‘Marathon Man’ Frank Bright, Class of ’65, to keynote Spring ’24 Commencements

May 15, 2024 | Alumni, General News

Retired engineer and lawyer Frank Bright, 81, who in April ran his 21st Boston Marathon, will slow down long enough to serve as keynote speaker for Louisiana Tech University’s pair of 2024 spring commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 25, in the Thomas Assembly Center on the Tech campus.

A Tech Class of 1965 graduate in chemical engineering and four-year letterman in both track and cross country, Bright will address the College of Applied and Natural Sciences, the College of Business, and the College of Education and Human Sciences at their commencement at 9:30 a.m. and the College of Engineering and Science and the College of Liberal Arts at their 2:30 p.m. ceremony.

Bright followed up his most recent marathon in April with a hike in May to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, down and back in one day. He has already signed up to run the Manitoba Marathon in June, a qualifying race for next year’s Boston Marathon.

His wife of more than 50 years, Suzzanne, is by her own admission “short” and can get lost in the crowd during marathons. But nothing stops the Brights; she lets her husband know she’s cheering him on by waving high in the air a collapsible pointer stick with pink survey tape on its end.

His running is “a blessing,” Bright said, that Suzzanne, their two sons, their wives, and the grandkids celebrate with him, as they did when he turned 80 and ran the Boston Marathon with the whole family on the sidelines.

After graduating from Tech and earning his Master of Science in chemical engineering from LSU, he spent nearly four years working in the field for Dow Chemical in Baton Rouge. He then turned to law, graduated from LSU with his Juris Doctor in 1974, and practiced in his hometown of Shreveport in a small law partnership before retiring at age 64 in 2007.

No stranger to accepting a challenge, Bright was a student manager for three sports in high school until the track coach noticed he was never tired after running with the teams he was keeping scores for. The track coach wanted him, and the baseball coach agreed to let Bright run—if he won. Lose a race, back to being a manager.

Bright did even better than that. He won a track state championship as a high school senior, and then he earned a track scholarship to Tech.

The late Clem Henderson, father of Tech President Jim Henderson and a coach at Fair Park when Bright was a student there, played a big part in jumpstarting Bright’s running career. The beloved multi-sport athlete and coach also taught the young runner a little about the lessons adversity can teach, something Bright is considering passing along to Tech’s spring graduates.

“Life’s not fair, and if you go through life not realizing that, you’re in for an awful lot of disappointments,” Bright said. “But joy comes in overcoming adversity.”

In addition to the two commencement ceremonies, Louisiana Tech is also hosting the Conference USA Baseball Championship. The latest parking and logistical information for campus visitors is available at