From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice

Reflecting on Wiley and Partnerships

Jan 19, 2014 | Weekly Update

Hilburn, Wiley, Jr.We lost one of Tech’s most respected and impactful professors this week with the passing of former Tech Journalism head, Wiley Hilburn, Jr. Wiley was loved by so many of his students who appreciated the demands that he placed on them to excel. The large number of Tech Journalism graduates who have gone on to success as publishers, editors, writers, commentators, educators, and in many other professions is a true testament of Wiley’s impact. Wiley also had an impact on me. It was not unusual to receive a note of encouragement, or chastisement, from Wiley. As a young Dean, I recall going over to Keeny to meet with Wiley for some advice about how to deal with the media.  His advice was short and simple, “Be open, honest, and accessible.” I have tried to make that my way of doing business ever since.  Wiley also challenged everyone to think, often presenting controversial perspectives in his editorials. I always enjoyed reading his editorials including historical reflections of the region and state. All of us at Tech are deeply indebted to Wiley for making a big difference in so many lives. On Monday of this past week, we had several of the leaders from the construction industry on campus.  This included the heads of Louisiana Associated General Contractors of America, Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors, and the Contractors’ Educational Trust Fund. These organizations have long supported our construction education programs. They represent one of the largest and strongest industry sectors in the state, and one that clearly understands the importance of university-industry collaborations.  Their strong and generous support of Tech’s construction education program has made a big difference. I was so pleased that they brought more funds and further offers of support. This is the kind of relationship that we need to develop with other sectors of business and industry. On Tuesday, I had more budget meetings as well as a meeting with the regional manager of Barnes and Noble, who is another key private sector partner of the University. We had visitors from the Air Force Institute of Technology and Riverside Research Institute on campus Wednesday through Friday who were here to expand upon our partnerships in education and research. Our academic and research programs align well with their needs. On Thursday, I flew out to Richland, Washington to visit with the leadership at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. PNNL is a Department of Energy government research lab with world-class facilities and research staff. We are exploring partnerships with them that could expand research experiences for both our faculty and students. My return trip from Washington on Saturday was quite an experience that included a rental car tow, delayed flights, and rebooking a return to Shreveport rather than my trip origin, Monroe.