From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice
Global and local events fill our week
This week has been filled with significant local and global events that impact the university. We are all saddened by the tragic events that have unfolded in Paris and our hearts go out to all of those who have lost family or friends as well those who have been directly impacted by these senseless attacks. We think about the many Tech students and faculty who have visited Paris for study abroad over the years and are hoping that events such as this do not limit the willingness of and opportunity for our students to pursue international educational and cultural experiences in the future. This week began for me with some meetings with students, staff and alumni in my office. Later in the day, I went to Bossier City to connect with Craig Spohn of the Cyber Innovation Center for a meeting with the USAF Global Strike Command senior leadership. This was an important meeting in establishing more linkages between the Louisiana Tech Research Institute and the needs of Barksdale AFB. The mission of BAFB is increasing and the importance of Barksdale to global geopolitical challenges is also increasing.Tuesday morning, I drove to Baton Rouge for a meeting of the Committee of 100, an organization of industry and university leaders that is focused on improving economic development in the State of Louisiana. The focus of this meeting was on Louisiana’s budget crisis and fiscal reform. There were excellent presentations from the higher education system leaders discussing our plans for supporting the growth of educational opportunities and workforce for economic development. There were several presentations from a state legislator and state and national experts on tax and fiscal policies. I was pleased with the strong and consistent focus of the speakers on identifying paths for fiscal reform that can position the state for more stable funding and economic growth in the future. Wednesday was filled with meetings with AVP Sam Wallace to discuss facility maintenance needs, a couple of research center directors to discuss their plans and needs, AD Tommy McClelland to discuss opportunities for student athlete leadership development, a family who had raised scholarship funds in remembrance of their son, a prospective eminent scholar faculty member in the College of Business, and a national leader in civil engineering and construction who was on campus to speak with our students. Wednesday was capped off with the Miss Louisiana Tech pageant. Kathy and I always enjoy this event which never fails to pack out Howard Auditorium. This year, because of a leaking drain over the balcony and an imminent rain storm (see discussion with Sam Wallace above), we had to overflow the audience to the Tonk where they could see the pageant via live video feed. Rachel Vizza won the pageant and was crowned Miss Louisiana Tech 2016. I have had the pleasure to work with Rachel over the past couple of years and have been impressed with her leadership and her passion for Louisiana Tech. Congratulations, Rachel! On Thursday, I met with VP Terry McConathy and other leadership for our professional aviation program to discuss the growth and opportunities for the program as well as the need to begin to replace our fleet of aircraft. I also met with my Leadership Team to discuss requirements for our new library. The Student Technology Fee Board convened after lunch for a long meeting to review and recommend funding for a long list of proposals submitted by faculty and staff to enhance technology use across the campus. The students committed almost $1M for these projects this year and I was most impressed by their thoughtful deliberations. On Thursday and Friday, I had several more meetings with prospective students from Bossier, Texas and Arkansas. Early indications for next year’s freshmen class are looking positive. And on Friday evening, Kathy and I went to the TAC to watch the Dunkin’ Dogs beat Millsaps College for Coach Eric Konkol’s first win in what I know will be a long and successful career. Congratulations, Eric!