From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice
Connecting and collaborating across the State
On Monday morning after a couple of meetings in the office, I traveled over to Bossier City to meet with our partners at the Cyber Innovation Center. We are continuing to work together to support education, R&D and high-tech company growth in Northwest Louisiana. Our partnership with the CIC is very special and we share a common mission and vision for enhancing the educational and economic opportunities for our citizens in the region. On Tuesday morning, I met with JoAnn Hood, Director of our AE Phillips Laboratory School, to discuss needs and plans for expansion of that facility. As in some other parts of campus, we are experiencing some growth pains and realizing some growth opportunities and are doing our best to evaluate all opportunities that can help us advance our strategic plans. I also held a meeting with AD Tommy McClelland, AVP Sam Wallace, and VP Jim King to discuss operations and management of the new multi-functional dining space in the south endzone facility. It is exciting to see the steel starting to be erected in that facility. Our fans should get to see some significant changes by our next home football game against Rice on November 29.Kathy and I were invited to attend a dinner at General Stephen Wilson’s home on Barksdale Air Force Base on Tuesday evening. It was a great venue and many distinguished community and military dignitaries were in attendance. I drove back to Bossier City on Wednesday morning to attend the Global Strike Challenge Symposium at the Bossier Civic Center. The Challenge and Symposium were originally started by General James Kowalski when he was Commander of Global Strike. General Kowalski, now Deputy Commander of US Strategic Command, returned to Bossier City for this event. Among the other speakers was Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah James, who made some very strong and positive remarks about the importance of GSC to the USAF, and to her commitment to make Barksdale a 4-star command. This would have a major positive impact on Barksdale and to all of us in the State of Louisiana. I returned back to Ruston in time to catch the School for the Performing Arts’ play entitled ‘Laundry & Bourbon/Lone Star’ at the Stone Theatre. Kathy and I enjoyed the play, particularly seeing the talented theatre students who were cast members in the play. We were also able to spend a few minutes with Director Cherrie Sciro prior to the performance. Thursday morning included meetings with my Communications Director Dave Guerin and another one with VP Jim King and some architects regarding new on-campus housing for students. Our master planning team gave us some excellent guidance that we are now taking to the next level as we assess the needs and economics of additional student housing. I am very pleased with the direction that this is heading and believe that the housing will be highly supportive of our goals for growth and first-year educational experiences.It is also a product of our campus-wide commitment to our strategic plan (Tech 2020) and to grow our enrollment to 15,000 by 2020. Later on Thursday, Dean Hisham Hegab and I drove over to Dow’s Angus chemical plant in Sterlington for lunch and to speak with the Louisiana Chemical Industry Alliance. I enjoyed reconnecting with several Tech alumni and sharing our vision for Louisiana Tech and how that vision impacts citizens across the region. After speaking to the group, I headed back to Ruston for a meeting with the Student Technology Fee Board to evaluate campus proposals for technology funding. The STFB has strong participation of our students, who made decisions for spending approximately $750k, funding approximately half of the thirty proposals that were received from across campus. These funds always play an important role in advancing our labs, classrooms and overall campus technology modernization. Kathy and I left late Thursday to head off to New Orleans for an EPSCoR Industry-Academia Workshop on Advanced Materials and Manufacturing. As Chair of the LA EPSCoR Committee, it is important that I participate in these events. It also helps Louisiana Tech as we continue to build our connections and collaborations with other institutions and industries across the state. Once we leave the Workshop later today, Kathy and I are driving over to Birmingham to watch the Bulldogs take on the UAB Blazers on Saturday morning. A win there will assure the Bulldogs a bowl berth. Go Dogs!