From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice

Wrapping up Week 3

Jul 21, 2013 | Weekly Update

This week was filled with highlights and challenges.  It began with one of my friends, a Tech alumnus, who brought his daughter over from Shreveport for a visit so she could learn more about Tech, and hopefully, to make the decision to attend Tech next Fall.  I always enjoy meeting with prospective students and will give them a tour when I can, as I did with Allison. Thanks to Drs. Don Schillinger and Donna Thomas for telling Allison about our excellent education and psychology programs.  That visit was followed by another one, this one from an alumnus who lives in Silicon Valley where he is an entrepreneur interacting regularly with several of the top icons who have led high-tech economic growth in the U.S. After having graduated only seven years ago from our engineering and entrepreneurship programs, Dany is clearly moving down the path of making his on mark on society.  I hope to do a feature blog post on him soon. Another highlight for me this week was a call from Mr. Hank Wells, a founder of the Monroe architecture firm Wells & Parker, who offered me my first professional job. I had not spoken with Hank in over 30 years, and it was just a special day for me to hear from him.  When I worked with him, he was leading some design work for the Tech President’s home (then occupied by F. J. Taylor).  Little did I know back then that I would some day be living in the house that I helped to design as a young architect.  I am so grateful to Hank and Mr. Hugh Parker for providing me with this great opportunity and experience. Tuesday was a very special day for Louisiana Tech as I introduced our new Athletics Director, Tommy McClelland, at a press conference.  Tommy was selected from a pool of excellent candidates from around the country vetted by our search team and Athletics Council.  This search process reinforced again what a strong national brand identity that Tech has, and how this institution continues to grow in national prominence. I am convinced that Tommy will be a great AD for Tech.  He met all of our criteria, has demonstrated a strong record of success at McNeese, and has received very strong references from several top ADs across the country.  But more than his accomplishments, he demonstrated an extraordinary blend of intellect, character, talent, and drive that makes him one of the top young athletics directors in the nation. During his interview, he articulated a vision for Louisiana Tech Athletics that is consistent with mine and compatible with our vision for the entire university.  We welcome Tommy and his wife, Jessica, and sons, Lawson and Grayson into the Tech Family! The greatest challenge of the week was in finalizing the 2013-14 budget.  After several successive years of declining revenues and increasing costs, it is more and more challenging to find ways to support the great things that our faculty, staff, and students are doing. We will certainly have to be diligent in our efforts to manage the budget this year, and we will have to be more aggressive than ever in finding ways to grow our revenues.  Our strategic planning and administrative teams are providing exceptional leadership in that regard, and I am excited about the future of the University.  We clearly need greater support from our alumni, friends and partners, and I will be dedicating much of my time and energy in the coming weeks and months to present them with opportunities to make a difference through their support.  We have only one option, and that is to become a stronger national research university that continues to have major impacts on our state, region and community.  We will find a way to achieve that together. A special word of appreciation to VP for Finance & Administration Joe Thomas, Comptroller Lisa Cole, Budget Officer Jerry Drewett, and their staff for the tremendous efforts and dedication this week with the budget. I also thank our Deans and other Vice Presidents in helping me work through some of the significant challenges that we faced.  Onward Louisiana Tech.