To Thee My Alma Mater
Kathy and I had a couple of special visitors come to our home this week, the sole surviving nieces of John Purcell Graham. Of course, all of our alumni are most familiar with one of the songs written and composed by John P. Graham, and that is our Alma Mater. We enjoyed the visit of Mary Elliott and Margaret Hart who told us about their numerous visits with Uncle John from their home in El Dorado. John was a talented musician, as were all of his siblings. Apparently, John played the organ at the Presbyterian Church in Ruston while serving as a banker for Ruston State Bank. We were able to show Mary and Margaret a signed copy of the Alma Mater sheet music dating back to 1927 and another book of 10 sacred songs written by their Uncle John. And they were able to see the piano on which Tech’s Alma Mater was composed. It was quite a special visit for us, and we hope to have them back on campus again to see more of our pleasant walks and noble trees!
This week I also attended an Executive Forum at the National Cyber Summit in Huntsville, AL, where some of the nation’s leading experts in cyber security were speaking. It was more clear than ever to me, particularly given the recent global public attention given to the subject, that the demand for cyber-related professionals is going to continue to rapidly grow. I believe that we are well positioned to play an important role in meeting that demand and to capitalize on the opportunities associated with that industry’s growth. The visit to Huntsville also reminded me about the great economic opportunities that can be afforded to communities and regions that are wise enough to capitalize upon the strategic investments that are being made by government and industry. We have similar opportunities now in North Louisiana. We just need for our state to sustain its investment in our academic programs that are essential for this economic opportunity. The legislature’s inability to get a state budget approved during the regular session that closed on Thursday certainly causes great concern for us.
After a short Friday morning in budget meetings in my office, I headed over to Bossier City to meet with our colleagues at Bossier Parish Community College and the Cyber Innovation Center to discuss future plans to grow the cyber industry and workforce for our region.
Here are a few of my favorite pics for the week: