Photo by Jonathon Garza

To all of you who are new to Georgia Tech, whether freshmen or transfer students, welcome. We believe you’ve chosen one of the best universities in the world.

To those of you who are returning, we’re glad you’re back. You are continuing your Georgia Tech experience at a time of tremendous momentum for the Institute. Here are a few things that have transpired just since spring commencement.

In May, Georgia Tech announced a bold leadership step in technology-assisted learning that gained national and even international attention. Our new Online Master of Science in Computer Science, or OMS CS, is the first of its kind. It is trademark Georgia Tech: It is innovative; we’re partnering with industry (AT&T) and it is meeting a need for quality education for students and employers.

Also in May, we introduced Georgia Tech Starter, a university-based, peer-reviewed crowd-funding platform for science and engineering research projects, open to both faculty researchers and students.

In June, we launched the Georgia Tech Institute for Materials (IMat), the newest of Tech’s nine Interdisciplinary Research Institutes. IMat includes a community of nearly 200 faculty conducting materials-related research in areas such as graphene, polymers, and photonics.

You’ll notice some improvements and additions when you walk around campus. “Engineered Art,” part of our [email protected] program, is an exciting 15-piece international exhibition on loan from various artists. The most dramatic is a 50-foot steel piece in front of the Instructional Center on Ferst Drive by internationally acclaimed sculptor John Henry, who is also the curator for the exhibition. For a map of sculpture locations, go to arts.gatech.edu.

Renovations on the North Avenue side of campus include replacing the stairs between Tech Tower and the Tech Tower lawn and a steam pipe replacement on Bobby Dodd Way. Faculty in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering are getting settled in the Mason Building after an extensive renovation. On the west side of campus, the Campus Recreation Center field will have new turf and a new storm drainage system by the end of 2013.

Our largest construction project is at the corner of State and 10th. The Engineered Biosystems Building, or EBB, will extend Tech’s vision for interdisciplinary research, addressing many of today’s grand challenges in biomedical science and human health.

Tech Square is an Innovation Zone that is attracting start-ups as well as established companies. This month AT&T’s Foundry, one of their innovation centers, will open in Tech Square. One of the principal factors in AT&T’s decision to locate in Tech Square is the opportunity it gives the company to work with Tech’s innovative students. The campus is also anticipating the opening of a small-scale Walmart in Tech Square.

Administrative changes include a new presidential committee to oversee campus accessibility, as well as a mental health task force. We are beginning the fall semester with two new deans, Steven P. French, dean of the College of Architecture, and Paul Goldbart, College of Sciences. Al Trujillo, a loyal Georgia Tech alumnus, successful businessman, and former chairman of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association, has been named president and chief operating officer of the Georgia Tech Foundation.

Let me close by inviting each of you to join me for the annual Institute Update for students, faculty, and staff on Thursday, Aug. 29, from 11 a.m. to noon in Clough Commons, Room 152. I look forward to seeing you there, as well as around campus throughout the year.