Presidential Investiture: An Institute Milestone

investiture of ángel cabrera

Presidential Investiture: An Institute Milestone

By Victor Rogers Oct. 24, 2019

President Ángel Cabrera’s Investiture, or inauguration, will be held Monday, Oct. 28.

“The Investiture is the symbolic handing of authority to the new president. President Cabrera has legally been president of the Institute since Sept. 1. So, the Investiture is really a celebration,” said Joseph L.A. Hughes, professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, chair of the Faculty Executive Board, and a member of the Investiture planning committee.

presidential medallion
The president wears the Institute Medallion, which bears Georgia Tech’s “Progress and Service” motto. President Cabrera’s initials will be added to the medallion’s chain, which includes the initials of each of Tech’s presidents. The president receives the medallion during the Investiture and wears it with his academic regalia.

This will be the third investiture that Hughes has attended and the second for which he has served on the planning committee. The 21-member planning committee, comprised of students, faculty, and staff, is chaired by Michael Hagearty, director of Campus Communications and Special Events in Institute Communications.

The size and scope of the ceremony are usually determined by a combination of institutional practices and the preferences of the new president.

“For this ceremony, people on the planning committee have been talking with President Cabrera about his Investiture since before he arrived on campus in September. His Investiture is happening relatively quickly, and that was his preference,” said Hughes. “This will be more of a ‘family’ event, although guests from off campus will be present.”

2019 Investiture Details

Monday, Oct. 28
10:30 a.m.
Ferst Center for the Arts

Steve Wrigley, chancellor of the University System of Georgia, will formally confer the rank of president on Ángel Cabrera. Representatives from other universities will attend, and student representatives, faculty, staff, and government officials will speak at the event.

Hughes said that in some ways an investiture is similar to a wedding.

“In both cases a group of people gather for a relatively rare event where a person is the focus. At a wedding the focus is obviously on the couple getting married. At an investiture the new president is clearly the focus, but the event is also about and for the community,” Hughes said.

The day of the Investiture will begin with a breakfast for invited guests, followed by the ceremony and concluding with a celebration on Tech Green that is open to the entire campus community.


Historical Significance of the Investiture

Cabrera is only the 12th president since Georgia Tech opened its doors in 1888.

“If you do the math, it says our presidents are lasting 10 or more years on average. That’s pretty unusual,” said Hughes, adding that the average tenure of a president at a top U.S. university is around five years.

“For us, an investiture is a pretty rare event. We will have students who have spent their entire time at Georgia Tech with one president. In that sense, it’s a celebration of who we are as an Institute,” said Hughes, who joined the faculty in 1986 and attended the 1995 Investiture of President Emeritus G. Wayne Clough. He served on the Investiture planning committee for President Emeritus G.P. "Bud" Peterson in 2009.

When asked what part of President Cabrera's Investiture he is most excited about, Hughes said, “I’m a sucker for the ceremony. For me the pomp of the ceremony is very important. People wear academic regalia, which we only pull out for formal occasions such as Commencement. It signifies the importance of the continuity of the institution. The Investiture is part of the passing along of the Institute’s history.”

presidents clough, cabrera, and peterson

President Emeritus G. Wayne Clough, President Ángel Cabrera, and President Emeritus G.P. “Bud” Peterson in Harrison Square. “Georgia Tech has gone from Clough to Peterson to Cabrera with smooth transitions. The fact that we now have two former presidents who are actively connected to Tech in very positive ways is unique," said Joseph L.A. Hughes, professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, chair of the Faculty Executive Board, and a member of the Investiture planning committee.

A Look Back at Tech's 10th and 11th Investitures

clough investiture

Front row: Stephen R. Portch, chancellor of the University System of Georgia, and Anne Clough, Tech’s new first lady, listened as President Clough delivered his Investiture address.

peterson investiture

With first lady Val Peterson at his side, President Peterson received the president’s medallion from Susan Herbs, executive vice chancellor of the University System of Georgia.

"wayne's walk" from president clough investiture

In 1995, Georgia Tech students, faculty, and staff gathered at the Student Center for “Wayne’s Walk” and proceeded to the Fox Theatre for President Clough’s ceremony.

investiture programs

Programs from the Investiture ceremonies of Georgia Tech’s 10th and 11th presidents, G. Wayne Clough (1994-2008) and G.P. “Bud” Peterson (2009-19).


fox sign at clough investiture

The Investiture of Tech’s 10th president, G. Wayne Clough, was held at the Fox Theatre on May 12, 1995.

peterson investiture

Distinguished Professor Bob Nerem carried the Mace as President Peterson and first lady Val Peterson exited Alexander Memorial Coliseum after the ceremony.