From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice

"My Louisiana Tech Story" by George Baldwin – 2015 Alumnus of the Year

Nov 9, 2015 | Guest Feature, Reflection

This past weekend was filled with so many great homecoming activities. One of the most memorable activities was the recognition of Tech’s distinguished alumni at the Alumni Awards Luncheon. The 2015 Alumnus of the Year was George Baldwin (BSPE ’78) who gave a wonderful acceptance speech that resonated so well with those in attendance. I asked George if he would share those remarks with me so I could share them with you. He graciously agreed. I believe that you will relate to George’s Tech story. Enjoy.
2015 Alumni Awards Luncheon, Davison Athletic Complex, Ruston, LA, Friday, 11-6-2015, (photo by Donny J Crowe), Copyright:Louisiana Tech University.All Rights Reserved.( 318-257-4854, (photo by Donny J Crowe)

George Baldwin: Alumnus of the Year

Good Afternoon everyone, and thank you Dr. Guice for that kind and generous introduction.  Jean and I admire and appreciate Kathy and you, and we are inspired by all you both do for this University.  It is a great honor for me just to share this podium with you. To my mother and mother-in-law and my sisters and brother-in-law; to Jean, our daughters, and our friends; to my business partner and friend, Greg Madden, and to all of my other work and business associates and friends…you have always been there for me, and it means the whole world to me that you are here for me today. To all of the other honorees…congratulations and thank you for all you have done for our University. You each have represented Louisiana Tech so well, and Tech is better, because of you.  Your success adds value to this place, and it adds value to my degree, so thank you for that.  And a quick shout-out to the College of Business honoree, Dut Leblanc.  My office is on the same floor as his accounting firm in Shreveport, so Dut is my hallway friend and occasional lunch buddy, and I recognize most of the faces at his tables.  I realize that they are technically here to see him, but it’s still really nice to see so many familiar faces.  I don’t know what it is they do on Dut’s side of the hall, but it sure must take a bunch of them to do it! To the administration, faculty, and staff…thank you for all you do for Louisiana Tech.  You could be anywhere, yet you choose to be here, even when it’s not easy.  You love learning, you believe in the power of education, and you reach down for the hand of anyone longing to learn and lift them to a higher place.  You inspire and celebrate the success of Louisiana Tech Alumni all over the world, and you are part of every achievement. And to the Louisiana Tech Alumni Association…from the bottom of my heart, thank you for this honor.  I am astonished, overwhelmed, humbled, and deeply grateful, and I will cherish this award and this moment forever.  I truly don’t understand what I did to merit this recognition, but I promise to keep doing it as long as I can. As I was preparing my remarks for today, one of my daughters suggested that I share some memories of my college days.  “Dad, tell us your Louisiana Tech story!”  And so with that, in some moments of quiet reflection…I let my mind go back. I went back to the Fall of ’73, when my guidance counselor said, “You’re pretty good in math and science…you should go to Tech and be an engineer.” Back to the Spring of my Senior Year when Dr. Robert Caruthers came to Southwood High in Shreveport to tell us about Petroleum Engineering, and then he offered me a $300 scholarship to try it. Back to the Fall of ’74, leaving home for college, loading up that old hand-me-down Volkswagen Beetle, and driving away with Mom and Dad in the rearview mirror…and knowing they were happy, and sad…and proud! I went back to my first dorm room in Hutcheson; first roommate, Jimmy Potts; first time to live anywhere but home. Back to the spot under a tree in front of the bookstore, where I just happened to bump into my high school friend, Jean.  If we had the time and it wasn’t raining, we could all go there and I could show you. Freshman year, first class, Dr. Henry’s Engineering Drafting, Bogard Hall, 8:00, every day.  I still print like he taught me, and I still have that old T-square…and I guess I always will. George T. Madison Hall for Calculus 230, then 231, then 231…again! Back to weekends at home…happy to see my parents and sisters, free laundry, working at Burger King for spending money.  Rushing back Sunday afternoon…had to get there by 6:00 for supper at Wilson. Back to my first date with Jean: the free Sunday night movie at Howard Auditorium.  We had a great time, but to avoid a potentially awkward goodnight moment, I only walked her half the way back to her dorm.  I just left her on the sidewalk at the corner of Adams and Dudley Circle.  She was baffled, but intrigued. I went back to Geology, Reservoir Engineering, Thermo, and more Calculus and Differential Equations, and I’ve got to be honest, I still don’t know what that was all about!  Mud Lab, PVT Lab, Natural Gas Lab, lab reports, and more lab reports.  Engineering Mechanics and Dr. Middleton, who finished every example asking, “Do you follow what I say, is there anybody that doesn’t?” Fortran and punch cards and one little mistake meant giving it back so the computer center could run it again and return it the next day. Back to my friend David and I getting ourselves ejected from Physics class for laughing too hard at how low we scored on the first test. Jean and I foraging for Coke bottles that we could return for the deposit to get money for late-night snacks at Griff’s. David and I studying all night, working out Reservoir Engineering problems on the blackboards in the Old English Building. I went back to racquetball at the Dog Trot, tennis where Neilson Commons is today, intramural sports, Wesley Foundation and Joyful Noise, Bulldog Football, and Jean in the Flag Corps, Jean in the Regal Blues, Jean dancing in “Westside Story” and “Music Man,” and Jean in the Miss Tech Pageant. Back to pinball at Pisa Pizza, way too much of it, and I sure do wish I had all those quarters back.  Properly invested, I could probably retire or maybe go to Italy. David and I playing guitars in the stair well…even now when I hear “Norwegian Wood” or anything by Cat Stevens, I still think of him. Summer jobs in the oil business, interviews in the placement office, eleven offers, and accepting my first job in the oil business. Back to Dr. Caruthers and Ray Storms and all they did for us in Petroleum Engineering, and to so many other amazing professors and instructors and how committed they all were to ensuring that we were well-prepared to leave here as Louisiana Tech Engineers. And then, I went back to March of 1978…my last class, my last final, moving out of old Neilson Dorm, graduation.  All too soon, it was over.  I was happy, and sad, and so very proud… proud that for the rest of my life I would be a graduate of Louisiana Tech University. In closing, I know that each of you has your own Louisiana Tech story.  Thank you for listening to mine, and I hope this helps you recall the best of your Louisiana Tech memories and be glad.  Each of our stories is different, and yet they’re all the same.  And all of them together become one great story…a story of youth, of energy, of aspirations and unlimited potential, of determination, of achievement and success…and of hope. Thank you again, Alumni Association, thank you all for listening, and thank you Louisiana Tech University! George A. Baldwin, Jr. Ruston, Louisiana November 6, 2015