From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice
Dan Erickson: Bringing the World to Ruston
Dan Erickson is Director of International Students and Scholar Services Program. He has done an excellent job in recruiting and supporting international students who attend Louisiana Tech, and is a great ambassador for Louisiana Tech all around the globe! I asked Dan to provide some of his perspectives on the importance of our international students to the institution. Here is Dan’s story in his own words: Among the international students arriving this fall at Louisiana Tech University will be students from Iceland, Kyrgyzstan, and Cambodia. This will add three more countries to our total, giving us representatives from 71 nations. What causes students from 71 countries to travel around the world to North Louisiana to pursue higher education at Louisiana Tech University? Why not one of the other 4,800 U.S. colleges or universities? Why not one of the more than 17,000 universities in the world? Why pick Louisiana Tech? We have a great university! Students from everywhere realize we are not a regional college, but a national university with cutting edge programs and research. Although we try our best to get the word out about these great programs, our best tool is “word of mouth” from students who have already found something special here. Having students from around the world gives our American students an added perspective inside and outside the classroom. International graduate students add to our research capability. In addition, the annual economic impact of these students on Ruston and Louisiana Tech is estimated to be between 13 and 15 million dollars. Two-thirds of our students come from cities of over one million people. Many come from cities of five million to twenty million, and yet they are excited to get here to meet their new Louisiana Tech and Ruston community family. During my experience these last twenty-four years, Ruston has always been a welcoming community and has always had a committed group of teachers, staff, and community members interested in internationals and willing to go the extra mile to make them feel at home. Also, I cannot pass an opportunity to mention our returning international students who pick up new students and help them find apartments and adjust to a new place. As an example of this, last January eleven international students lost everything in an apartment fire. More than $8,000 was quickly donated by the Tech/Ruston community to assist these students in getting back on their feet. This week, parents from Nepal, Cameroon, China, Kazakhstan, India, France, Bolivia, and many other countries will be traveling to airports to put their 17 and 18 year old sons and daughters on planes to send them to Ruston, Louisiana. Through all their research, they have come to believe that this is a good place for their children to study, and yet they know they will be depending on “the kindness of strangers” to make sure their children are taken care of. Louisiana Tech and Ruston has had a history of being that kind of place.