Friday, January 27, 2017

Two Historic Beginnings

This week marks two historic beginnings for LeTourneau University.

Monday morning, we announced the addition of track & field to our LETU YellowJacket athletics programs, and we signed a new partnership agreement to establish a physical presence on the Handong Global University campus in South Korea.


The new track & field athletic program brings to 15 the number of sports that LETU competes in at the NCAA Division III level in the American Southwest Conference.

I was surprised to learn that track & field is one of the most popular sports in the state of Texas. By adding this new program, LETU has the potential to draw from the 75,000 boys and 60,000 girls in 1,311 high schools across the state who compete in UIL track and field events. Nationally, over a million high school athletes participated in track & field events in the 2015-16 academic year.

Students who come to LeTourneau this next fall will begin training for the competitive season that begins in January 2018. These athletes will have the unique opportunity to make YellowJacket history as the university's first track & field athletes.

Leading this new program will be Don Hood, who is a well-known and admired name among Texas track and field coaches, having been named the 2008 United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association Men's Coach of the Year.

Don has experience coaching at both the high school and collegiate level. His leadership will be an asset in launching a successful indoor and outdoor men's and women's track & field program here at LETU.


Another historic note this week was the new partnership agreement I signed with Handong Global University President Dr. Soon-Heung Chang Monday morning.

The LeTourneau Strategic Global Office agreement provides LETU a continued physical presence on the HGU campus that will significantly enhance both HGU's and LETU's opportunities for faculty and student exchange, international recruitment, program partnerships, missions opportunities and collaboration to change the world for Christ.

The plan is to have a faculty/staff member reside annually at HGU every semester beginning in Fall 2017, with the length of stay ranging from one semester to one academic year.

Among a host of advantages, this agreement would enable students to start their academic careers at HGU and finish at LETU, with students receiving degrees from both HGU and LETU. It also paves the way for a cooperative aviation program to allow HGU students to receive aviation-related degrees through and/or at LETU.

The agreement sets up an international student recruitment hub and enables a three-way transfer program with universities in China, Mongolia and Vietnam to allow students to transfer credits to HGU from their home university and finish their degrees at LETU.

The agreement could become a gateway for LETU to serve more students in East Asia in the future.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Global Outreach Connections: GO Week 2017

Next week, January 23-27, is a special week of focusing on Global Outreach on the LeTourneau University campus as we welcome over 50 missionaries representing over 40 mission organizations from across the world.

GO Week is a great time of connection.

GO Week helps to raise awareness of the things God is doing around the world. It allows missionaries at a wide variety of mission organizations to teach students about the work they are doing to further God's kingdom all over the world.

It helps open our students' hearts and minds to service opportunities in which they may want to participate--perhaps during Spring Break missions or after graduation. In the past, some students have found their life's calling during GO Week.

Relationships are built. Many of our missionaries are housed by faculty members. Many of our faculty and staff members have served as full-time missionaries and have opportunity to practice the gifts of helps and hospitality. Prayer requests can be shared. Our World CafĂ© on Tuesday evening will feature the culture and cuisine of nearly 30 countries.   

This longstanding tradition of GO Week (formerly known as Mission Emphasis Week) enables missionaries to share their life's work and relate to students one-on-one, hoping that God will spark an interest and perhaps open doors to internships.

I encourage all of us to take time next week to visit with these missionaries who will have tables set up all along the hallways in some of our academic buildings on campus and at the Abbott Center. Get to know them. Attend chapel services. Take them to lunch.

GO Week would not be possible without the participation of many on campus. 

Big thanks to our Missionaries in Residence, Marv and Jan Smith, and to Chapel secretary Kaylee Salser for all of their work in organizing the event. Also want to thank Marv for his help with chapel this semester as we seek a new Campus Pastor.

Today, I'm praying for our nation as we prepare to enjoy God's blessing of a government that peacefully transitions power from one president to another. I'm praying for God's favor on our new leaders both in Washington and in Austin. This week, the TFO Executive Committee and I met to pray for the university. Will you join us? Pray for the many among us who are fighting serious illnesses and pray with thanks for a community that supports each other in these times of need. Continue to pray for God to bring our next Deans of both the engineering and business programs and for our Campus Pastor.

Friday, January 13, 2017

LETU, Iowa State and Eastman: New Chemical Engineering Pathway

Happy 2017! This week is an exciting one for LeTourneau University as we formalize a new partnership with Iowa State University and Eastman Chemical Company to provide a direct pathway for qualified undergraduate students from LETU to earn-in five years - both a LeTourneau University bachelor's in chemistry and a master's in chemical engineering from Iowa State, while also being advised by professional chemical engineers at Eastman Chemical, right here in Longview.

Faculty, staff and community members attended the announcement of this new partnership on Friday, Jan. 13.
We are blessed that Eastman Chemical leadership met with our faculty and dean to agree to join in an advisory and supportive role, by reviewing curriculum to help ensure we are preparing chemical engineers who are job-ready and will flourish in a manufacturing setting.

Our students will benefit from opportunities for internships and mentoring by Eastman employees who can share real-world experience and insights into a career in chemical engineering.

Some of Eastman's engineers may serve as guest lecturers in our classrooms, and our students will be able to tour Eastman and observe training in the areas of industrial safety.

Eastman Chemical has been a great friend of the university and this partnership will open new doors of cooperation. Kudos to Dr. Larry Frazier for making this partnership a reality. Learn more about this joint venture between LETU, Iowa State and Eastman Chemical here.