Thursday, April 7, 2016

Engaging Students, Engaging the World

Saturday was the LeTourneau University Student Scholarship Conference "Engaging Students, Engaging the World" sponsored by the Honors College.

Over 70 students presented with poise and professionalism. Some presented papers, some posters, some panel discussions and other presentations on a broad range of topics from across multiple disciplines on campus.

Where else in the universe could you enjoy scholarship on Machiavelli, Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment, and Disney's Big Hero Six all in one place? The full roster of presentations was a testimony to the richness of an LETU education.

This weekend's student scholarship conference was the sixth such event on campus and is scheduled to be an annual event emanating from the Honors College. The conference was the brainchild of English professor Dr. Jim Watson in 2005 when he taught a literary criticism class and had the idea that it would be a good experience for liberal arts majors to experience presenting their work publicly.

Each year has begun with a keynote address. This year's keynote speaker was engineering professor Dr. Stephen Ayers, who discussed his experiences in a decade of global service projects at LETU.

Kudos to all the many faculty, including Drs. Aaron Kuecker and Kelly Liebengood, who mentored students and participated in the conference. Our Honors College continues to grow, and it is one of our great success stories of the last few years.

And in light of the special things that happen at LETU, I was reminded recently of the story of longtime, faithful donors Wallace and Ruth Campbell of Schenectady, N.Y.

It seems that Wallace and Ruth Campbell's son Richard graduated from LeTourneau in 1978. At LETU, he met and married his wife Lynn Chamberlin, who also graduated from LeTourneau.

Richard and Lynn had a daughter Sarah who graduated from LeTourneau in 2005, where she met and married Andrew Westerhaus, who also graduated from LeTourneau.

Richard and Lynn also had a son Scott who graduated from LeTourneau in 2004 where he met and married his wife Elaine Ball, who also graduated from LeTourneau.

Elaine's sister Stephanie graduated from LeTourneau in 2006 where she met and married James Lane, who also graduated from LeTourneau.

Their family story is a LeTourneau University story! It seems we are not just "engaging students" but marrying them as well.