From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice
Poinsettias make a splash in the Winter Quarter
It has been an exciting week as the students have arrived back on campus following Thanksgiving break and as we get the Winter Quarter kicked off. Early indications are that winter enrollments are going to be up significantly over last winter, as we expected. Monday was packed with meetings for me including a meeting with my communications director Dave Guerin, the former Director of Libraries Mike DiCarlo and Athletics Director Tommy McClelland. I also met with a prospective student and her family, and had a conference call with some financial folks who are helping us with our student housing project. I was also pleased to welcome our Lincoln Parish District Attorney, John Belton, who met with me and a couple of faculty about a potential mentoring program for at-risk students. On Tuesday morning, I met with a couple of our cyber industry partners from the Cyber Innovation Center and CenturyLink to discuss future projects. Later Tuesday, I joined CIC Director Craig Spohn for a meeting in Bossier City with Barksdale AFB officers to discuss potential projects that we have proposed through the new Louisiana Tech Research Institute (LTRI). LTRI will provide us with a means to respond more rapidly and flexibly to R&D, testing, technology transfer, training and other needs of our government and industry partners.Tuesday evening, I returned to Ruston in time to make it out to Squire Creek for the Annual Poinsettia Auction hosted by Agricultural Sciences. Squire Creek was full of beautiful plants as well as Tech family and friends. The highlight of the event was Dean Gary Kennedy who is a master auctioneer and one who is able to squeeze out the last dollar from the bidders (all for a good cause, of course). Everyone had a blast and there was a lot of money raised to support student scholarships. Special thanks to all of our alumni and friends for being so generous. On Wednesday, I had meetings with VP Jim King to discuss multiple student projects and staffing needs. Then I met with several of our administrators to discuss another construction project that is in the preliminary planning and development stages. After a few other meetings and catching up on some personal notes to prospective students and donors, Kathy and I headed over to the TAC to enjoy some Lady Techsters basketball. Thursday morning began with a meeting with SGA President Maggie Brakeville who came by to bring me up to date on plans for the Winter Quarter. I also met with VP Stan Napper and Dean Hisham Hegab to talk about the growth and opportunities in our cyber engineering programs and cyber security research. The highlight of Thursday to me was the President’s Christmas Gumbo Luncheon that Kathy and I hosted for our faculty and staff. We decided to do that this year instead of our traditional Christmas party/reception because we thought it would give us all more time to have fellowship with each other. Aramark prepared a great gumbo and one of our students, Brandon Parker, played some background music while we all enjoyed spending some time together. I deeply appreciate all of our faculty and staff who are dedicated to making Tech a great institution. After lunch, I had a couple of other meetings including one with our new VP for University Advancement Brooks Hull. Brooks formally joined us on November 16th and has hit the ground running while he develops major fundraising plans for us. Thursday evening, Kathy and I drove down to Baton Rouge for a statewide education meeting focused on “Closing the Gap” for the huge workforce demands that lie ahead for Louisiana.