Billy Belding stopped by to present me with a special Lettermen’s Club jacket
This week has been a very full week for me. It began with a visit from Dr. Jon Pokorski of Case Western University who was on campus to present as part of the New Frontiers in Biomedical Research lecture series organized by several of our faculty. Later Monday, I had meetings with VP Terry McConathy, VP Jim King and Asst. VP Sam Wallace to discuss various issues related to academics, student life and facilities. The better part of the day was spent with VP Corre Stegall, the University Foundation Executive Committee and consultants who have been advising us on ramping up our fund-raising and development activities. Given the uncertainties in state and federal funding as well as the unprecedented opportunities that we have to advance this institution to the next level, I believe that it is crucial for us to find ways to invest in the development of private and corporate giving. We will be carefully considering recommendations of the consultants over the next few weeks.
Skip Holtz and Kenneth Dixon speak to alumni at El Dorado Country Club
Tuesday began with a conference call with the Cyber Innovation Center leadership and other partners who are exploring new cyber partnerships. Later Tuesday morning, I welcomed the North Louisiana Parish School Superintendents to Tech for one of their quarterly meetings. Uncertainties in education funding and workforce pipeline development challenges were central topics of our discussions. After that meeting, I headed over to Monroe to meet with a couple of representatives of the Ouachita Parish Police Jury and others who are planning the development of property in the Calhoun area for business development. I was pleased to be invited as an advisor for this group. I made it back to Ruston just in time to meet with my senior administrators for our monthly Administrative and Planning Council meeting. From there, Kathy and I drove up to El Dorado for an alumni meeting – the first of our “Spring Road Tour” alumni events for the year. I was very pleased to have been joined by several of our admissions and development staff as well as AD Tommy McClelland and Coach Skip Holtz. Kenneth Dixon and Savanna Langston were also in attendance and were invited to share some of their experiences as student athletes at Louisiana Tech. Their comments resonated strongly with their hometown friends and several prospective students in attendance.
On Wednesday morning, I met with the architects for the South End Zone facility project to review the final color selections for exterior and interior materials. We have a great team that has spent a lot of time in thinking through these details, and I was pleased with their recommendations. This will be a beautiful facility with great graphic imagery coordinated with complementary finishes and furniture colors. I also met with our AFROTC Commander, Lt. Col. Devin Kudlas, and Region Commander Col. Jeff Staha who was here to review our program.
Recognizing 2015 Who’s Who class of exceptional student leaders
Later Wednesday, I had another series of meetings with students and staff, and had the pleasure of providing a prospective student and her parents with a campus tour. Wednesday evening, I was pleased to attend the Who’s Who Banquet where I was able to thank these outstanding students for their tremendous leadership and commitment to Louisiana Tech. I am very proud of these student leaders and know that they will continue to be leaders in their chosen professions.
On Thursday morning, VP Stan Napper and I met again with our Cyber Innovation Center colleagues to discuss various facilities, projects and related activities that we are working on together. At noon, I was most pleased to speak to the Monroe Chapter of the Louisiana Engineering Society who was holding its monthly meeting in University Hall. Many of those professionals were former students of mine or members of industry advisory boards when I was department head and dean, so it was great to have the opportunity to renew relationships with them. I also had a meeting with Tommy McClelland to get caught up on recent athletics issues and to plan for some future activities. Kathy and I hosted some friends for dinner Thursday evening and we asked them to join us as we went to the TAC to watch the Bulldogs defeat the Florida Atlantic University Owls.
Friday was filled with more meetings including a Conference USA board conference call to follow up on actions related to our recent board meeting in Boca Raton. I also participated in a University of Louisiana System presidents conference call to discuss budgets and legislative issues for the coming session. After lunch, I had a visit from Senator Rick Gallot who has been a great friend to Louisiana Tech, Grambling State and the Lincoln Parish community. Later Friday afternoon, I visited with AE Phillips principal Joanne Hood and her dean, Don Schillinger, to discuss proposed modifications to the laboratory school.
Happy Mardi Gras! Yes, for our alumni friends, we still give the students, faculty and staff a couple of days off at this time of the year to celebrate Mardi Gras. I’m going to take an extra nap and get ready for the rest of the Spring Road Tour that begins in a couple of weeks in Lafayette.