From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice
Wrapping up Week 12
The energy surrounding last week’s amazing Time Out for Tech event has continued to grow. I received a short note from Giovana Giarelli (B.A. ’99 and M.A.T. ’07), and Foreign Language Department Head from East Saint John High School in Reserve, LA. I had met Giovana at an alumni reunion in Mandeville last spring and invited her to bring her students, Elton Breaux, Ashton Millet, and Chad Murray, to sit with me in my box at the Tulane football game. These impressive young men had a great time on campus and at the game. According to Giovana, the students saw what the Tech family is about and they are now determined to be a part of it.
The energy continued into this week as we finalized our fall enrollment numbers. Our focus this year was on building our undergraduate enrollments through more aggressive recruiting and retention. Everyone on our campus worked together to help us meet our goals, and I am thrilled with our freshmen class! Our first-time freshmen enrollments increased by 245 students, or almost 20% over last year. In addition, the average ACT for entering freshmen increased to 24.7 eclipsing the all-time high of 24.1 last year. The first-year retention rate increased by 1.4% to 78.6%, representing another important benchmark for Tech’s record of performance.
I spent a lot of time on the road this week focusing on economic development. I made a couple of trips to Shreveport, with one of those being the groundbreaking of the new Benteler Steel manufacturing facility at the Port of Caddo-Bossier. The second trip to Shreveport was to look at a facility that could potentially house expanded Tech operations in supporting the workforce needs of the Shreveport/Bossier community. Secretary of Economic Development Stephen Moret made a visit to Louisiana Tech on Wednesday. It was good to have the opportunity to discuss some other Louisiana Tech-related economic development opportunities with him. On Thursday, I had the opportunity to speak with Monroe Rotary about the importance of a national research university like Louisiana Tech to the economic prosperity of North Louisiana. From there, I made a visit to Alexandria to discuss needs of the forestry industry with representatives of the Louisiana Society for American Foresters.
We continue to work on some important projects that could have significant impacts on Louisiana Tech and North Louisiana.