From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice
Bulldog Pride in San Antonio – part 2
I began this week with a meeting with a freshman student who came to the office to interview me about the importance of writing in the civil engineering profession, and how I have used written communications throughout my career. I like the emphasis that our faculty are placing on developing the communications skills of our students. You will see this emphasis increase significantly over the next couple of years as we roll out our Quality Enhancement Plan called “Blue Fire” which will require a communications class coupled with a First Year Experience class for all freshmen. We are confident that this will have a significant impact on the success of our students. On Tuesday, my leadership team and I heard a report from the architects who are designing our new student housing units including suites and apartments for freshmen, located very near to the core of the campus. I am very pleased with the design and am confident that this new housing will not only fill a crucial need for our students but will also significantly enhance the appearance of the campus. I headed over to Bossier City on Wednesday to meet with our colleagues at the Cyber Innovation Center and some representatives of Barksdale AFB. We are continuing to build our Louisiana Tech Research Institute in order to expand our research enterprise and provide stronger support to the development of North Louisiana’s economy. After some meetings in the office and a conference call related to my participation in an offsite accreditation review of a sister institution, Kathy and I headed over to Shreveport on Thursday to catch a flight to San Antonio. We left on Thursday so I could meet with some alumni in the San Antonio area and also visit with a very special elementary school teacher and her class on Friday. My first interactions with Lorena Sandoval Herrera were documented in my 2013 blog post entitled “Bulldog Pride in San Antonio.” This morning, Kathy and I met Mrs. Herrera’s class (every student was dressed in matching blue Tech t-shirts) and it was a most rewarding experience for us. The students in the class are from very difficult environments and circumstances, and I found them to be very respecful and engaged. Mrs. Herrera has used all aspects of Louisiana Tech to inspire the students to find their own success in life. Before I arrived today, she had told me that she was emphasizing the Tenets of Tech in her lessons. She gave me the opportunity to speak to the class today and I took the opportunity to ask them about the Tenets. Immediately, hands were raised across the room, and as I called on each student, they would name a Tenet and tell me what it meant. I had brought some Tenet medallions with me and passed them out to each of the students. They asked me questions about all of the symbols and words on the medallion. Then, I explained to them our tradition of freshmen convocation where students sign a parchment and deposit their medallions in the Lady of the Mist fountain as a symbol of their commitment to uphold the Tenets. Mrs. Herrera had a symbolic fountain (ie, a bucket) in her room, and I asked the students to to sign a parchment and deposit their medallions in the “fountain”. The students then returned to their desk, and Mrs. Herrera asked them to cite the “Bulldog Creed” that they developed as part of their class. This creed expresses their own view of what it means to be a Bulldog. Before I left, Mrs. Herrera asked the class to sing the Louisiana Tech Fight Song, which they did with enthusiasm that would have made Coach Holtz proud! After a few more “How ‘Bout Them Dawgs” yells from the class, Kathy and I left the class so they could get on about their daily work. But we came away from that classroom having learned in a very real way just how important a passionate 4th grade teacher can be in the lives of children who may not otherwise have many opportunities. Perhaps one day, a few of these students will find their way to Louisiana Tech, but regardless, I am pretty confident that these students will find a way to make a positive mark in the world.