From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice
Back in the saddle for 2016
It was good to get back in the saddle again this week after a few days off during the Christmas Holidays. I had kept my Monday calendar pretty open so I could meet with my administrative team. I met early Monday with Assistant VP Sam Wallace who is managing numerous major construction and repair projects on campus. Every facility and major purchasing issue shows up on Sam Wallace’s desk and he does a great job of finding ways to resolve the issues. We will be seeing numerous campus improvement projects take shape this year. One small but important project is a re-greening effort that will place more trees around campus, particularly along certain roadways. The first phase includes some trees along Adams Blvd, Keeny Circle and Dan Reneau Drive (in front of Bogard and Nethken). We are also planting trees along West Alabama in front of the Davison Athletics Complex and will plant a few more along Wisteria Street. Other trees will be planted in the near future. If anyone would like to help us accelerate this beautification project, we welcome your gifts through the University Foundation. On Tuesday, we hosted a meeting of business, community, academic and government leaders at the Davison Athletics Complex to participate in a Committee of 100 for Economic Development fiscal strategy briefing organized by C100 CEO Michael Olivier. State Representative Julie Stokes was the featured speaker and she presented an overview of the challenges that the state is facing with its budget. There is a $750M deficit in the current year and approximately $1.9B to contend with in next year’s budget that must be resolved. Rep. Stokes gave an excellent perspective on the tax and spending issues that have resulted in the structural challenges that the legislature and administration will tackle in a special session. We were pleased to host this session so that people in our area could be more informed about the challenges and provide opportunities for our people to be engaged in the dialogue. Thanks to all who came. On Wednesday, I headed over to Bossier City to meet with Craig Spohn to discuss our plans for the Louisiana Tech Research Institute. He and I will be visiting several government officials soon when we make a trip to Washington, DC. We have numerous projects and partnerships that we are pursuing to advance research, economic development and prosperity for our region. Throughout the week, I had numerous meetings with my Leadership Team, faculty and students. One of my most enjoyable meetings was with political science student Tiffany Easter who had recently returned from an internship experience with the US Embassy in Moscow. Tiffany is a very good student who is active in numerous student organizations. Last Fall, she had the opportunity to go to Moscow and work with the Ambassador and his staff. This was a wonderful educational experience for her and I appreciate the efforts of Dr. Amanda Sanford and other administrators in the College of Liberal Arts who made it possible for her to participate. This week, we were also pleased that new I-20 signs for Louisiana Tech University Exit 84 were installed with the Louisiana Tech logo. To my understanding, these are the only interstate exit signs in the state with an institutional logo. I appreciate the assistance of alumnus Phillip Parker who helped us get the appropriate specs and coordinate the construction and installation with LA DOTD. This is one of the steps that we are taking to increase our visibility along the I-20 corridor. More will be coming.