Clough departs; Schuster begins interim presidency

Provost and vice president of academic affairs Gary Schuster will formally begin his term as interim institute president on July 1. Schuster’s appointment to the role of president comes after Institute President Wayne Clough’s announcement to step down from office in March to become the 12th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.

“We will all remember the fantastic contributions that President Clough made to Georgia Tech during his tenure, and though we will miss his visionary leadership, we are certainly excited for him as he takes on his new role at the Smithsonian,” said Nick Wellkamp, undergraduate student body president.

“What he’s done is basically raise our national reputation for us,” said Laurence Jacobs, dean of academic affairs for the College of Engineering. “Look at how he’s gone to take us, an engineering school, and take us to the top ten. Look at the biomedical engineering [and so on] and see how before Clough, it didn’t even exist, and now it’s at the top.”

During his 12 year tenure as Tech’s tenth president Clough has brought the institute national and international recognition. Clough was the first president who was also a Tech alumnus, and he served Tech while the campus was used for the 1996 Olympic Games.

“I think one of the things that is big to me was the fact that [Clough] was a student at Tech… that he knew what it was like being at Tech,” said Aaron Fowler, graduate student body president. “Whenever you lose someone who has been at Tech such a long period of time, and it definitely helped that he knew problems of this school. The longevity definitely helps… It’s a great loss.”

In his place, University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll B. Davis, Jr. and the Board of Regents announced Schuster as interim president in April.

Schuster, who became provost at Tech in 2006, has also previously served as the dean of the College of Sciences after spending twenty years as a chemistry professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Schuster and his cabinet have already begun the transition state into the office of president through meetings and administrative procedures between his office and other Tech departments and organizations.

“I am confident that Interim President Schuster will provide the strong leadership we need during this time of transition,” Wellkamp said. “We have spoken to each other about our goals for the Institute during the next year, and I have his word that he will continue Dr. Clough’s practice of listening to student opinion and holding student government in high regard.”

Schuster will remain president until a new president takes the helm. While currently Tech administrators, faculty and students are adjusting to a new president and a new cabinet, the Board of Regents has already begun their search for Clough’s successor.

The board has begun compiling a list of nominees for the committee to choose the next president. The committee will be made up of twenty members, including sitting members of the Board of Regents, faculty representatives, administrators, members at large (influential alumni or stakeholders) and one student who is representative of the campus as a whole.

Of the committee members, the student representative will be chosen from the graduate and undergraduate student population.

Davis and the chair of the Board of Regents will select the final committee and announce the names on a later date.

Following the announcement, the committee will begin searching for a new president. There is currently no timetable set for how long that process will last.

“It’s a transition period. We’re trying to keep the excellence going. You don’t want to lose the momentum. We want to continue on for the new president so when he or she comes on board, we’ll be ready for them,” Jacobs said.

“As [Schuster] being interim president, we are not going to be staying static… he wants us to keep going forward,” Wellkamp said.