From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice

Easter eggs, innovation and budgets

Apr 10, 2015 | Weekly Update

Shell Game with Christopher

Playing a shell game with Christopher

Last weekend offered me an opportunity to get away to Jacksonville, Florida to visit my son Bret and his family. Bret’s wife Christy is nearing delivery of their twin girls, and Kathy has been over there for a while helping take care of our grandson Christopher. We enjoyed a special Easter weekend together and, as a father and grandfather, it was hard for me to leave them and return back to Ruston on Monday.
Innovation in Louisiana

Innovation in Louisiana

However, I quickly got back to it and headed down to Baton Rouge on Monday evening to chair a Tuesday morning meeting of the Board of Regents Master Plan Research Advisory Committee. This committee includes most of the research and technology transfer leaders from Louisiana’s higher education community as well as representatives from Louisiana Economic Development. We heard a presentation from Robert Scott and Camille Conaway of the Public Affairs Research Council (PAR) about a report they just released on Innovation in Louisiana. The report provides an overview of recent research & innovation activities throughout the State and makes some recommendations for the future. I was pleased to see some significant focus on “The Tech Advantage” and our cyber programs and partnerships in the report. The full report can be accessed here: Innovation in Louisiana.

House Appropriations Committee Meeting

On Wednesday, I headed over to the State Capitol to attend a meeting of the House Appropriations Committee most ably chaired by State Representative and Tech alumnus Jim Fannin. The committee’s focus for the day was on higher education and included presentations by the legislative budget analyst, the Commissioner of Higher Ed Joseph Rallo as well as Presidents of the UL, LSU, Southern and LCTC Systems. The higher ed officials responded to questions from the committee about how they would manage through an 82% budget reduction ($600M). While there are no good answers to those questions and all seem to be in agreement that cuts of that magnitude would be catastrophic, we remain confident that our leaders will find a way to avoid ANY further cuts to higher education. Further information and regular updates on the budget situation are provided on the ULS website.
Skip in Alexandria2

Skip Holtz speaking to Alexandria alumni

I remained in Baton Rouge on Thursday to take care of other business before heading to Alexandria for a “Tech’s in Town” event with alumni and friends. We had a great turnout and were pleased that the Chancellor of LSUA, Dan Howard, stopped by for part of the program. AD Tommy McClelland and Coach Skip Holtz were there to present updates to the attendees. Back in the office on Friday morning, I welcomed Mayor Ronny Walker and other local business leaders as we shared more about what our community has to offer to a prospective business. The rest of Friday was filled with conference calls regarding the higher education budget situation and meetings with prospective students and forestry industry representatives.