From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice
Making ties, cutting nets and tying tassels
This week began for me by making ties with others from Bossier City to Monroe. After an early Monday morning planning meeting in Bossier City with our Cyber Innovation Center colleagues, I returned back to Ruston for a conference call with the University Foundation Executive Committee in order to make final plans for our Board meeting scheduled later in the week.I then headed over to the Monroe Convention Center Monday afternoon for a meeting with the Monroe, West Monroe and Lincoln/Ruston Chambers of Commerce, business leaders and northeast Louisiana legislative delegation. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the state budget gaps and potential impacts on higher education. I was pleased to hear that there was unanimous recognition that higher education should not experience further cuts. However, it was clear that there is a lot of work that must be done to achieve those goals. This one is going to take everyone working together while keeping a focus on placing higher education as the highest priority. On Tuesday morning, Ryan Richard and I headed over to east Texas to reconnect and strengthen ties with our alumni and friends at the “Tech’s in Town” luncheon in downtown Longview. I was thrilled to see Bud Frye and Don Martin from our 1958 Bulldog basketball team that, at the time, was recognized as our best team ever. Of course, our discussions also focused on the 2014-15 team that has set records that will long be remembered as well. I also enjoyed visiting with some former students of mine and other strong supporters of Louisiana Tech. Tuesday night, we made it in Dallas to visit with our DFW alumni at a “Tech’s in Town” event at Pappadeaux’s. Because of impending bad weather, we cancelled a Plano event on Wednesday night and invited those who had registered to attend the Dallas event. We had a great turnout and everyone really enjoyed the fellowship while getting updates on athletics from Tommy McClelland and Skip Holtz. On Wednesday morning, Ryan and I had a couple of small group meetings with Dallas area alumni at the wonderful venues of the Park City Club and Dallas Country Club, before heading back to Ruston ahead of the bad weather. I thoroughly enjoyed the special opportunity to visit with our Dallas alumni. Each meeting provides me with another perspective about what makes Louisiana Tech so special. Thursday was filled with meetings with my Vice Presidents and Deans as we were catching up on various planning activities in their respective divisions. Then, after a dinner with some alumni at our house, Kathy and I headed over to the TAC to watch the Bulldogs defeat long-time foe Southern Miss to claim the undisputed Conference USA Championship. Despite challenging weather conditions and quarter break conflicts, there was an excellent crowd on hand to watch the Dogs put on a show. This was one of those special nights at the TAC that will long be remembered. Our fans stayed on the floor celebrating as the team cut the nets down, and congratulating the team long after the game was over. Our three seniors, Kenneth “Speedy” Smith, Raheem Appleby and Mike Kyser, have set many records and have those special qualities that are most endearing to our fans. Friday was filled with important meetings with our University Foundation Board and our Research Foundation Board. Several key actions were taken to advance our partnership and fund-raising activities in the future. We are most grateful for our exceptional alumni who serve us in these important board member roles. On Saturday, I was pleased to welcome my 1976 classmate and loyal Tech alumnus Tim Petrus as our Winter Quarter commencement speaker. Tim currently serves as the President of the Engineering and Science Foundation Board, and has provided important leadership on that board. Among the 322 outstanding graduates who heard Tim’s powerful remarks was Speedy Smith, who had been on that same floor two nights earlier cutting the nets down after the championship game. What a week for Speedy, and what a week for Louisiana Tech University!