Future open for Institute design and personal development

What can you have in common with Nathaniel Edwin Harris and the other founders of Tech? Designing the future! When the founders of Tech first proposed this Institute’s role in designing a New South, I doubt they could have foreseen, even fathomed, the world of today. But I’m sure they expected that what they initiated would have a profound impact in shaping that world. Because of their vision, Tech thrives today as one of the leading research universities in the world.

You can play an equally important role in designing the future of Tech through your participation in the ongoing strategic planning process. We’ve scheduled an exciting event on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at 11 a.m. in the Ferst Center, during which Dr. James Canton, a recognized author, futurist and educational and business advisor, will address our community in a talk entitled “Higher Education, Technology, Innovation, and a Look into the Future.” This will be an opportunity to examine and ask questions about the trends and developments that will affect Tech over the next 25 years. On behalf of the planning committee, I encourage you to attend and to invite others too.

As you may know, Tech’s new president, G. P. “Bud” Peterson, initiated our strategic planning to address the question “What will Georgia Tech look like in 2035, on its 150th anniversary?” President Peterson has challenged each of us to be fearless in suggesting transformative ideas that will help Tech sustain and enhance its culture, improve the student experience, provide an exceptional education, achieve true preeminence in research, benefit the state while engaging the world and reflect best practice in its support infrastructure.

Thinking creatively about a future 25 years hence is critically important. I’m sure it sounds trite, as many students have probably heard their grandparents, or even their parents, say something like “time goes by so quickly.” But looking in the rear view mirror from my own rapidly advancing stage of life, I can say it does! It seems only a tick of time since I was a young assistant professor in 1984. I built my first computer from a kit and wrote parts of my own operating system.

Had I been a bit more on the ball, I might have tried to sell it to some young kid like Bill Gates. IBM introduced its first personal computer later that year, and contracted with a start-up named Microsoft for its operating system. There was no World Wide Web then, but the arcane elements were there to support file transfers. The social media of the day (almost wholly restricted to universities) was e-mail. The pace of innovation that has occurred since is nothing short of dizzying. Smart organizations like Tech will not only be able to respond with agility, but also be in a position to direct that change.

So we ask the questions: What kind of skills will an educated workforce require in 2035? What research topics will be hot topics? Will Georgia become the major international destination for work in global health and energy systems? Will Atlanta and Savannah become internationally renowned in the arts because of Tech? How soon will The Ratio be 1:1? Will diversity still be an issue? Will Tech alumni not only serve as leaders in industry, but also as governmental leaders in the state, nation and the world? Most importantly, how do we get there?

We want your ideas. Our future will only be as bold and exciting as you help make it. Please join us in Designing the Future – working together to make a difference.

If you would like any more information about the ongoing strategic planning process, visit or feel free to contact or .