Thursday, December 12, 2013

Progress and Christmas Blessings

It's a busy campus now. Students are plowing through final exams, papers, and projects. Professors are rushing to complete grading so that our seniors can walk across the Belcher stage and graduate Saturday morning. Our university leadership team is busy trying to complete planning for several different initiatives to be implemented in the coming year.

Dean Kimberly Quiett and Linda Musser have been busy with submitting our new program paperwork to the Texas Board of Nursing (that's 800 pages of paperwork!) Dan Fiedler and a host of others are quite busy as the Allen Student Center construction nears completion, with 60,000 square feet of floor space and more than 27 miles of IT wiring! (See a sneak peek video of the Allen Center) The men's and women's basketball teams are moving quickly through their schedules (and playing well). Just observing all these moving parts makes my head spin.

That's why I needed last night. Marsha and I are blessed with a four-year-old granddaughter, Linley. She really enjoys playing with her own nativity set, and so I spent an hour on the floor with her as she taught me the Christmas story anew. 

There were actors and plots that Linley has added to the story. Somehow Elmo and Big Bird are present at the manger for the blessed birth. Several Disney Princesses join the Wise Men from afar to bring gifts. Great fun! 

A four-year-old can add unique twists to the Christmas story, but she can also remind you of the joyous truth: a baby came to us, and now it is our time to come to the baby - with praise, adoration, wonder, and gifts. We can make it so complicated but it really is all about that baby.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Celebrating Leadership

Dr. Dale Lunsford with Ben LeTourneau, R.G. LeTourneau's son
Leadership has been on my mind this week.

Monday we marked the 125th anniversary of the birth of our founder with a special chapel and grave site ceremony. This week we also learned of the passing of Hazel Hickey, a dear friend to LeTourneau University and a leader in our community. Today, I had the privilege of giving the keynote message at the Emerging Leaders Award ceremony in Longview where "under age 40" emerging leaders were recognized.

Leadership comes in all generations and genders.

RG LeTourneau led with a passion for progress, a loud, booming voice and commanding presence. Hazel Hickey was considerate and soft-spoken but consistently effective in settings most often dominated by men in leadership roles. The three emerging leaders recognized today (Kristen Ishihara, Melanie Northcutt Crocker and Stephanie Wolford) are each unique but all influential in their spheres of influence. You can read more about them in the Longview News-Journal.

A 125th birthday website has been created to honor our founder on his 125th birthday. You can see Monday's chapel and also a number of short videos that have been produced to honor Mr. LeTourneau's legacy in technology and in ministry. On the website, you can see a video about LETU alumnus Bob Walker who is living out the LeTourneau legacy every day in his Walker Manufacturing in Fort Collins, Colo.

Fred Smith wrote about the importance of having heroes. "We cannot fully live without heroes.  A society writes its diary by naming its heroes. We individuals do the same." 

Both RG LeTourneau and Hazel Hickey are heroes of mine.  They lived full lives, made themselves available for leadership and honored God in the difference they made. They might have been very different in personality but they were alike in persistence. As we are taught in Philippians 3, "pressing on toward the goal" is a characteristic all leaders share.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Materials Joining Professor Wins Award for Teaching

It was a joy to be in Chicago this week at North America's largest gathering of the welding industry known as the Fabtech conference. 

Our materials joining engineering students were there to present research and man a LeTourneau University booth. Dean DeLap and Dr. Adonyi presented updates to 80 LETU alumni who gathered at dinner in the McCormick Center. 

One of the surprises of the day was an honor to one of our own faculty members - Robert W. Warke, associate professor of engineering and engineering technology. Warke was awarded the 2013 Adams Memorial Membership Award. 

Sponsored by the American Welding Society, the Adams Memorial Membership Award recognizes educators for outstanding teaching activities in their undergraduate and postgraduate engineering institutions. 

Warke has conducted research and taught materials engineering, welding metallurgy and design of structural welding at LETU since 2003. Previously, he worked 17 years in the welding industry, consulting and performing applied research and development. A licensed professional engineer in the state of Texas, Warke earned his bachelor's degree in welding engineering in 1986 from LETU and his master's in metallurgical and materials engineering from Illinois State of Technology in 1994. 

According to the AWS website, the AWS Awards are designed to recognize men and women in the industrial, education and research communities who have made distinctive contributions to advance the science, technology and application of welding and allied processes, including joining, brazing and soldering, cutting and thermal spraying. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Creating a Better Longview

I enjoy reminding our community that we are "Longview's university." Every great city has a great university and in a multitude of ways, LETU contributes to the quality of life in Longview.

An example is our sponsorship of the Chamber of Commerce's "Intercity Visit" program. For two years now, it is has been my pleasure to lead a delegation of citizens from Longview to visit and learn best practices of civic progress from another city.

Dr. Lunsford tours Ft. Collins, Colo. with group from Longview Chamber

A year ago, the delegation visited Chattanooga, Tenn. This fall, we visited Ft. Collins, Colo.

The Fort Collins community has redeveloped its downtown into a vibrant business district. The city and the local university (Colorado State) work together. Ft. Collins is a place that has emphasized quality of life as a tool to creating jobs and developing economically.

This week, I chaired an early morning meeting with the delegation to identify what we saw in Ft. Collins that might be useful to the future of Longview. Several good ideas are emerging.

We've assembled a talented group of people on our campus. We all have something to contribute to making a bright future for Longview. God has put us here for this time and place. For me, it feels like a responsibility: to give what I can so that I can someday say I left Longview a little better than I found it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Board of Trustees Visits LETU Campus

Today, members of our LETU Board of Trustees are on campus, having traveled from all over the country to our semi-annual board meeting. During this meeting, we will welcome four new trustees onto the board, and say goodbye to three who are completing their terms.

The four new trustees include Bill Anderson, David Dykes, Paul Montgomery and Doug Roszhart:

Bill Anderson of Colorado Springs, Colo., is an LETU alumnus who works as a leadership consultant and is the former CEO of Christian Booksellers Association. Anderson is returning to the board after his previous term serving as a trustee from 2007 to 2011.
David Dykes of Tyler, Texas, is the pastor of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, one of the leading churches in America in missions and evangelism.  Dykes had been pastor to Marsha and me since 1999.
Paul Montgomery of southeastern Pennsylvania is a financial market analyst who has served on our board before and led the management of our university endowment. He currently is director of portfolio research at an investment advisory firm he owns with his son.
Doug Roszhart of Greenville, Texas is an engineer with L-3 Communications who earned his engineering degree at LETU in 1981. He will serve as the new alumni representative on the board. He chairs the university's alumni council and has recruited numerous LETU engineers.

During this board meeting, business items will include approving the list of our December graduates, along with faculty promotions and tenure. The board also will approve the final version of the 2013-2014 fiscal year budget. New board officers will be elected to new one-year terms.

Also at this meeting, we will express our great appreciation as we say goodbye to three trustees who are completing their terms on the board, including Joe Nowiczewski of Houston; Wayne Trull of Arkansas; and Jim Mauldin of Longview. We are deeply grateful for their faithful service and the love they have for LeTourneau University.

Friday, November 1, 2013

LETU Partners with American Eagle Airlines

Usually when we talk "pipelines" in Texas, we are talking oil and gas. This week we are celebrating another type of pipeline:  a partnership between LETU and American Eagle Airlines. Congratulations to LETU Aeronautical Science dean Fred Ritchey, Chair of Flight Science Department Lauren Bitikofer and the LETU aviation faculty for the great work in establishing the pilot pipeline agreement with American Eagle Airlines! 

This new agreement we signed Monday at the Abbott Center opens a pathway for LETU flight graduates to transition seamlessly into careers as first officers with American Eagle Airlines.

American Eagle Airlines Captain Richard King, who signed the agreement with me, stated that some of their best and brightest pilots have come from LeTourneau University. We know we have an excellent program, and it is always encouraging to hear corporate America agree. 

King said American Eagle Airlines needs to hire about 50 new pilots each month. The agreement is a win-win-win for LETU, for AEA and for our students. 

This new program also provides an incentive for our flight graduates to remain at the university as certified flight instructors while gaining more flight experience and amassing the required flight hours in the cockpit.

Students will have to meet specific criteria for consideration.

Once the candidate is placed in a flight school, like LETU, as a certified flight instructor, AEA will enter into an employment agreement with the pipeline instructor to be an employee of American Eagle Airlines, eligible for health benefits and travel privileges. And if hired by American Eagle Airlines as a First Officer, the individual will remain in that position for two years from the start of First Officer training. 

Pipeline Instructors who enter into First Officer training and sign a two-year letter of commitment will receive a $10,000 scholarship, or signing bonus, from American Eagle.
This pipeline is another great reason to study aviation at LETU. Tell your friends and share this news-let's grow the enrollment of LETU's flight program.

Friday, October 25, 2013

LETU GraduateAwarded TDFE Student Teacher of the Year Award

Congratulations to LeTourneau University's School of Education! You've done it again! 

Cristian Driver and his proud LETU supervisor
Dr. Julie Teel-Borders
One of our recent students, Cristian Driver, was named the 2013 Student Teacher of the Year by the Texas Directors of Field Experiences this week in San Antonio.

Driver is the fourth student teacher of the year who has graduated from LETU's teacher preparation program since 1997 to win this distinction. Others included Matthew Bradley in 2010, Breanna Sellers Hurd in 2002 and Karen Bennett in 1997. LETU grad Nikita Mumphrey was also named intern of the year in 2010 by Texas Alternative Certification Association. This success is indicative of the excellent program our university provides to those whose calling is to teach the next generation. 

Driver, who graduated in May
with his bachelor's degree in mathematics education, is certified to teach grades 8-12 math.  He is now employed teaching algebra at Manvel High School in the Alvin Independent School District near Houston, where he also coaches track and basketball. And while he was at LETU, you might remember that he played basketball for the YellowJackets. 

Cristian is a great example of a student who sees his life's work as a holy calling. And because he teaches with excellence, others have noticed.

His supervisor, Dr. Julie Teel-Borders, said during Cristian's student teaching experience, she heard that several of his ninth grade students talked about how much they learned from him because he could explain it to them in a way they could understand. 

Great teachers, like those we have here at LETU and those we are preparing to teach in schools across the globe, make an impact on students for years to come. 

Teaching with excellence, compassion and integrity, Driver is a shining example of the kind of professional we seek to produce here at LeTourneau University.

Friday, October 18, 2013

LETU Alumni Make an Eternal Impact

At LeTourneau University, our graduates are professionals of ingenuity and Christlike character who see life's work as a holy calling with eternal impact.

This past week, two of our LETU alumni were in the national spotlight for pursing their holy calling and making just such an impact.

Charles "Shroud" Wesley and his wife, Alexis, are the first husband and wife in the country to donate kidneys, according to the National Kidney Registry, a nonprofit that connects patients who are compatible through exchanges.  Their donation set in motion a series of transplants across the country saving the lives of 10 people they have never met.

Why would they do that?  Gratitude. They have been the recipients of the generosity of others, which prompted them to look for this way to share their faith and bless others.  You see, they have two small children, Leila and Roland, who have a rare joint disorder and have needed and received free medical surgeries to help them be able to walk.  Giving a kidney was their way to "give back" to others, even strangers. 

Alexis, who gave her kidney in surgery last Monday said she saw saving your kidney for a rainy day was like having a fire extinguisher while watching your neighbor's house burn down.  Charles donated his kidney to a stranger last April 2012. 

"You give up maybe three or four weeks of your life in terms of having to go through recovery but you can extend someone else's life by 10 or 15 years. I really wanted to be the person that was willing to do that," said Charles.

Their story was covered nationally on Fox News and appeared on their San Diego local news station, and in their local newspaper.

Another alumnus was featured this last week on The Kelly Files on the Fox Network for making an impact by filing a lawsuit against a Texas judge for failing to protect a 15-year-old girl in Caldwell, Texas, from a registered sex offender who was the live-in boyfriend of the girl's guardian.

Stephen Casey is co-founder of Texas Center for Defense of Life which filed the lawsuit against the Texas judge, who sent her back into the home knowing the sex offender lived there.  Later, the man tied up and raped the girl and shot and killed her guardian in front of her, according to the lawsuit. 

You can watch that interview with Megyn Kelly. For more in depth information on the details of the case, you can read the WND story.

Casey co-founded the TCDL whose mission is to aggressively defend the sanctity of human life.  The organization provides pro-bono legal services to pro-life organizations and individuals throughout Texas. 

In February, Casey was also featured in national news on another case involving protecting a 16-year-old girl in Houston whose parents were coercing her to have an abortion.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Update on the I-20 Corridor

While it doesn't look much different yet, changes along Longview's I-20 corridor are coming. I was privileged to chair the citizen taskforce, appointed by Longview Mayor Jay Dean, to consider the potential of our I-20 corridor and present a set of observations and recommendations to the city council three months ago.

A healthy conversation is underway about the task force recommendations for redeveloping our neighborhoods for Longview's future. While the wheels of progress turn slowly, we need to realize three months is really just a very short time. We didn't get into this situation overnight, and we won't get out of the situation overnight.

However, I see tremendous signs of progress, with new restaurants opening near I-20 and Eastman Road, including Denny's and a new Cracker Barrel. Other new businesses are near the final stages of planning, including a new conference center and hotel project in this corridor. But these kinds of projects take negotiation, planning and financing, which takes time.

More than 46,000 vehicles pass by Longview on the interstate each day. Over 52,000 employees work nearby the I-20 corridor. Investments by private developers show us the value of our city's position along the interstate and should encourage us to see the potential.

The pending demolition of the abandoned hotel and gasoline station at I-20 and Estes Parkway will remove an ugly eyesore from the front door of our entire city. The task force labeled it as a roadblock to redevelopment and made it a priority as our first recommendation.

Longview leaders responded quickly, and LEDCO, under the leadership of Keith Honey, voted to acquire the property and make it ready for future development. The City of Longview led by Mayor Dean is also ready to participate. No bull dozers are rolling yet, but the required approvals, contracts, and funding decisions are moving very quickly behind the scenes. New restaurants, hotels, city conference centers and the removal of abandoned buildings - all in the last three months. Good things are beginning to happen.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fall Enrollment & Thoughts on Hard Times

This fall's enrollment results remind me that the middle class American families we serve are continuing to struggle in this difficult economy.  It is increasingly difficult for many to afford an LETU education in hard times like these.

Our founder, R.G. LeTourneau, knew hard times.  He lived through the San Francisco earthquake, two world wars and the Great Depression.  He knew business success and bankruptcy.

His life's example provides a lot of "best practices" that we can glean for our own lives today, such as how he dealt with unfair situations with integrity and how those situations opened doors for ingenuity.

He looked at failure as opportunity in work clothes, and always turned his disappointments into ways to grow both spiritually and professionally.

He didn't let people tell him that something couldn't be done since it hadn't yet been done, but instead he worked to design new solutions to problems, such as new equipment that no one had ever seen before.

And as a man many called "God's businessman," he pioneered the idea that your mission field can be wherever you are, making him one of the pioneers of faith and work integration.

My guest editorial titled "Good Thoughts for Hard Times from R.G. LeTourneau" appears this week in the Christian Post. You can read it in its entirety here.

We should take courage and recognize that difficult times like the economy we are currently living in can give us exceptional opportunity for ingenuity, just like our founder did in his day.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Texas Tomcats win DFW Flugtag

"Flugtag" in German is "flying day," and the Red Bull beverage company has made Flugtag a major event in the U.S. Last weekend, in five cities coast to coast, hundreds of teams competed with homemade flying machines to the cheers of thousands of spectators and in front of all national news organizations.

Are you surprised that a team made up entirely of LETU students won the Dallas Flugtag?  I'm not. 

The competition rules required each team of five members to design and build their own human-powered, homemade aircraft that they pushed off a 30-foot "flight deck" into a lake while one of their team members flew the aircraft for as far a distance as they could go. 

Team members included team captain Nathan O'Quinn, pilot Rachael Moffatt, Sheldon Bacher, Tim Powell, Gregg Williams and Quintin Socha.

Calling themselves the "Texas Tomcats," these students spent several months as they designing and building their aircraft to fit into the competition's design specifications: wingspan of less than 28 feet, height of less than 10 feet and weight less than 400 pounds, counting the pilot.

Originality, personality, showmanship and creative expression were all listed as part of their application process, but on the day of the competition, flight distance ruled.

The Texas Tomcats flew their mock F-14 a whopping 72 feet at the Dallas competition at Lake Carolyn in Las Colinas in front of over 90,000 spectators. And yes, the pilot was another one of our outstanding female aviation majors. (You can watch the video of their flight at competition here.)

That's right:  over 90,000 spectators attended the Dallas event.  In addition, CNN, ABC, ESPN and all national news organizations aired coverage of the fun.

Congratulations to these LETU students for achieving such great results from all their hard work. We know that an LETU education is all about excellence and ingenuity and this fun event was a powerful way for our students to show the world something of who they are.

You can see more information about the team and the video of their flight on the RedBull Flugtag website.  The nationwide competition made national news on CNN  and was featured on Good Morning America.  

Friday, September 20, 2013

Longview Blitz

Saturday's Longview Blitz showed the surrounding area the hearts of our students and staff as they put feet to their faith in service of the community.

Hundreds of LETU students were on hand weeding, trimming and spreading mulch at the Kidsview playground at Lear Park. Others were organizing and cleaning at Newgate Mission. More were cleaning and chopping vegetables or scrubbing floors at Hiway 80 Rescue Mission. All of these were among several places they served on Saturday morning.

This service to our community leaves a lasting impression on the hearts of our students. They see that service is part of our Christian faith. But it also serves as an example to the community. I am thankful for the leadership of our university chaplain Harold Carl and the student floor chaplains in the residence halls who helped organize this annual event. 

Some of the students who worked that day were quoted in the Longview News-Journal that they enjoyed the day and felt blessed to serve. The time they volunteered helped them build a rapport with the community and build stronger relationships with each other.

I understand that feeling, as I have been blessed to serve this past year on the mayor's I-20 Task Force. Our goal has been to identify methods to draw more visitors into Longview from the interstate that passes through the south side of the city and identify ways to expand economic growth.

Beautification efforts into Longview's entrance along Estes Parkway and Mobberly will help improve the city's curb appeal to potential investors and will improve the impression that visitors into our city have about the quality of life in Longview. Service to our community demonstrates our heart to love our neighbor and, in doing so, we honor God and point our neighbors to Him.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Rising in the Rankings

This week, LeTourneau University got some good news when the annual U.S. News and World Report rankings of "America's Best Colleges" were released and LETU was again ranked as a top-tier school. The U.S. News rankings are released each fall and are considered the most notable of the annual published college rankings.

I am pleased to share that LeTourneau University moved up in the 2014 rankings to 27th place from 36th place in last year's 2013 rankings among our category of "Best Regional Universities in the Western Region, which includes master's comprehensive universities in 14 western states. Those states include Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, California and Alaska. Our ranking placed us 5th among schools in the state of Texas, and above all state universities in Texas in our category. Again this year, Trinity University in San Antonio was ranked #1 in our peer group. Out on the west coast, CCCU members Whitworth was #9 and Seattle Pacific University was #14.

This year marks two full decades that LETU has ranked in the magazine's top tier. To be included in this report's top tier of campuses for 20 consecutive years is a noteworthy accomplishment that indicates a long commitment to academic excellence and student success that defines LeTourneau University. The U.S. News ranks colleges and universities among other schools with similar programs and degree offerings.

As I said in my report to start the new year, U.S. News' methodology is not without its faults. However, the rankings do provide a starting point for many families and prospective students to compare colleges using indicators such as  retention rates and assessment by peer institutions, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rate performance and alumni giving.

Also, our School of Engineering moved up to 45th place among engineering schools in the nation whose highest degree is a bachelor's or master's degree. Ranked third among Texas universities, with Baylor University, Trinity University, LETU is the top-ranked school of engineering within the CCCU (Council of Christian Colleges and Universities).

And our school was listed among the magazine's ranking of "A+ Schools for B Students," which are schools where students who were not "A" students in high school, but displayed spirit and hard work, can thrive. 

LETU has added over $50 million in campus facilities in recent years, with the Allen Family Student Center - slated to open after spring break next semester - as our most recent investment.  Our goal at LETU is to continue to create a distinctive Christian university experience for our students, and if in the process, we continue for more years to get noticed by rankings like U.S. News, that is a good thing.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Influence of Professors

The most interesting article I read this week (and the best headline) was "Majoring in a Professor."  It was the report of a forthcoming book from Harvard University Press titled How College Works.

Sociology research on how students choose a major concluded that professors are very important and that the first professor you encounter in a degree program may be the most important.

"Faculty determine students' taste for academic fields by acting as gatekeepers, either by welcoming them into an area of knowledge, encouraging and inspiring them to explore it, or by raising the costs of entry so high so as to effectively prohibit continuing in it," authors Christopher Takacs and Daniel Chambliss write.

This affirms my experience.  Dr. James Cagley may not have been my very first business school professor, but I encountered him early in my studies.  A former advertising executive and University of Minnesota Ph.D., his passion for the discipline changed me, stirring something within me that I didn't know was there.  More than three decades later, I am still excited by the same psychological, sociological  and economic theories of business that inspired him.

LeTourneau faculty are the most influential people on our campus.  As I write, they are changing eternity for our students by the way they inspire, encourage, and direct.  When they have a bad day, our students have a bad day.  But when our best faculty are at their best, living an energized passion for their field of study and the God who is Lord of that discipline, our students are transformed; perhaps even redeemed.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Become a Brand Ambassador

Everyone in the "LeTourneau Nation" agrees on this:  we no longer want to be the best kept secret in higher education. Here's how you can help share the good news of what God is doing here at LETU.

Our social media efforts are a great place for you to engage. Become a "fan" of our LeTourneau University pages on Facebook and click "like" when we post something.  Be sure to share the university's new promotional video on your own Facebook timeline. You may not know which of your friends on Facebook needs to know more about LETU.

If you subscribe to the IncrediblyLETU blog, you can "share" our latest postings on Facebook or put them into an email to someone you know who is looking for a college or might simply find it interesting.  

Intentionally be a brand ambassador for LETU.  Each of us represents LeTourneau University.  Take some LETU marketing materials with you to your next conference.  Talk to people about what our students and faculty are doing here.  Remember, it makes a difference.  We know that 9 out of 10 of our students found LeTourneau University through word of mouth.

During our State of the University address, we presented a collection of words that describe LETU's brand, including five fundamental things:

1) Faith and Work
2) Ingenuity
3) Personal
4) Hands-on
5) Global

These elements of our brand, when seen together, are both historical and aspirational. To learn more about how we came up with these five branding elements, check out our branding pages.

By sharing stories with your friends and family through social media and word of mouth, we can greatly increase public awareness and recognition of LETU. Together, let's tell these stories.

Friday, August 23, 2013

New Students: The Beginning of a Journey

This week, we welcomed over 400 new students and their families to LeTourneau University from all over the country and all over the world-families like Michelle and David Hudson of League City, Texas, who brought their daughter Katie to attend LeTourneau University to major in elementary education.

The Hudsons were up at 6 a.m. Wednesday to make the four-hour trip from south of Houston, caravanning in two cars, with Katie leading the way because her mom said she wanted to make sure Katie knew how to get here. Like many other families, the Hudsons made it a family affair with Katie's younger sister Olivia, 12, and older brother Josh, 20, helping to carry in boxes and bedding and suitcases.

David, an aeronautical engineer, said his family has known about LETU since his brother was a student here in the mid-1980s. David attended Embry Riddle.They said this was the first time they were taking one of their children away to college, since their eldest chose to attend a local community college in League City. Just like many of the other dads who came this week, David described the event as exciting but worrisome and a little scary, too.

Dr. Lunsford with the Hudson family: Katie, Michelle, Olivia, David and Josh.

"We knew this day was coming for a long time, so we have been getting ready for it, but now that it's here, I know it will be hitting home for us as we drive back without Katie," he said.

Michelle nodded.

"It's a little scary," she said. "I've been crying for weeks, but I feel better now. Everyone here is so friendly, so very welcoming!"

One of Katie's first questions when they arrived in Longview was where the Walmart was, since she had already remembered a few things she had left at home.

Katie and her family praised our LETU admissions staff for being so responsive and making the process easy for them. She said whenever she had a question, she would call Carl Arnold and he would get right back to her with answers. The Hudsons also commented about how caring the many LETU faculty members were who volunteered to help students move in-like Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Fred Baliraine, who helped her family carry several of Katie's boxes into her room.

Katie is one of many great examples of our new students who are excited, and a little nervous at the same time, to start this new adventure. Let us all commit to pray for them and their families for a great college experience here at LETU.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Summer Reading

One of my treats each summer is having time to read good books. This summer, I have enjoyed a variety of books, so I thought I would share with you some of the ones that have made it onto my summer reading list.

With just a few weeks left before the Fall 2013 semester begins, I encourage everyone to take their one last summer treat and dive into a good book before another great school year begins.
The Conviction to Lead: The 25 Principles for Leadership that Matters
by Albert Mohler
In his book, Mohler introduces "conviction" as a leader's mandate. A very young seminary president, he is a change agent at Southern Seminary.
The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life 
by Rod Dreher
The author, a Philadelphia journalist, returned to his Louisiana hometown (population 1,700) after his sister Ruthie's death from cancer. He examines the ordinary life she lived as a local schoolteacher and discovers the privilege of being part of a small community. I really enjoyed this true story from a small town not far from our campus.
Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World
by Bob Goff
Living an abundant life of love requires taking action, and Bob Goff is living an abundant life. He shares several extraordinary tales from his own life that illustrate how God is teaching us about love. He seems to make the ordinary extraordinary by taking seriously God's command to love one another.
Seven Men: And the Secret of their Greatness 
by Eric Metaxas
Seven Christian men whose lives display what it is to be a true man today are expertly profiled: George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, John Paul II, and Charles Colson. Metaxas shares the struggles that each of these men faced, and how their values of honesty, courage and charity led them through difficulties. In each case, these were men who fully integrated their faith into their life's work.
Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court 
by John Wooden.
Written the year before his death in 2010, the late UCLA basketball coach shares the foundation for his own extraordinary leadership and the lessons he learned as a leader. Again, here is another who successfully did what I hope for in my life: to find the holy calling of my daily work.

Friday, July 26, 2013

From Longview to Fame

If the Summer of 2013 has a theme it must be "From Longview to Fame!"

You probably already know that Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey grew up in Longview.  Actor Forest Whitaker and Country Music superstar Miranda Lambert were also born in Longview.  And I won't even begin listing all the professional athletes who came from our university's home town.

New to the list of Longview-residents-made-good is Baltimore Oriole Chris Davis.  Davis was elected to the American League All Start team with more fan votes than any player this summer.

As I write, he leads Major League Baseball in home runs with 37. If you are not a baseball fan, 37 home runs at this point in the season is one of professional baseball's best ever performances. Davis played for Longview High School and was also a part of the Texas Rangers organization before being  traded away. Davis is baseball's new superstar.

But closer to home, two of our past LeTourneau University professionals have received some fame this summer.

Dr. Brent Ellis has been named the new president at Spring Arbor University in Michigan, and Dr. Sherilyn Emberton has been named the new president at Huntington University in Indiana.

I thank God that Brent and Sherilyn have answered God's call to serve His important work in Christian Higher Education.  I will look forward to working with them in our great cause.

This weekend is the Great Texas Balloon Race at East Texas Regional Airport.  For those of you who can attend, be sure to come out and visit with our LETU alumni who will be at the LETU Alumni Balloon Glow Hangar Party at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 27, at the Abbott Center. The hangar party is free to faculty, staff and alumni.