New school year offers chance to honor past, carve path into future

Welcome to campus! You have the distinction of being part of a student body that boasts the best-qualified and most diverse freshman class ever. In addition, 2010-2011 will be a banner academic year for Tech from both a historical and a future perspective.

This year marks not only the 125th anniversary of Tech, but also the 50th anniversary of both the matriculation of black students to campus and the Ramblin’ Wreck.

Although we’ll be celebrating these milestones throughout the year, we are also embracing the opportunity for our campus to chart its future course.

I hope you will plan to join me Aug. 31 at 11 a.m. inside the Ferst Center when we officially launch our new strategic plan to take Tech to its 150th anniversary. This has been a year-long process that has involved participation by many of you, and I look forward to your involvement in helping us bring the plan to life in the coming year and years to come.

As each of you prepares for the academic challenges that lie ahead, I want to make sure you are aware of a number of changes on our leadership team.

Dr. Rafael Bras joins us in Sept. as our new provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, coming to Tech from the University of California-Irvine, where he was the Dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering.

On May 1, Dr. Steve Cross began as Tech’s executive vice president for Research (EVPR), providing leadership, strategic focus and support for the Institute’s multifaceted research and economic development enterprise.

Dr. Ravi Bellamkonda, a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, has been named an associate vice president within the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research (EVPR).

Joining us this fall is Dr. Jacqueline Jones Royster, our new Dean of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts who arrives from the Ohio State University.

While College of Management Dean Steve Salbu is taking off the semester to focus on research, Senior Associate Dean Sri Narasimhan will oversee day-to-day operations.

Nina Sawczuk has been named general manager of the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) at Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2).

We have a new vice provost for Enrollment Services, Paul Kohn, who has joined us from the University of Arizona.

Gregory R. Moore has been named senior director of Stamps Health Services, joining Tech from the University of Kentucky, where he held a similar position.

Corey Boone, a fourth year College of Management student, is your new SGA Undergraduate Student Body President.

Anthony Baldridge, who is a Ph.D candidate in Chemistry, will serve as SGA Graduate Student Body President.

Many more changes are taking place. We are in the process of hiring a new vice president for Institute Diversity, an associate vice president for Communications & Marketing and new leadership for the Office of Information Technology and Office of Human Resources.

While you may or may not come into contact with these new faces, you can be confident in knowing that we have a team of dedicated professionals who are focused on making Tech one of the most highly respected, technology-focused learning institutions in the world.

Our faculty and staff represent only a part of the overall larger equation here at Tech. Each of you plays a pivotal role in making sure that leadership, innovation, entrepreneurship and public service continue to be hallmarks of our both our institution and our graduates.

I encourage you to embrace the many opportunities available to you here at Tech. Learn from our leadership, our faculty and your fellow students and join with me as we work together to Design the Future.