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Tech touts best year

It was the best of times for Tech, and it was the worst of times

It was the best of times for Tech, and it was the worst of times.

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 classification

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 university.”

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.

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