From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice
Banquets, Bouquets and Buildings – Going full circle
It was good to get back in the office this week after the Christmas holidays. Monday’s calendar was pretty open so I could do some catch-up and planning for the next few weeks. Ryan Richard and I are mapping out a number of meetings and activities to enable us to get out and connect with our alumni and friends all across the region. The Alumni Association’s Spring Road Tour is part of that, and we expect to expand the number of cities and communities that we visit. I also had a nice visit on Monday with Kelsey Kershaw, Feature Editor of the Tech Talk, and was pleased to learn that Kelsey has already received a great job opportunity in New York upon graduation. We had a visit of several CenturyLink executives on Tuesday, to share more information about our business and engineering programs. CenturyLink has been one of our strongest corporate partners over the years and they have contributed much to helping us shape out our academic programs. We are always interested in learning how we may more effectively support our business partners and that requires frequent interactions that helps us understand their greatest needs. There are few weeks that go by when we do not have such interactions with the private sector.On Wednesday, I had another visit from one of our freshman students, Haley Dishman, who came to Tech from New Iberia. I had first met her at a ball game and invited her to come by the office. She is majoring in mechanical engineering and is an honors student. In addition to her highly demanding academic schedule, Haley earned a seat in the symphonic band playing the French horn. The 2015 Miss Louisiana Tech University pageant was held on Thursday night and Howard Auditorium was packed with students, staff, parents and alumni. I admire the tremendous character, poise and talent of all of the contestants, and recognize what an important part of student development this offers to those who participate. I have been able to get to know several of the contestants and was pleased to see them be recognized during the competition. Talented Eva Edinger was named Miss Louisiana Tech 2015. Eva’s mother, Joan Marie, also walked across the stage that night being recognized for her title of Miss Louisiana Tech 1975. Kathy and I were so happy for both of them, and we both reflected upon our time as juniors at Tech 40 years ago when Joan Marie won her title. As a side note, Joan Marie sang at our wedding in El Dorado in 1975 after she had won the title. There’s something about the phrase of “going full circle” that resonated with me that night. On Friday evening, Kathy and I attended the 2014 Football Awards Banquet where I was honored to present the Academic Achievement Award to Xavier Woods and Michael Mims, both student-athletes with a 3.8+ GPA. Xavier also won several of the major athletic performance awards at the banquet, and is only a sophomore. Kelsey, Haley, Eva, Xavier and Michael are just a few of our terrific students representing what I believe to be the best student body ever at Tech. I was very pleased to have a couple of meetings this week with the architects and engineers for our new Integrated Engineering and Science Education building. Funding for this building was approved in the 2014 capital outlay bill and the architects were selected by the state selection board in December. The 110,000 sf building will be one of the most significant structures on our campus both in prominence and impact, and we challenged the architects to create something special. It was a special moment for me as we sat around the conference table with the architects and engineers and as I reflected back on the time when most of these professionals were sitting in my classes as architecture and engineering students – another “going full circle” moment. I know that these professionals have much more than just a business interest in this project and am confident that they will do an excellent job. The rest of my week was packed with meetings with my staff, conference calls, and visits with alumni. I had a special treat when alumnus and former SGA President Will Dearmon stopped by for a visit and to give me updates on his graduate studies at the Texas A&M Bush School of Government and Public Service. Will is continuing to demonstrate his remarkable leadership talents as student government president for the Bush School.