From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice
Ceremonies, smiles, tears, hugs & laughter: commencement week
This has been a week of celebrations, some with smiles, some with laughter, and some with tears. On Monday, we held a retirement reception for Reggie Hanchey, Coordinator of Programs, who is retiring after 40 years of service at Tech. He has served three of Tech’s presidents, including Dr. Taylor, Dr. Reneau and me, and he has ensured that so many of Tech’s programs, activities, and events have been done successfully and professionally. Reggie is a true gentleman, always smiling and positive, and always looking for opportunities to help out those in need. I had the honor of presenting Reggie with a Distinguished Service Award and Medal, only the 25th such award ever presented at Tech.Monday evening was the traditional President’s Midnight Breakfast where faculty and staff served our student body as they entered the final week of classes and exams. We had an excellent turnout of faculty, staff, coaches and students who spent some time eating, socializing and listening to Tech’s great Jazz Band led by Lawrence Gibbs. We all had a lot of fun and the students got extra energy to make the big push through the last few days of the quarter. On Tuesday morning, we had a ceremony in my conference room to recognize one of our former students, Daniel Terrell, who lost his life just a few credit hours short of his bachelor’s degree. We presented his sister with Daniel’s diploma posthumously. Several of Daniel’s family members as well as faculty and students from mechanical engineering were present. I had the honor of having Daniel in my class in the Fall of 2012 and had great respect for him and his tenacity for coming to Tech as an older student. We had a faculty and staff appreciation luncheon on Tuesday afternoon with over 500 showing up to enjoy BBQ, country music (well, maybe not everyone enjoyed that), and fellowship with colleagues from across campus. This was our first attempt at such an event, but everyone seemed to have a great time and appreciate the opportunity to visit informally before the end of the year. We are so fortunate to have a loyal and dedicated faculty and staff that truly serve as the heart of this institution. Late Tuesday afternoon, Will Dearmon invited me to attend the Leadership Louisiana Tech banquet, recognizing a group of student leaders who had been a part of this class. What a great experience! On Wednesday, I took some time to walk around campus and visit with various students, staff and faculty in their offices. Many of them were busy grading exams or finalizing grades, so I did not linger long. Thursday morning, I went to see the final projects of School of Music students in Dr. Randy Sorensen’s new multi-media productions class. This is a great interdisciplinary experience for our students giving them opportunities to design and mix digital media. I invited Lauren Vizza to the office on Thursday to present her with a certificate of appreciation for her representing Louisiana Tech across the state and nation as Miss Louisiana Tech and Miss Louisiana. She did an outstanding job as a student leader for us and we are proud of her successes. She is a Spring 2014 graduate. Friday was a full day beginning with a meeting with Dr. David Szymanski, Kurt Hester and Tommy McClelland to explore some exciting new possibilities for our kinesiology program. Later that morning, I headed out to Camp Alabama to see the great work done by our junior architecture students who designed and built a magnificent structure for Med Camps. This was a huge task for anyone to accomplish in just one quarter, but our students, under the watchful eyes of professors Robert Brooks and Brad Deal, completed the entire structure for the Larkin Gibbs Memorial Pavilion & Garden. This structure will be transformative for the experience of all who attend. The athletics department had an inaugural student-athlete stole ceremony celebrating those athletes who are graduating in the Spring. Commencement stoles were presented by each head coach to their student athletes. The Department of Speech had a pinning ceremony for Speech-Language Pathology graduates and a white coat ceremony for doctoral graduates in Audiology. The department also recognized numerous students and faculty for annual awards. This event was great as students and families packed GTM Auditorium. Late Friday, I attended an event in University Hall recognizing Honors Graduates. This was the largest group of Honors Graduates that we have ever had, and they are truly an outstanding class of students. Dr. Rick Simmons is to be commended for his tremendous passion and leadership for the Honors program that provides our students unparalleled educational experiences. With a week full of ceremonies and events, I am really looking forward to our Spring Commencement. This will be Tech’s largest graduating class ever, and the TAC should be full!