November Summit Recap: Georgia Institute of Technology and its Impact on the Historic Westside

Community members and business leaders attended the November 17 Transform Westside Summit for a glimpse into Georgia Tech’s dynamic role in community development, innovation, and inclusivity under President Dr. Angel Cabrera’s visionary leadership.  The event showcased the university’s commitment to creating positive change and fostering a collaborative and thriving community.

As always, the morning opened with connection and community building, where members of the audience shared resources they have for the group’s collective efforts to improve the Westside. Colette Haywood, Vine City legacy resident, community advocate and Home on the Westside resident, led the devotion. John Ahmann, Westside Future Fund President and CEO, moderated the discussion.

Key Moments from the Conversation

Dr. Cabrera highlighted the importance of community in fostering a sense of belonging. He emphasized Georgia Tech’s mission to develop leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition. As a first-generation college student, Dr. Cabrera shared his transformative experience at Georgia Tech, underscoring the university’s commitment to inclusivity.

Reflecting on his unexpected path to the presidency, Dr. Cabrera humorously admitted, “I was never even in the principal’s office, and now I live in it.” He stressed Georgia Tech’s dedication to its community, acknowledging the university’s responsibility to create value for its stakeholders.

The conversation delved into Georgia Tech’s strategic initiatives under Dr. Cabrera’s leadership. He highlighted the university’s focus on developing leaders equipped to drive positive change. He emphasized the importance of diversity, revealing plans to improve representation, especially among African-American students.

Dr. Cabrera shared insights into Georgia Tech’s physical expansion and its impact on Atlanta’s landscape. The success of Midtown’s transformation and the role of Georgia Tech in driving that change served as a testament to intentional planning. He  noted the need to break down physical barriers within the city to enhance connectivity.

He announced the unveiling of Science Square, a groundbreaking project developed in partnership with Trammell Crow. Aimed at establishing an innovation ecosystem for biomedical and health sciences, Science Square represents Georgia Tech’s commitment to retaining startups within the local community. The complex, including the Grace apartment building–named afterGrace Hamilton, the first African-American woman to be elected to the General Assembly in Georgia–seeks to create a vibrant, inclusive neighborhood with a focus on innovation, arts and technology.

Dr. Cabrera concluded with an exciting announcement about a future pedestrian and bicycle bridge, reinforcing the university’s commitment to bridging physical divides. The bridge will connect Science Square with the heart of the campus, promoting accessibility and community engagement.

Miss the event? Watch the full Transform Westside Summit on YouTube.