Friday, February 28, 2014

LeTourneau Aviation Art Show

Did you notice how our university reached out to touch the community this past week? In transforming our Abbott Center into an art gallery and demonstrating the compatibility of faith and science, LETU enriched the culture of East Texas.

Our students, faculty and staff have been showcasing some pretty impressive artistic talent this week during the 2nd annual Aviation Art Show at the Abbott Aviation Center.

Doubling in size from last year, more than 60 entries include media ranging from detailed penciled and shaded drawings of airplanes, to paintings and photographs so spectacular they seem three-dimensional. 

For a school that has its roots as a technical school, it is great to see this artistic expression from our students who have a passion for aviation. Kudos go to Phil Rispin and Molly Norwood for their work in making it all happen, and to Dean Fred Ritchey for his support of the art show.

The Longview News-Journal wrote a nice feature that appeared  in Monday's paper. You can see that here in case you missed it.  CBS 19 also came out Tuesday to help promote the event, and you can see that story here

Judging of the artwork takes place until noon on Friday, so if you get a chance to go by there, be sure to vote. 

Kudos also are well deserved by LETU faculty and organizers who were involved in the recent creation and evolution panel discussion following the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate. LETU faculty Wilson Cunha from theology and Karen Rispin from biology were joined by ETBU theology professor J. Warren Johnson to make up the panel discussion, which was moderated by Matthew Henry, our dean of innovative education. Organizers Gary DeBoer and Steve Ball were integral in getting the word out to make the event a great success. Kudos are also due to Dean Dr. Larry Frazier for his support. If you missed the media coverage you can read about it in the Longview News Journal or watch the story on KLTV.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Celebrating Engineers Week

This week of Feb. 16-22 is Engineers Week, a national event celebrating the engineering profession.

E- Week is a time to celebrate how engineers make a difference in our world. The focus on engineering helps increase public dialogue about engineering and the need for highly qualified engineers like those who graduate from LeTourneau University. The national focus also helps bring engineering to life for kids, parents and educators, as professional engineering groups offer scholarships to area students planning to pursue a degree in engineering.

In celebration of E-Week, LETU hosted the 53rd annual E-Week Banquet on our campus Tuesday night in the Solheim Arena.  About 200 professional engineers and engineering students attended.

I had the honor of introducing the banquet speaker, PING Golf CEO John Solheim.  As a young man, John chose to come to LeTourneau to study engineering.  He didn't stay long, however, because of the exciting prospect of working with his father on a revolutionary new golf putter. John has remained a leader in the LeTourneau Nation serving on our Board of Trustees since 1992.  His leadership at PING is a wonderful example for our students. He places an emphasis on engineering innovations, a respect for the game of golf, and a humility that can only come from an understanding of God's providence. 

Banquet Speaker John Solheim
John told the history of PING Golf and about how his father, Karsten Solheim, gleaned from each work experience the tools he needed to build his own business.

John shared that his father learned valuable lessons in quality and marketing from each of even his most early jobs, from working in a shoe shop to selling cookware door-to-door. He learned how customers viewed a low price as cheaper quality.  He learned about how to make sales one customer at a time. He later worked as an engineer at General Electric when he began making putters from his garage in 1959.

He knew about working with his hands, applying sales experience and retaining quality in mass production. 

Through each work experience and transition, no matter how humble, the Lord was preparing him for the future.

John also shared that last week was a particularly good week for PING, with Bubba Watson in the PGA, Kirk Triplett on the Seniors Tour and Karrie Webb won the LPGA Australian Open - all winning their tournaments with PING Clubs. 

Our world-class engineering program here at LETU is a direct result of the love for engineering of our university founder, R.G. LeTourneau, and his dedication to improving the world through the engineering profession. John Solheim is an inspiring example of Mr. LeTourneau's legacy. It is a privilege to carry on his vision and to celebrate engineering this week as we seek to claim every workplace in every nation for Christ.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Growing our Student Body: Local and International

LeTourneau enrolls students from all 50 states and more than 30 nations, and this week, some of our international students were featured in the local newspaper and on local television news about what they love about LETU.

We are exceptional in that we are truly a global university. While we intend to continue to grow that number, we also want more East Texas students to experience the same quality education that draws students from thousands of miles around the globe.

We know that the future of East Texas is in the dreams of our children. We also understand that a residential college experience offers a unique preparation for a life of professional  competence and Christlike character.

Therefore, we recently announced a new grant to help make a LeTourneau residential college experience more accessible for local East Texas students.

Our new "Future of East Texas" grant provides up to $4,500 per year, renewable for up to four years totaling $18,000, in additional tuition assistance for local East Texas students who want the residential college experience.

This new grant brings a quality LETU education within reach for many of our neighbors.

The grant applies to every residence hall on campus and is available only to first-time college students enrolling Fall 2014 whose home address falls within specific zip codes that include Longview, Tyler, Kilgore, Hallsville, Whitehouse, Lindale and other local cities. A list of zip codes and other information can be found on our website.

Designed specifically for students who plan to seek degrees offered in our School of Aeronautical Science, School of Arts and Sciences, School of Business or School of Education, this grant requires students to maintain a minimum 2.5 grade point average and remain a residential student in one of the eligible programs. Students who meet eligibility requirements are expected to write a brief essay on "How my dreams will make the future of East Texas brighter."

A limited number of grants are available.

You may know students in your neighborhood or in your church who would benefit from knowing about this grant. You can direct them to or have them call our Admissions Office at (903) 233-4300. I encourage you to tell them about it.