Thursday, Sept. 3, Tech celebrated the investiture of the 11th official institute president G. P. “Bud” Peterson. Students, faculty, administration and other onlookers gathered at the Alexander Memorial Coliseum as Peterson was inaugurated. President Peterson steps in after a long line of historic institute presidents including G. Wayne Clough, John Patrick Crecine and Edwin Davies Harrison.
The investiture comes after President Peterson’s arrival at Tech earlier last spring. The ceremony is used to formally hand over the position of Institute President from the incumbent to its successor. Among the guests were Governor Sonny Perdue, Congressman Phil Gingrey and Board of Regents Chair Robert F. Hatcher. Members of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and Tech alumni were also in attendance with students.
Board of Regents Chancellor Errol B. Davis, Jr. began the ceremony by introducing Peterson, who was welcomed with a round of applause. Peterson began his speech by thanking all of his guests on behalf of him and his wife, even making special mention of Tech’s own George P. Burdell by mentioning, “Although I have yet to meet him, I was told he would be here with us today.”
In his address, Peterson reflected on Tech’s long history of achievement not only in the field of student and alumni accomplishments, but also the work being done by all involved in the community. He also stressed the sources of pride Tech has in its national rankings, research and other successes.
“Before I came to Tech I was well aware of its reputation for excellence, but I did not realize what a truly incredible place it really was. I quickly learned of the tremendous impact it has had, and continues to have, on the lives of our students, the state’s economy and on the larger global community. In just five short months, I have come to share the tremendous pride we all have in this fine institution,” said Peterson in his address.
“We have before us today an opportunity to shape the future of, not only this great institution but also the many students who will pass through its doors in the coming years,” Peterson said.
Following the investiture ceremony at 1:30 p.m. at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center, Peterson and his administration hosted an inaugural conversation, entitled “A Strategic Vision for Georgia Tech.” The talk was part of the strategic planning initiative hosted by the office of the President and the Strategic Planning Steering Committee. The committee was established Aug. 24 and is comprised of 75 Tech faculty, students, staff, alumni and other community members. The initiative looks into different ways to improve Tech‘s academic, student and community life.
As the festivities ended, Peterson was quick to stress the importance of maintaining Tech’s ideals of progress and service for the coming years by elaborating on the continuation of President Clough’s work and partnerships with universities and other businesses in the area. He also expressed a desire to continue Clough’s Tech Promise Program, based on the contribution of alumni and other donors.
Although he imparted positive words on the future, Peterson was quick to warn that change and predicting change does not happen quickly or easily, by stressing the question of “What if?” He emphasized how dynamic change has been in the past 25 years of Tech’s history, and even within the last year. For that reason, he explained to the Tech community that they should continually ask the question “What if” in every aspect of their college/university experience.
“Today we must both respect our past, but we must also design the future.”
“As we design our future,” Peterson said, “we will embrace the values that have made Georgia Tech what it is today. While our influence and reputation will increase, the culture upon which our reputation has been built; hard work, curiosity combined with intellectual rigor, collegiality, inclusiveness,and an intense passion for problem solving, will remain steadfast and will serve as our foundation, as we strive to not only define, but to be, the technological research university of the 21st century and to educate the leaders of a technologically driven world.”