education and the research industry.
As the tenth chief executive of Tech, President Clough is the first Tech alumnus to serve as president. The first member of his family to go to college, he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Civil Engineering in 1964 and 1965, respectively. He continued his doctorate work at the University of California, Berkeley and received his PhD in 1969.
Since his start in 1994, Clough has been especially interested in the expansion of the institution. This expansion includes the West Campus dorms, Technology Square, the Student Center renovations, the Klaus Building, the new Health Center and the Biomedical Complex. Clough hopes the future of Tech’s campus also expands internationally.
“India is where the hot and heavy action is now. It’s a tricky thing to do, to make a model that is viable and financially sustainable, and we are doing a lot of work to make sure that as we move forward [this] will be true. We just had the government give us 50 acres…that’s a start, but there is still a lot of work to do. When I came we had one [campus] in France. We now have one in Singapore, Shanghai and in Ireland,” Clough said.
A typical day in the life of President Clough is dictated primarily by mandatory activities.
“There are a lot of meetings that the president has to go to that are just automatic by the nature of it. We have a lot of affiliated organizations such as the Alumni Association, the Foundation, our research corporation and Athletic Association…and each one of those organizations have a board. Each one [of the boards] has meetings…and the president is involved with those meetings which absorb a lot of time,” Clough said.
“The president will attend most faculty meetings, meetings with students and meetings with external constituencies like the Metro Chamber, the Board of Regents and the Georgia Research Alliance,” Clough said.
Clough was recently asked to serve as the 12th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute on March 15, 2008. He will begin serving in this position on July 1, 2008, the day he steps down as president of Georgia Tech.
Provost Gary Schuster will serve as interim president until the Board of Regents is able to find the next president.
Clough believes that Tech can continue to improve. “I would like to think that we have laid the groundwork for the next president to really continue to move Georgia Tech up to that next level…we have really solidified [our] reputation as a true and highly respected global entity that cares about its students. Georgia Tech is seen as a national and international resource on important issues,” Clough said.
Clough also discussed his hopes for the next president to ‘be with the times.’ “I think the next president needs to be somebody who understands and lives and breathes technology. [He or she] needs to be someone who understands clearly the special characteristics of Tech students and faculty and supports their aspirations. I think [he or she] needs to be a person who can interact with the players in the regional, state and international level in a way that can continue to enhance the region of Georgia Tech,” Clough said.
Like any person, President Clough is still trying to figure out what he wants to do when he grows up. He hopes to have more freedom in making decisions about his future than he has in the past.
“I was very lucky; part of it I attribute to the fact that I have had good friends. I attribute part of it to the fact that I had good parents, people who supported me and that I worked hard. Ten years from now, I suspect I will still be doing something related to technology, education and public policy. It could be at the state level or I might do some part-time teaching,” Clough said.
However, Clough also has an appreciation for the finer things in life.
“Otherwise, I might just be writing poetry and working on my golf game,” Clough said.