Louisiana Tech President Dan Reneau saved the best for last at the Faculty/Staff Club luncheon held Tuesday at the Student Center. In a surprise announcement, Reneau informed the gathered faculty and staff that they would hopefully receive a modest 2 percent pay raise, retroactive to Sept. 1 of this year, if enrollment holds up.

Reneau did call upon the faculty to help make the merit pay increase possible with campus energy conservation.

‘If enrollment holds and if you’ll work with me on energy conservation, I think we will be able to give modest raises to the faculty and staff,’ Reneau said. ‘You deserve it.’

Reneau said conserving 1 percent of energy saves the university $88,000, and conserving 10 to 12 percent saves $1 million.

‘Turn off your lights when you leave your office, and turn off computers, printers and copiers when you leave for the day,’ Reneau said. ‘You’ll be amazed at how that will help.’

Last year, the average raise for faculty and staff was 13 percent. Reneau said his goal was to give an average raise of 15 percent over last year and this year, which has been reached.

Reneau called last year a ‘stellar year’ which has set the stage for another outstanding year.

Last year Tech enrolled 10,607 students, Reneau said, adding that the average incoming freshman ACT score was 23.2.

‘There was a 35 percent increase in students who finished first in their class,’ Reneau said. ‘That’s a fine student body.’

Reneau also mentioned Tech’s two accreditations in the music and interior design departments, which were each reaccredited to the maximum amount. Also, a new doctoral degree in organizational psychology will be added in 2009, with approval from the Board of Regents. Distance learning, Reneau added, will also be promoted in the coming year.

Construction, including Research Park and the Enterprise Campus, was discussed, and Reneau mentioned that Marcus Morton’s company, NFT, housed in the business incubator, should soon grow from 36 employees to more than 100.

‘That’s why we need Research Park so much,’ Reneau said. ‘We are working on or have just completed over $100 million worth of construction and will have a beautiful, well-laid campus in the next three years.’

Reneau discussed the recent impact Hurricane Gustav had on the community as Tech housed about 100 students from Nicholls State University, and Memorial Gymnasium was turned into a critical care unit run by the Department of Veterans Affairs. He said he had received a letter from the secretary of the department who applauded Tech’s hospitality and the morale boost when the Band of Pride gave a surprise performance at Memorial Gymnasium.

Reneau also invited faculty, staff, students and the general public to the Oct. 16 dedication of Spirit Park, located between Davison Hall and the new biomedical engineering building.

In athletics, Reneau touted athletics director and head football coach Derek Dooley for his commendable work.

‘The roadmap is there, and when we looked at who could lead this movement, there was none other than Derek Dooley,’ he said. ‘He has raised more money this year than any year in our history.’

Also, the graduation rate for athletes is the highest in the state – 71 percent, Reneau said.

‘I think we’re in for a great time for renovation and renewal in athletics,’ he said. ‘I’m pleased at the route we’re going.’

Written by Judith Roberts