From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice
Week 9 Update
I had the opportunity this week to take a couple of days to go fishing with two of my friends from my early days at Tech. We tried our hand at redfish and speckled trout in Lake Pontchartrain. We had a lot of action and a lot of fun, although the tides messed up the reds and specs – at least that is our excuse. As you might expect from three engineers, we spent quite a bit of time riding around the lake looking at the structures and levees that have been built or strengthened since Hurricane Katrina. On Thursday, Kathy and I flew out to Raleigh-Durham to meet up with our alumni group that was in town to see the Bulldogs take on NC State. Ryan Richard and Adam McGuirt arranged an excellent tour of sites in Durham. These alumni trips are well attended, well organized, and great opportunities to renew friendships with the Tech Family. We had alumni join us from Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, and surrounding areas. Our tours began with a visit to the Washington Duke Homestead. We walked around to see his house, farm, and factories where tobacco products were first manufactured. Washington Duke and his sons created the great tobacco empire in NC that ultimately led to the rise of the American Tobacco Company, the world’s largest tobacco company. The Duke family’s success led to great wealth for the family and community. The Dukes established a private endowment with a $40M gift in 1924 that has supported several Carolina universities. The largest share of the initial gift was used to convert a small Methodist college, Trinity College, into what is now Duke University. The endowment’s assets now total approximately $2.7B. The next stop on the tour was the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, another gift from the Duke family. These spectacular gardens provide a botanical paradise open to everyone. It is a great place for refreshing the mind, and a great educational environment. The Gardens are adjacent to one of the Duke medical school facilities. Another stop on the tour was the Duke campus and chapel. This impressive Gothic chapel serves as a central focus for the Duke campus. Our final tour stop was the famous Cameron Indoor Arena, home of Duke basketball. I was most honored to have the opportunity to meet with Dr. Kevin White, Duke Athletics Director, and father of our own head basketball coach Mike White and Associate Athletics Director Brian White. It was immediately evident to me that the character and success proven in the early career of our own Coach White has been inspired by a father who believes in doing things the right way. From Cameron, we took a tour of the Duke Hall of Fame, a tremendous facility with most impressive displays of major victories, players, and activities surrounding the history of Duke athletics. What a great way to spend a day with our Louisiana Tech friends!