From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice
A Week of Thanks and Congrats
Happy Mothers Day to the many wonderful Louisiana Tech mothers – including the Mother of our three sons!
This week offered me a lot of opportunities to interact with faculty, staff, students and alumni both on campus and off. I was pleased to thank so many people who have been investing in our university over the past year, and particularly, for their extraordinary efforts over the past couple weeks in the tornado recovery.
Much of the rest of my time this week was focused on preparing for visits by FEMA and state government agencies in assessing campus damage. The primary focus has been to get solid preliminary damage assessment data that can be used in achieving a damage threshold that will enable the Governor to ask the President for declaration of a national disaster. That is crucial in getting resources necessary for full recovery. My administrative team did an excellent job in pulling information together, and I believe that the FEMA team left campus on Friday with some confidence that our data will be sufficient for the disaster declaration.
On Monday, I thoroughly enjoyed a BBQ luncheon with our faculty and staff. That luncheon also served as a time for us to recognize and thank those who are retiring. Later in the day, I was invited to join our freshman Tech Leadership Council class to talk about leadership. This is the largest TLC class that we have had, and many of these students are already engaged in significant leadership roles across campus. I appreciate Stacy Gilbert and others who organize this most impactful activity every year. Monday evening, Kathy and I enjoyed attending the Techspys in the TAC where student athletes and athletics teams were recognized for accomplishments over the past year. I was particularly pleased to present the Presidential Award to track & field’s Conner Killian and softball’s Morgan Turkoly.
On Tuesday, I was pleased to join a regional meeting of first responders on campus to thank them for their efforts in protecting and assisting us during the hours after the tornado tore through our campus. The coordination between these different agencies was excellent and enabled a safe and speedy restoration of activities.
After a couple of days of staff and student meetings, Kathy and I attended the SGA banquet on Thursday evening. Current president, Matt Flynn, and in-coming president, Abi Olsen, exchanged the gavel, installed officers and recognized others with awards for their service. This has been an outstanding group who played a pivotal role in helping us restore our campus with the “Bigger Event” they organized just two days after the tornado hit campus.
After the FEMA visit on Friday, Kathy and I attended the Tech and Tails event in Bossier City organized by the NWLA Tech Advancement Group. I was able to thank those in the audience who had given so generously to Tech over the year and, more particularly, during the disaster relief efforts.
Saturday morning, I had a couple of special friends come by my office to offer their support. ULS Board member and Vice Chair James Carter drove up to campus from New Orleans, and while he was on campus, I was able to introduce him to Karl Malone. Karl had brought a special gift to me for disaster relief. He and his family have been incredibly supportive of Tech and the Ruston community throughout this recovery process. I could not think of a better way to close out my week.