From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice
From SGA to Tech and Tails: a week in the life of a university president
I was glad to be in town for most of this week and was able to spend more time with my administrative team in assessment and planning. On Tuesday, I was able to speak to our Faculty & Staff Club and provide them with a recap of the year. The Faculty & Staff Club meets once a month to hear from various speakers or entertainers, and to spend some time getting to meet with friends and colleagues from across campus. I was very honored that Faculty & Staff Club President Robert Grafton presented me with a stained-glass Bulldog piece done by VP Emeritus Virgil Orr. Dr. Orr, who was in attendance with his wife Myrtis, has been one of the most impactful members of the Tech Family across Tech’s history. Tuesday evening, I attended the SGA banquet where outgoing officers were recognized for their leadership and incoming officers were inaugurated. I have greatly enjoyed working with 2013-14 President Allison East and her officers. I am also looking forward to working with 2014-15 President Maggie Brakeville and her officers Sarah McCorkle, Mackenzie Potts and Sonny Adams. The members of SGA provide great leadership for our student body and greatly enhance the Tech experience for all. I enjoyed a visit from former SGA President Clint Carlisle on Thursday who will be attending graduate school at Columbia University in New York this summer. On Wednesday, we hosted a meeting with a consortium of cyber/IT/software senior executives from some of the nation’s largest companies including CenturyLink, CSC, IBM, Dell, GE Capital and AEP, along with leaders from the Cyber Innovation Center, Louisiana Economic Development, and other invited guests to talk about workforce needs. I left this meeting for a noon presentation at the Ruston Rotary Club and returned back to campus for a preview meeting with our campus master planning team, Sasaki and Associates. Sasaki continued their meeting on Thursday with an overview of their current thoughts about future campus developments including our athletics facilities. Our administrative team is very pleased with the exciting vision that they are developing for the future of our campus.On Thursday afternoon, I had the opportunity to sit in on Dr. Jeremy Mhire’s Political Science 420 class titled “Contemporary Problems in Government.” The focus of the day was about public education and Dr. Mhire challenged the class to debate the question, “Is education a public good?” I sat and listened to our student teams make points and counter-points for almost two hours while Dr. Mhire injected challenging questions and probed for deeper understanding. This was an outstanding experience for me and it further solidified for me how great our students and faculty are. The College of Business hosted its inaugural Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Thursday evening, recognizing distinguished alumni James Davison and Glen Post. These two men have clearly made their marks on our region and the nation through their tremendous leadership as entrepreneurs and businessmen. The impacts of their efforts have been huge and North Louisiana has benefitted much from the growth of their enterprises. Both men have also contributed much to benefit the community and the institution. The Northwest Louisiana Tech Advancement Group hosted the annual “Tech and Tails” event in Bossier City on Friday evening. It was an overflowing event that filled the convention center with enthusiastic Louisiana Tech fans and supporters. Well-known media star Tim “Fletch” Fletcher did an outstanding job as emcee of the event. He did a Q&A panel with AD Tommy McClelland, Football Coach Skip Holtz, Basketball Coach Mike White, and Lady Techster Coach Tyler Summitt. With over 3,000 pounds of crawfish and ample servings of catfish and sides, the crowd got their fill of food and fun. After it was over, Kathy and I got to spend some time with special friends Phillip and Melanie Parker and their family. Phillip won the auction for a Terry Bradshaw/Phil Robertson signed photo and football. What a night! Tech alumnus Troy O’Laughlin stopped by this week and presented us with a $168,000 check from ExxonMobil Foundation representing a match to gifts made by ExxonMobil employees and retirees to Tech. Tech alumnus Steve Terrill presented us with a $200,000 check from the Contractors Educational Trust Fund to support our Construction Engineering Technology program. Both of this gifts will be most impactful in helping us to support our faculty and students in program development, and we are most grateful to our corporate partners and alumni for their support of Louisiana Tech.