Friday, July 28, 2017

Summer Preparations

For many of us at LeTourneau University, summer is a time of preparation for the next academic year. Nowhere on campus is that more evident than in the work of our Facilities Services department.

About 90 full-time Facilities Services employees and student workers this summer have worked diligently to clean and refresh the campus with new paint, lighting, carpets, cleaning, landscaping, air conditioning replacement and so much more.

Our custodial staff has done deep cleaning at all of the dorms, honors apartments, married apartments and Glaske Engineering Center, where they have waxed floors and shampooed carpets. They have cleaned up the dorms and buildings during and after summer residential camps. The Allen Family Student Center and Corner Café are still to come before classes begin next month.

The summer started off with a major clean-up after storm damage around Memorial Day in May left the campus littered with leaves and several downed and damaged trees. Within only a few days, a joint effort from our grounds, trades and custodial crews had the campus cleaned up and beautified again.

The work hasn't slowed down. Twenty new trees have been planted on campus, and all of the mature trees have been trimmed to a height to enable walking under them.

Over 80,000 square feet of walls have been painted this summer, with locations including the Business Services/Marketing Building, Davis Hall, the Civil Engineering Lab and the AO House. Pressure washing of exteriors at the library, Glaske Center, Allen Family Student Center, Belcher Center, Longview Hall and the brick façades on the metal buildings on Glaske Drive have all made a significant difference.

Longview Hall has probably experienced the most significant facelift, beginning with outside landscaping.

Grounds crews this summer have removed overgrown trees that obscured the building from view and had roots threatening some expensive sidewalk and driveway repairs. Sidewalks that were littered with acorns and bird droppings at the entrance of the building are now clean.

Benches in the circle in front of the building can now actually be used for sitting without threats from overhead. The grounds crew also pressure-washed the mildew from the sandstone façade, restoring a new and brighter look.

New landscaping in the front of the building includes some replanted trees and a lower-maintenance rock garden, similar to the entrance of the Allen Family Student Center. The rock landscaping is mirrored on the mall-side of the building, providing a scenic view of the bell tower.

Inside Longview Hall, the carpet has been replaced, painting of all the classrooms has been completed, and overhead lighting has been upgraded.

The Solheim Center is closed this week for upgrades including new flooring, new air conditioning in the office areas and classrooms, and new LED lighting in the gymnasiums and natatorium to brighten those areas.

All of these--and many other projects that are being done--are being noticed and deeply appreciated. None of these projects get done without hard work. We are grateful to those who make our campus such a lovely place to be.

Friday, July 14, 2017

2017: The 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation

500 years ago -- on October 31, 1517 -- Augustinian monk Martin Luther nailed his "Ninety-Five Theses" to the wall of a church in Wittenberg, Germany, criticizing the Catholic Church.

The Roman Catholic Church had become a money-making enterprise. Luther's Ninety-Five Theses were designed to start a dialog with the Roman Catholic Church about serious issues on salvation, grace and the Gospel.

That cataclysmic event heralded what would become over the next hundred years a historic movement that would reshape the world with a complex set of reforms throughout Western Europe. What the Reformation did was create a new branch of Christianity: Protestantism, from which sprouted Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals and many more denominational churches.

The movement that became known as the Protestant Reformation set in motion a century of change that would transform Christianity, government, politics, banking, capitalism, literature, education, and work, making an impact on our lives even today.

To commemorate the quincentennial of this history-altering time in human history, LeTourneau University's School of Theology and Vocation will host "A Day of Common Learning: Reflections on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation" on Tuesday, Oct. 31.

Classes will be canceled to enable maximum participation in a day-long scholarship event to provide 45-minute presentations, papers, panel discussions and book reviews that will enable the LETU community to better understand what the Reformation was and why it matters. Some proposed topics include: the Reformation and politics, statehood and government; Reformation and music; how the Reformation influenced scientific knowledge and exploration; the Reformation and the university; the doctrine of grace and the Reformation; vocation and work in Reformation thought; global perspectives on the Reformation; and the relationship between the Reformation and American Evangelism.

More details on the Day of Common Learning will be forthcoming.

Kudos to Dr. Kelly Liebengood, dean of the School of Theology and Vocation for organizing this event in the life of our university.

I hope you will all make plans to attend some of these events and learn about how the Reformation reformed Western culture and the lives we live today.