It was the best of times for Tech, and it was the worst
In 2005 Tech was completing what may be described as the
best academic year in the university’s history.
Enter Katrina upon New Orleans, and even Tech’s triumph
seemed diminished by what is the greatest natural disaster America has ever
witnessed. It was not a time to celebrate.
For posterity, The Tech Talk has chosen the top five
university stories of the past year, and they are pretty staggering.
1. Groundbreaking on the biomedical engineering building
What Reneau calls his “baby,” biomedical engineering students and
professors will call their new home at the end of 2006. The $10.5 million
building broke ground last May with Reneau predicting that “someday a Nobel
Prize winner will step out of these doors.”
2. Tech moves up in doctoral degree-granting
During spring commencement in May, Tech, for three
consecutive years, granted three doctoral degrees per year in five academic
categories. According to the Southern Regional Education Board, Tech has
fulfilled all the requirements to be classified as a Four-Year 2 institution.
“It’s a prestige thing,” Terry McConathy, executive vice
president and dean of the graduate school, said. “It brings a great deal of
status to the university. It gives us a national reputation as a research
3. SACS accreditation
During last April’s compliance assessment, Tech received
a “clean slate” affirmation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern
Association of Colleges and Schools. The
COC/SACS makes a determination of the university’s accreditation every 10
years. Tech met all the requirements and
has upheld its credibility.
4. Tech moves up a notch in U.S. News and World Report’s
“America’s Best Colleges”
Tech moved from the fourth to the third tier in U.S. News
and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges.” Tech now is in the same tier as
Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge, Mississippi State University-Starkville
and University of Arizona State-Tempe. The ranking confirms the hard work the
university has made to make Tech a better school.
5. Relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina victims
Reneau said he lay awake the night after Katrina ripped
apart the Gulf Coast thinking about how Tech could reach out its arms to help
the devastated victims.
Reneau and his team decided to open Caruthers Residence
Hall to the hurricane victims who had nowhere else to go. Students, faculty and
staff all helped the relief efforts in the weeks to come.
Caruthers may be Tech’s finest hour in a year of fine
hours, but that humanitarian accomplishment was what set the year apart for
Tech and Reneau.