Ten of Louisiana Tech’s most significant university news stories of 2012

Dec 31, 2012 | General News

As Louisiana Tech University looks toward 2013, the Department of University Communications has compiled the following list of the ten most significant university news stories of 2012.
President Dan Reneau announces retirement after 46 years of service
After a 50 year relationship with Louisiana Tech University – both as a student and an educator – and 26 years as Louisiana Tech’s president, Dr. Daniel D. Reneau announced in September that he would retire from the university, effective June 30, 2013.
The announcement was made during Louisiana Tech’s fall faculty and staff meeting and was followed by a lengthy and impassioned ovation from the over 1,000 faculty and staff in attendance.
“For the past 46 years, I have had the honor of serving my alma mater and the privilege of working with some of the finest academicians and administrators in the nation,” said Reneau.  “But after long and thoughtful contemplation and discussion with my family, this just seemed like the right decision and the right time.”
Les Guice to serve as Louisiana Tech University’s 14th president
The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the selection of Dr. Leslie K. Guice as the 14th president of Louisiana Tech University during a special meeting in Baton Rouge in December.
Following the recommendation of the Louisiana Tech presidential search committee and a final interview by the full Board of Supervisors, Guice was officially approved by the full Board and will assume office, effective July 1, 2013.
“I am tremendously honored to have been selected to lead Louisiana Tech into the future,” said Guice.  “The confidence that the Board has shown in me and the support I’ve received from the Tech family has been amazing and so very much appreciated.  I am looking forward to working with the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors to advance Louisiana Tech, locally and nationally.”
Louisiana Tech earns Tier One ranking from U.S. News & World Report
In September, Louisiana Tech once again achieved a Tier One ranking among “National Universities,” in U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 Best Colleges list.
Louisiana Tech is one of only two public universities in Louisiana to achieve a Tier One “National Universities” ranking at #199 – the other being LSU-Baton Rouge at #134.  Louisiana Tech was also ranked among the nation’s Top Public Universities (#115) and saw its undergraduate engineering programs and undergraduate business programs ranked nationally as well.
U.S. News & World Report also recognized Louisiana Tech’s graduate programs this past spring in its 2013 Best Graduate School Report.  Louisiana Tech’s College of Engineering and Science was ranked #126 nationally of all engineering graduate schools and #66 in the biomedical/bioengineering category, and the College of Education ranked #154 of all education graduate schools.
Recommendation for merger of Louisiana Tech and LSU-Shreveport
In February, a study conducted by Eva Klein and Associates and commissioned by Shreveport area business leaders and higher education advocacy groups, and the Louisiana Board of Regents, recommended that LSU-Shreveport should merge with Louisiana Tech University under the University of Louisiana System.
The study recommended consolidating Louisiana Tech and LSU-Shreveport in an effort to improve educational opportunities in northwest Louisiana by combining the two universities and operating a Ruston campus and a Shreveport campus.  The Board of Regents accepted and approved the recommendation.
Despite the approval of the Board of Regents and widespread support from community and business leaders throughout north Louisiana, the proposal failed to gain enough support in the Louisiana legislature and was never brought to the House floor for a vote.
Louisiana Tech faculty, students celebrate role in ground-breaking physics discovery
In July, excitement within the international scientific community built to an apex as physicists presented the results of their hunt for the Higgs particle, or “God particle,” which is the key to answering the question: Why does matter have mass?
Among the international research team were nearly 30 Louisiana Tech students and faculty members had an active role in its search and discovery.
“Louisiana Tech’s part in this discovery is substantial,” said Dr. Lee Sawyer, professor and chair of the physics department at Louisiana Tech.  “We have worked in a number of areas on the ATLAS experiment, including verifying the quality of the data collected for the experiment and designing and maintaining the software that selects the collision events to record.”
“The realization that we had finally arrived at a definite discovery was very emotional. It was like being a witness to Einstein writing down ‘E=m c2’.”
Newsweek, The Daily Beast rank Louisiana Tech in Top 25 of most affordable colleges
Louisiana Tech was ranked among the 25 most affordable colleges in the nation in August, for both in-state and out-of-state students, according to Newsweek and The Daily Beast’s 2012 Colleges Rankings report.
Louisiana Tech ranked 13th in affordability for in-state students and 25th for out-of-state students.  Tech was one of only two institutions in the country ranked in this year’s Top 25 in both the in-state and out-of-state categories.  Tech was also one of only two universities in the state of Louisiana to make the Top 25 most affordable list.
“Given the enormous challenges we have faced over the past several years in keeping tuition and student costs affordable and competitive, we are very proud of the recognition offered by these rankings, “said Louisiana Tech University President Dan Reneau.  “These rankings show that we’ve been successful in addressing student financial concerns while exceeding student expectations.”
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) topped the 2012 most affordable list followed by Princeton University, California Institute of Technology, Baylor University, and Harvard University.
Louisiana Tech receives national EDA award to support regional job creation
Louisiana Tech received one of just 13 national awards from the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) in August for its I-20 Corridor Regional Accelerator proposal as a winner of the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge – a national competition designed to spur job creation and economic growth in rural communities by identifying and leveraging local assets and strengthening linkages to industry.
The $964,134 total award provided by the EDA was the second largest given to any regional proposal and will support Louisiana Tech’s partnership with Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge award was the second EDA grant that Louisiana Tech had received within the past 12 months.  Tech was awarded $1.1 million in October 2011 through the i6 Green Challenge program for its Proof of Concept Center.  The Center supports and expedites the introduction of new “green” technology innovations into the marketplace.
Louisiana Tech launches pioneering Ph.D. in Molecular Sciences and Nanotechnology
Louisiana Tech received approval from the Louisiana Board of Regents in May to offer a pioneering, interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Molecular Sciences and Nanotechnology program.
The program, a joint offering from Louisiana Tech’s College of Applied and Natural Sciences and College of Engineering and Science, is believed to be the nation’s first broad-based, interdisciplinary “nanotechnology” Ph.D. degree program.  It builds upon a master’s degree in molecular sciences and nanotechnology offered at Louisiana Tech, which has produced 73 graduates since its inception in the fall of 2004.
The new Ph.D. program is designed to train students in experimental, theoretical, and computational aspects of research in molecular biology, chemistry, and physics, particularly where these disciplines intersect.  It also enhances interdisciplinary applied research at Louisiana Tech in micromanufacturing and nanotechnology, and prepares students to become national and international academic, research and industry leaders.
Tech students pass fee to construct, enhance campus facilities
Students overwhelmingly passed a new student fee in April and renewed a previous fee to support the construction and improvement of several campus facilities, and provide for new recreational and outdoor classroom spaces.
The assessment was voted on during Louisiana Tech’s Student Government general elections with 84 percent of students approving the $50 quarterly fee.
The new student assessment consists of a renewal of the “20 for 20” fee, which has contributed to the construction of several state-of-the-art student facilities including the $12 million Lambright Intramural Center expansion, and a new $30 campus enhancement fee.  Projects to be supported by these fees include the construction of new campus parking facilities, recreational and parade fields, stadium field house expansion, and the demolition of decommissioned dormitories.
Tech receives national recognition for community service, volunteerism
In March, Louisiana Tech was once again named to the annual President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) for its leadership among institutions of higher education in Louisiana in supporting volunteerism, service-learning, and community involvement.
The Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities.  It is recognition from the highest levels of the federal government for commitment to service and civic engagement on a university’s campus and throughout the nation.
Louisiana Tech is the only public university in north Louisiana and only institution in the University of Louisiana System to make the Honor Roll every year since 2008.