From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice
From storm to volleyball along the I-20 corridor
This week began with a big storm passing through the Tech campus. At the time, I was on the 16th floor of Wyly Tower in a meeting with several members of our Foundation’s Executive Committee and an external consultant discussing fund-raising. Things got very dark, the wind began blowing fiercely, debris began flying around, and then the power went out. I have been on the 16th floor through numerous thunderstorms, but this one was different. The storm passed to our east and spawned a tornado that caused significant damage in Monroe and at one of our sister ULS campuses at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. There was some minor damage on our campus, but we were fortunate to avoid more severe impacts. Quite a way to start the week! On Tuesday morning, I had the opportunity to speak to the Northwest Louisiana Manufacturing Managers Council in Shreveport. I provided updates on Louisiana Tech and talked about the university’s partnerships efforts. It was good to visit with these business leaders who have been so supportive of higher education and so committed to support our efforts at Louisiana Tech. During lunch on Tuesday, I had a meeting with members of our Emergency Response Team to conduct a review of the activities surrounding Monday’s thunderstorm. We have an excellent team who takes their work very seriously and who do their best to be prepared for different emergencies and threats. After lunch on Tuesday, I met with our Administrative and Planning Council. After covering our agenda, I was able to let the APC know of my intentions to announce a merit increase in pay to our faculty and staff that was enabled by the growth in enrollment of our student body. This will be the first raise for our faculty and staff since 2008, and I know that they are deserving of any rewards and recognitions that we can provide. I plan to make this a more regular occurrence in the future.I had several meetings with my administrative team and staff on Wednesday. I also went to Monroe for lunch to meet with several of our alumni including 94-year old loyal alumnus Landon Miles. On Wednesday evening, I went to Bossier City to meet with a group of community leaders from rural eastern Ohio who were visiting to learn more about the model of success developed by the Cyber Innovation Center and our strategies for growing the cyber corridor of North Louisiana. We were glad to meet with them and share our experiences. It seems like yesterday, but it was actually eight years ago when several of us were traveling to other places to learn lessons from other communities about building high-tech economies. It is gratifying to be able to provide our perspectives to others who may benefit from the lessons we have learned. It has truly been an amazing story of vision, commitment, teamwork and perseverance that has led to numerous successes and recently culminated with the addition of a major global corporation’s (CSC) integrated technology center. I was back in the office on Thursday and Friday preparing our WISE program implementation plans and having various meetings with faculty, staff and students. VP Terry McConathy and I made a visit to the College of Education to meet with Interim Dean Don Schillinger and his staff. The College of Education has done an outstanding job of building an entrepreneurial culture while continuing to find ways to enhance the educational experiences of our students. On the way back from our meeting, we stopped by to see the new bricks for the Class of 2013 that had been laid on Alumni Walkway. It was nice to visit with several of our students on the walk across campus.