From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice
Storms, stem cells and students
The Engineering and Science Foundation Board held its Spring meeting in Baton Rouge on Monday and invited me to be there to provide an update on University-related news. I was most pleased to join them early Monday morning at the Capitol Park Welcome Center. This Board has provided tremendous support and advice over the years and I deeply appreciate their commitment to engage in these meetings. After a full day of meetings, the Board hosted a reception and had about a dozen of our Louisiana representatives and senators stop by for a visit. This was a particularly important time for the Board to have the opportunity to re-emphasize to the legislators the importance of state support for higher education.Monday turned out to be quite a stormy and eventful day in Baton Rouge – and for me, too. Tornadoes were sighted in the area Monday morning, and the Board all had to convene in the men’s restroom. Later in the day, many of the legislators showed up at the reception and were soaking wet after walking over from the Capitol. Then, as I was departing the reception in the midst of lightening and rain, I tripped in a construction area and did a beautiful nose dive into a gravel driveway, causing a reconfiguration of my face, a loss of my glasses, and a bit of embarrassment. I headed on over to the hotel to patch myself up. Then after finally settling down for a night’s rest, we had a series of fire alarms and some nice Baton Rouge firemen stopped by for a visit at 4:00 AM. Needless to say, this got my week off to a great start! On Tuesday morning, I drove over to Lake Charles to have a luncheon with several Tech alumni and then proceeded on to Houston for more alumni meetings. We had a good turnout for the “Tech’s in Town” event in The Woodlands. This is one of the most rapidly growing areas of Houston with the development of the ExxonMobil campus and move of other corporate offices and businesses to the area. This event was particularly enjoyable for me as my two oldest sons, Chad and Kyle, were able to attend. AD Tommy McClelland and Bulldog basketball coach Mike White provided updates on athletics. This alumni event was like most of the others that we have held recently in that we had both recent graduates as well as long-time alumni in attendance. We even had a parent of a prospective student, and she seemed to be thrilled that her daughter would be coming to Tech this Fall. Wednesday morning, I made a visit with my friend and former student, Eric Johnson, at his IDS Engineering Group office. Eric is a very loyal Tech alumnus and frequently returns to Tech for alumni and athletics activities. I was pleased to get to meet some of his colleagues and learn more about the kinds of projects for which he has responsibility. Another former student of mine, David Ellett, recently went to work at IDS, and I was able to visit with him as well. After leaving Eric and David, I stopped by to visit another small group of alumni to learn about a biotechnology start-up company called Celltex Therapeutics. It was very interesting to see first-hand the latest in research and commercial application of stem cell therapeutics. This is going to be a major focus of disease treatment over the next few decades. Wednesday evening, we had a “Tech’s in Town” event in Katy, TX. Houston is so large, we like to have multiple events in different parts of the city to be able to reach out to more of our alumni who are in the area. The Katy event had a great attendance, too. I look forward to returning there soon. Thursday morning, I stopped by to visit with a couple of our alumni who are senior officers in major oil & gas companies in downtown Houston. After a long week on the road, I returned back to the office on Friday for meetings with my budget officer and others. I wrapped the day up giving a tour to an outstanding high school student from Monroe who is considering attending Louisiana Tech this fall. It was an enjoyable tour, and I ran into several students and faculty along the way. While passing through University Hall to see the Thingery, we passed by the baby grand piano and the prospective student stopped to play some beautiful music. Sounds like a perfect match for Louisiana Tech!