From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice

Update: Week 7

Aug 16, 2013 | Weekly Update

Football PracticeLast Friday, I finally had the chance to go out and watch the bulldogs practice.  In spite of the heat, there was a lot of energy, and the athleticism of our players looks to be strong.  I believe that Coach Holtz has assembled an excellent staff and a team that will make a solid run for the Conference USA championship.  It was great to visit on the sidelines with several of the players parents, alumni, friends and coaches. Monday was filled with meetings and planning for activities over the next couple of weeks.  We also continued to work on some major initiatives with external partners. Jack PainterTuesday was one of those special days for me.  Professor Emeritus Jack Painter came back to visit from his home in New Bern, NC.  Jack is the person who had the most influence on me personally and professionally, particularly early in my career. He was a remarkable professor and someone who inspired so many students from all across campus.  There was never a time when he put less than 110% effort for a class, making sure that each one was filled with meaningful experiences. Even in returning graded quizzes, Jack saw learning opportunities, and he would “reward” students with a green stamp for each point they made above 90.  That may seem small, but I knew many students, including me, who worked extra hard to get those green stamps.  Well, it was a very special moment for me when Jack showed up in my office this week with a framed cover of the last Tech Alumni magazine.  Included in that frame were 10 green stamps initialed by “JTP”. Tuesday night was “Happening XXXII”, our big alumni and fan event held each year in Monroe.  We had over 1000 in attendance in a more relaxed “tailgating” type of atmosphere.  The energy was high and it was great to see so many dressed in blue game-day attire.  I believe that everyone really enjoyed the extended opportunity to visit with each other before and after the program.  AD Tommy McClelland and Coach Skip Holtz spoke to the gathering and showed what a great staff and athletics program has been put in place to support our student-athletes and represent our university.  Special thanks to Vice President Corre Stegall and the University Advancement team for the outstanding job in planning and running the event. Teddy Allen did his usual masterful job as an emcee, except one place in the program when he tried to push the President off the stage.  Thanks to the Tech Family for turning out in force. Early Wednesday morning, Vice President Jim King and I headed off to Dallas for a couple of meetings with alumni and for the Conference USA Board retreat.  Jim is a remarkably talented leader for us and has played the major role in shaping out our student support, co-curricular programming, facilities, and numerous other campus activities.  The C-USA Board retreat served as an opportunity for all of the Presidents and ADs to get to know each other.  We also worked through a lot of conference policies and plans.  Britton Banowsky is an excellent commissioner and has the meetings planned out well. First CommencementThursday was another big day for me–my first commencement as president. I invited Zell Dudley, CEO of Dudley Worldwide, to be my first commencement speaker.  She has led an inspirational life and used her experiences to present an important message to the graduates. There were 283 graduates, and each one must have had a special story about their experience at Tech, and perhaps their own “Jack Painter” who made a difference in their life. I am so fortunate to have people like Bob Vento as Registrar who ensures that everything is set up to perfection to make this a great experience for all.  I also appreciate the tireless work of Tommy Sisemore who is responsible for set-up, break-down, and all related activities for the TAC.  And, of course, we can not forget our Marshals and many other staff who volunteer their time to help make commencement the greatest day of the year at Tech.  Congratulations to our 2013 summer quarter graduating class!