A New Chapter Begins

September 3, 2019, marked the start of a new era at Georgia Tech. On this day, Ángel Cabrera began his tenure as the Institute’s 12th president. Watch his first day on the job unfold through photos, videos, and stories.

President Cabrera walking to the Carnegie Building


7:58 a.m.

“It’s the first day of school,” President Cabrera says with a smile. He’s unpacking boxes and setting up his office.

“I’m going from ‘getting here’ to ‘being here.’ I’ve been here as a student, as an alumnus, as a parent. But this time it’s a very different experience.”

President Cabrera moving a cardboard box in his office


8:27 a.m.

Before his first meeting, President Cabrera gets a quick tutorial from Jennifer Tomasino, Institute Communications, on the content management system he’ll be using for his blog. He is looking forward to sharing his insights and experiences as Tech’s president with the campus community.

Jennifer Tomasino showing President Cabrera his blog


8:44 a.m.

“It was given to me by a good friend from Jordan, and it's made many stops with me,” Cabrera says of the one-of-a-kind nameplate that sits on his desk. “It's definitely different from most standard office nameplates.”

Closeup of the nameplate on President Cabrera's desk


9:01 a.m.

It’s time for the first meeting. The morning begins with President Cabrera’s cabinet — his closest advisors and the deans from all six of Georgia Tech’s colleges. This is a day of firsts for many in the room, including Susan Lozier, who begins her tenure as College of Sciences Dean and Betsy Middleton and John Clark Sutherland Chair.

President Cabrera at his first cabinet meeting


10:03 a.m.

“Presidents come and presidents go, but when they’re around, they change everything about what a university is.”

— Charles Isbell, who is also a Tech graduate and in a new leadership role this semester as dean and John P. Imlay Jr. Chair of the College of Computing, talks about the first meeting with President Cabrera this morning and the search process that led to his hiring.


10:12 a.m.

The Faculty Executive Board is made up of elected members who serve three-year terms. This meeting is the first opportunity for President Cabrera to talk to members of the faculty. “Thank you — thank you — for what you do every day,” he tells them.

President Cabrera with the Faculty Executive Board at his conference table


10:40 a.m.

Cabrera welcomes Georgia Tech staff leadership to his office. David Brown is chair of Georgia Tech’s Staff Council, which represents more than 3,700 employees on campus. Cara Joy Wong, past chair, is a proud Georgia Tech alumna who graduated with a degree in business administration.

“It’s an honor to meet the president on his first day. It says a lot that he is taking time out of his schedule to meet with us,” Wong says.


11:08 a.m.

President Cabrera heading out onto campus

Cabrera ventures out across the Tech campus for the first time as president — a campus that has changed considerably since his days as a Ph.D. student here.

President Cabrera putting on his GT1 license plate on his Chevy Volt

The official Georgia license plate “GT1” is reserved especially for the president of Georgia Tech. Now it’s on his Chevrolet Volt, an all-electric vehicle.

President Cabrera meeting members of the GT police force

While walking across campus, President Cabrera meets Public Safety Officers Chris Spiconardi and Faith Fredericks. It’s also Fredericks’ first day on the job at Georgia Tech. “It’s good to know there's someone as new as me,” she laughs.

Dropping a coin on Sideways' grave

President Cabrera takes part in a beloved Tech tradition — leaving a penny on Sideways’ grave for good luck. “I need all the luck I can get!” he jokes.

No first day would be complete without a selfie, and President Cabrera is happy to oblige Brittney Bush, a first-year computer science major from Huntsville, Alabama.


12:19 p.m.

“I want to spend part of my first day learning about what it’s like to be a student at Georgia Tech.” —President Ángel Cabrera, eating lunch with student leaders in Clough Commons

President Cabrera sitting at a large round table with students at lunch

During his walk to the Student Center, President Cabrera had a chance to talk with students from HyTech Racing, Wreck Racing, and GT Boxing. He also had a chance to speak his native language.


1:41 p.m.

“This is a great chance to get to know you, but I also want to help you be wildly successful during your tenure.”

—President Cabrera speaking with Pooja Juvekar (left), president, and Haigh Angell, executive vice president, Undergraduate Student Government Association (SGA)

President Cabrera with the undergraduate SGA president and vice-president


2:10 p.m.

President Cabrera shaking hands with two students in the foyer of the Carnegie building

President Cabrera meets with Graduate SGA President Narayan Shirolkar (left) and Executive Vice President Aroua Gharbi.

Pooja Juvekar, president of Undergraduate SGA and an industrial and systems engineering major, talks about her conversation with President Cabrera on Tuesday.

Genny Kennedy, an international affairs major, president of Pride Alliance, and vice president of student life for the Undergraduate SGA, was part of a group of students who had lunch with President Cabrera on his first day.


3:10 p.m.

Closeup of President Cabrera's Buzz Card

Like any new employee, President Cabrera’s first day included a visit to Human Resources. He proudly displays his new BuzzCard bearing his status as a faculty/staff member.


3:48 p.m.

President Cabrera and several students in the waiting area at Human Resources

A different kind of class photo. After visiting HR, Cabrera pauses for a photo with Georgia Tech students who are also starting new jobs on campus today.


4:03 p.m.

Student in a t-shirt talking to President Cabrera on the street

Eric, a student from Bogotá, Colombia, races across Ferst Drive near the Campus Recreation Center to greet the new president. “¡Hola, President Cabrera!” The two converse in Spanish. “It’s an honor and an inspiration to have a president who speaks Spanish,” Eric tells him.

Student on a bicycle stopped to talk to President Cabrera

Civil engineering major Donald Gee hops off his bicycle to talk with the new president. Gee plans to attend Cabrera’s first Institute Address on Thursday.


4:56 p.m.

President Cabrera on stage
President Cabrera's nametag and program from Tea with the Dean

To wrap up his first day, President Cabrera stopped by Tea with the Dean, an annual event held by Georgia Tech’s Society of Women Engineers. Tech is home to the nation’s largest and most diverse College of Engineering. “I am so proud of what we are doing for gender inclusion in engineering,” Cabrera told the group.

Gianna Guido, Tina Lu, and Toral Kadakia helped organize Tea with the Dean and were thrilled to have a surprise visit from Tech’s new president.


President Cabrera walking off screen with another person

Welcome home, President Cabrera.


Produced by Institute Communications

Evan Atkinson, Kristen Bailey, Stacy Braukman, Micah Eavenson, Erica Endicott, Rob Felt, Maxwell Guberman, Adam Karcz, Steven Norris, Troy Robinson, and Brice Zimmerman