A new home for Admissions and School of Architecture
Alumnus of the Year Bobby Rawle N O. 1 3
DUCK COMMANDER A higher call
Alums rise to the top
ALBINO HINOJOSA A legacy of art
In 1909, Hale Hall was a women’s dorm. It was the year the NAACP was founded, “Shine On, Harvest Moon” by Ragtime-era vocalists Ada Jones and Billy Murray hit No. 1, the nation’s first university school of nursing was established, Joan of Arc was declared a saint, and novelist Eudora Welty was born in Jackson, Miss.
Louisiana Tech University Division of University Advancement P.O. Box 3183 Ruston, LA 71272-0001
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ALUMN I A S S O C I AT I O N
OF F I C E R S Steve Bates – President
Tim King – Vice President
Russ Nolan – Treasurer
Robert Kyle – Past President
Daniel D. Reneau – Ex-Officio
2 | From the 16th Floor
A winning circle of hope
BO A R D O F D I R E C T O RS John Adams, Bobby Aillet, Ron Ainsworth, John Allen, Dr. John Areno, Paige Baughman, Ayres Bradford, Carroll Cochran, Todd Davison, John Denny, James Duke, Allison Duncan, Dr. Grant Glover, Kenny Guillot, Chris Hammons, Justin Hinckley, Marsha Jabour, Chris Jordan, Dr. John Maxwell, Mac McBride, Cliff Merritt, Antonio Robinson, Robert Saums, Arlis Scogin, Stephanie Sisemore, Kristy Smith, Markus Snowden, Barry Stevens, Bennie Thornell, Eddie Tinsley
ALU M N I A S S O C I AT I ON STAFF Corre Stegall – Vice President for University Advancement Kyle Edmiston – Director of Alumni Relations Ryan Richard – Coordinator of Alumni Programs Barbara Swart – Administrative Assistant
CONNEC T E D T O T H E W E B www.latechalumni.org www.latech.edu www.latechsports.com
MARKET I N G A N D PUBLIC R E L AT I O N S Kate Archer – Director, Marketing and Public Relations Darlene Bush Tucker – Senior Writer Mark Coleman – Designer Donny Crowe – Photographer
4 | Hale Hall
A WORD FROM THE ALUMNI DIRECTOR
6 | Alumnus of the Year
Bobby Rawle: One rung at a time
Happy holidays from the Louisiana Tech Alumni Association! Is it really that time of year already? Wasn’t it only yesterday that the summer issue of Louisiana Tech Magazine came out? But no, even the fall is winding down to year’s end. But what a year it’s been!
8 | Distinguished College Alumni Returning to kudos
Consider just the fall highlights:
11 | Young Alumnus of the Year Creating the mold
September brought both a record enrollment of graduate students and the opening of University Park, an on-campus housing complex that has now welcomed the first of an eventual 500 students.
12 | Homecoming 2004 A family gathering
Then in President Dan Reneau’s address to all of us reading this magazine, he recounts how the D.C.-based Education Trust recently singled Tech out as a graduation-rate success story, his pride in the notice taken of Tech reflecting all our feelings. And then there was homecoming. The Oct. 22-24 event was a wonderful weekend for alumni, students, parents and friends. The Class of 1954 celebrated with a 50year reunion, Bobby Rawle was honored as Alumnus of the Year, and Brennan Easley was named the first-ever Young Alumnus of the Year. And the new Hale Hall was dedicated! You can look at the pictures and see how beautiful Hale is, but pictures can’t really do it justice. If you haven’t already done so, please drop by the next time you’re near and tour admissions’ and architecture’s new space in Hale. Both areas boast remarkable design and character.
14 | Duck Commander Answering the call
16 | NetQoS
Alums rise to the top
18 | Albino Hinojosa
A legacy of art
As you can tell, the face of the campus is continually changing. But the focus remains the same: the education of our students. We know you feel a kinship with Tech’s accomplishments and that you are proud of the direction in which Dr. Reneau continues to lead your university. So, show your pride, come to campus, visit the buildings, and meet the students. And as always, we thank you for your continued support of Louisiana Tech and the Alumni Association.
Anne McLean, Sallie Rose Hollis, Eddie Blick – Contributing Writers
20 | Innovative Venture Research Class takes ideas to market
22 | Foundation Spotlight
A teacher’s gift and other news
25 | News Around Campus
A kaleidoscope of highlights
Elena Parker – Creative Services Manager Louisiana Tech Magazine is published semiannually by the Louisiana Tech Alumni Association. Letters and inquiries should be addressed to: Louisiana Tech Magazine P.O. Box 3183 | Ruston LA 71272
Recalling the old, beckoning the new
28 | News About You ABOUT THE COVER A dream nearly 15 years in the making restores a beloved silhouette to Louisiana Tech.
We share your milestones
FROM THE 16TH FLOOR AS ANOTHER GOLDEN YEAR CLOSES, LOUISIANA TECH’S foundation has never been more solid, its mission never more clear. When we review this remarkable year, we see that the university saved some of the best things for last in 2004: Hale Hall was dedicated, University Park welcomed its first student residents, a record number of graduate students enrolled, and a new tradition of alumni recognition kicked off with the Young Alumnus award — all of which help illustrate the importance of continuing the circle here at Louisiana Tech. That circle, so important to the future of our region, state and nation, is best served when students have premier facilities in which to live and learn, when they can complete their goals and earn their degrees, and when they are able to go forth from here committed and prepared to better their own lives and the lives of others. “BEFORE THERE WAS THE CURRENT NATIONAL URGENCY TO MAKE COLLEGE GRADUATION DAY A REALITY FOR AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE, TECH WAS ALREADY ON THE CASE AND ALREADY MAKING A DIFFERENCE.”
- Daniel D. Reneau, president
of State Colleges and Universities, the Education Trust, and the National Association of System Heads — Tech being one of only 12 campuses in the nation asked to do so.
The analysis, “A Matter of Degrees: Improving Graduation Rates in Four-Year Colleges and Universities” suggested that institutions follow the lead of schools like Louisiana Tech, which boosted a 35 percent graduation rate to 55 percent in just five years to rise above the 46 percent median rate of its peers. Louisiana Tech’s 55 percent graduation rate is certainly good news. But that’s not all. The graduation rate at Louisiana Tech for first-time, full-time African-American students is also stellar — at 52 percent — something we don’t find surprising at all, but which involves an area of special concern for the Education Trust whose report said that students traditionally underrepresented in college classrooms were also the most vulnerable in the graduation-rates picture.
It’s great to see this type of recognition at the national level. Taken together with other points of pride here at Tech — an average ACT score of 22.5 and more than three-fourths of our students on TOPS — that’s a nice confirmation that we’re doing the right thing. But we’re not going to become complacent. We plan to push that graduation rate to 70 percent someday.
Now even more notice has been taken of Tech’s success story. Just this fall Tech was asked to participate in a Graduation Rate Outcomes Study being conducted by the American Association
Help us keep the circle going. Not everyone can be like Alumnus of the Year Bobby Rawle and give back to Tech as a valuable employee. But support of your alma mater and its goals can take on as many forms as there are leaves lying on the ground right now. Pick one, and join us in our quest to see as many of our students as possible leave this great university wearing a cap and gown and bearing the proud title of Louisiana Tech alum.
We see Tech that way — as a place where education comes full circle. Students enroll, they are given the tools they need to succeed, they graduate, then they become beacons to those who would follow in their footsteps. There was a time in our nation when a college degree was seen as a nice thing to have, but not an absolute necessity. Today’s global market and rapid technological advances have changed that picture forever. There was also a time when the door to a degree was made harder for some to open than for others, even though they had enormous potential. Today we see that we cannot afford, nor can we tolerate, barriers that would keep any of the best and brightest from achieving all they can. Before there was the current national urgency to make college graduation day a reality for as many people as possible, Tech was already on the case and already making a difference. The Education Trust, a national education policy group, noticed. A recent report from the group drew alarming conclusions from the nation’s sluggish graduation rates: namely that today’s conditions have greatly increased the penalties for shortfalls in higher education.
2 | Louisiana Tech Magazine
The report did something else. It singled out Louisiana Tech as being among a handful of four-year institutions in the nation that didn’t wait for news of the crisis to take action.
1 | Able to choose homey units for either two or four, the first students moved into University Park this fall. 2 | President Dan Reneau raises his ribbon-cutting scissors in honor of Hale Hall’s dedication on homecoming weekend. 3 | Commencement always brings smiles and kisses as grads look back on their time here and look forward to their futures.
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HOUSING BOTH THE OFFICE OF ADMISSIONS AND THE SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE, HALE WAS TAILORED TO MEET THE UNIQUE CHARACTER OF EACH. ADMISSIONS IS HOMEY AND INVITING WHILE ARCHITECTURE’S QUARTERS OFFER STUDENTS ABUNDANT WORK AND DISPLAY SPACE.
A AND HEARTY RETURN WITH THE REAPPEARANCE OF HALE HALL, THE VIEW ON Railroad Avenue is the most satisfying in decades. The original structure, named for math and telegraph instructor Willis B. Hale, was built in 1898, ultimately becoming the state’s oldest higher education public school building. Now Hale, once home to dorms and then art studios, has been resurrected from the dust of its demolition to shelter the Office of Admissions and the School of Architecture. “For almost 15 years, many people have dreamed passionately and worked extremely hard to bring this project to fruition,” President Dan Reneau said. “The vision was to rebuild Hale based on its original external design and to see it functioning again, internally, as a modern academic structure.” 4 | Louisiana Tech Magazine
Area businesses involved included Ruston architect Mike Walpole, Ruston firm Triad Builders, Jeffrey Carbo Landscape Architects of Alexandria and Roach Landscaping of West Monroe. An anonymous donor’s $1 million gift helped get the $10.5 million project started. When structural concerns closed the building in 1990, the plan was renovation and restoration. But state money wasn’t forthcoming. Tom Jones’ Triad Builders oversaw both the demolition in 2002 and the rebuilding, completed in August 2004. “A tremendous amount of research went into what the building originally looked like,” Walpole said. “We were trying to stay true to the original style.”
His vision for admissions was a classically conceived and decorated area. The architecture portion, on the other hand, is “industrial aesthetic”: Exposed ducts and other inner workings allow architecture students a peek inside. Externally, Carbo’s landscaping company did research, too. In line with Hale’s long history, plantings included old-garden shrub species and trees that grow big and live long. Care was taken to preserve existing trees. Another exterior realm draws a frequent question: “When are you going to put turrets on the south side? They’re only on the north.” Jones’ answer: “That’s the way the building originally was.” It’s a mystery as to why.
“Maybe the architect was a Yankee,” Jones joked. Charming oddities aside, admissions director Jan Albritton has had good feedback. “Everybody who comes in here, the first word is, ‘Wow!’” Tech alums who visit with their children sometimes tell her, “This was where my room was. This is really neat.” Henry Stout, director of the School of Architecture, said of Hale, “It’s a connection with Tech’s past. It’s the only building that remains from a campus environment that existed for 100-plus years. It has touched so many generations of Tech students, so many lives in so many ways. Far more important than the architectural significance is the emotional significance.”
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ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR
LOUISIANA TECH’S DIRECTOR FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT didn’t think he ought to be alumnus of the year.
In his awards speech, Bobby Rawle said he had tried to find out who was responsible for the error — only to learn that the decision had come from an anonymous committee.
LIFE AND LADDER CLIMBING
Next he tried to get answers straight from the top — that’s right, Linda Reneau. BOBBY RAWLE (’71, B.S., INDUSTRIAL MANAGEMENT) HAS BEEN A MEMBER OF TECH’S FOUNDATION BOARD, ITS RESEARCH FOUNDATION BOARD AND THE ADVISORY BOARD OF THE COLLEGE OF ADMINISTRATION AND BUSINESS. HE HAS ALSO BEEN A BOARD MEMBER OF UNITED WAY OF SOUTH LOUISIANA AND SERVED ON THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE RUSTON-LINCOLN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.
“But I couldn’t reach her,” Rawle said. So he settled for a meeting with Tech President Dan Reneau. “I explained that there must be some mistake, that the university must have many more deserving candidates. Dr. Reneau looked me straight in the eyes and said, ‘This is one of the university’s most prestigious awards, and it’s a great honor to even be considered for this award, much less receive it. Now get over it.’” Whether Rawle got over it or not, here’s a guy who’s gotten over a lot of other things — like whatever hurdles lay between starting as a summer mail boy at J. Ray McDermott in 1965 and retiring as president of the company in 2002. Except retirement didn’t quite take for Rawle — or maybe it was that his wife and daughter didn’t quite take to him being so in-their-face retired. After all, they had busy lives in Texas. Not only was Jennifer Rawle a top student, she was a talented equestrian, dancer and athlete; mom Becky a dedicated volunteer. So the New Orleans-born Rawle duck hunted and fished. He played golf. But then he started trying to horn in on a job that was already spoken for. “My daughter said I was acting more and more like her mother every day,” he said. A door closes, a door opens. He had left McDermott when he felt he no longer had a contribution to make. A year later he found a place where he felt he did — Louisiana Tech. In addition to his official role, he also has unofficial duties of his own devising. He gives tours to prospective students and their parents, or to visitors from corporations and other universities. He mentors Tech’s entrepreneurial classes and organizations.
“I felt it was something that I could make a difference doing, focusing on economic development, focusing on jobs in Louisiana, focusing on start-up businesses,” he said. “There’s an enormous amount of pride here, an enormous amount of vision and an enormous amount of enthusiasm. And that makes it fun.” It also makes for quite a commute. He has a nice little house in Ruston, but the family base remains in the Houston suburb of Katy, at least while his daughter is in high school. It works, he said. “With McDermott, I was gone for two or three weeks at a time anyway because we had businesses all over the world.” He goes home when his daughter has special events or when he has business meetings in Houston related to Tech’s economic interests. Sometimes his family comes to Ruston. How does he pass drive time when he’s the roadrunner? Currently he listens to talk shows and National Public Radio. For the first six months he listened to the Bible on tape, all the way through, “not that I want this to sound like a holier-thanthou answer.” But clearly Rawle — who once served on the board of trustees of Thibodaux United Methodist Church and jokes that Methodists are cool because they let you act like Presbyterians — didn’t wait to get in a figurative foxhole to find God. He started limping last fall, but it was summer before he knew how much trouble he was in. That’s when he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s, a progressive neurological disease. Rawle said he and his family decided to just keep on doing what they were doing. “We are very fortunate that I spent 12 years overseas. We have done a lot of traveling. We don’t need to sit down and be like, oh, what do we need to do tomorrow? “As the disease progresses, we are going to handle it,” he said. “We are not afraid to talk about it. I am not afraid of dying. I just want to make sure that for the rest of our lives, we live the best that we can.”
Then he meshes those activities with economic development activities on behalf of Tech that include preparing for Tech’s upcoming business and technology incubator.
Even when heʼs at Louisiana Tech, Bobby Rawle has a link to his Houston family. When daughter Jennifer moved up to a different class of competition a couple of years ago, she donated Sara, a registered quarter horse palomino mare, to Techʼs Equine Center. Sara, set to foal soon, still remembers her show manners, says Karen Dowling, a lab supervisor and instructor at the Equine Center. When Sara needed to be fetched from a pasture recently, “she ran and met the trailer,” Dowling says.
6 | Louisiana Tech Magazine
ON HIS LIFE AS A TOP EXECUTIVE: As you go up the ladder the decisions are bigger, but you need to make them on the same principles as when you made smaller decisions. I used to bid jobs that were $70,000, and I thought that was the end of the world. Then when I became president, I signed contracts for more than $600,000,000. But you can’t be overwhelmed by it. You can’t get bigheaded over it. You are no different than when you were down the ladder, so you have to treat everybody the same. My mother was a secretary, and my father started as an automobile mechanic at McDermott. That is how I got my first summer job in high school, and then I continued to work during my college summers. Because of my summer experience, they hired me as a field engineer when I graduated, even though my degree was in business. J. Ray McDermott is an offshore marine construction company and one of three companies in the McDermott International family. When I retired, because I had grown up in the company, I was the only person still there who had known every chairman.
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DISTINGUISHED COLLEGE ALUMNI OF THE YEAR
DISTINGUISHED COLLEGE ALUMNI OF THE YEAR ALTHOUGH LOUISIANA TECH’S 2004 DISTINGUISHED COLLEGE ALUMNI
OF THE YEAR HAIL FROM DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS, THEY DO SHARE SOME COMMONALITIES: REMARKABLE CAREERS AND A DEVOTION TO THEIR ALMA MATER. THIS REMARKABLE GROUP WAS HONORED DURING HOMECOMING AND AT THE ANNUAL ALUMNI AWARDS DINNER.
JOHN CLAY Class of ‘70
B.S., ACCOUNTING COLLEGE OF ADMINISTRATION AND BUSINESS
After graduating magna cum laude and passing the CPA exam in his first sitting, Monroe native John Clay joined the Fort Worth, Texas, office of Ernst & Ernst (now Ernst & Young). After four years, Clay and a colleague started their own CPA firm. Leaving the comfort of a large firm seemed like an overwhelming prospect at the time, but Clay did more than prevail. Today, Rylander, Clay & Opitz is one of the largest and most respected local firms in the Fort Worth area. As his firm grew, Clay realized that the small entity needed practice manuals such as the ones made available to offices of the Big Eight firms. With the help of a colleague, he set out to write a manual of his own. The result was the first edition of Guide to Compilation Engagements, an instant success that convinced Clay he had uncovered a great need. After publishing three additional loose-leaf manuals, Clay left his accounting practice in 1982 to focus exclusively on publishing. Today, Practitioners Publishing Co. is a leading publisher of accounting and auditing manuals and remains a respected source to the more than 100,000 CPAs in public practice throughout the country. For more than 20 years, Clay provided the vision for PPC and fueled its growth as president and CEO. He turned over the reins a couple of years ago and is about to retire. His philanthropic spirit matches his dedication to his field. He helped found two longtime youth organizations: Because We Care, a substance-abuse prevention program at work in Fort Worth public schools, and the Youth Sports Council of Fort Worth, which offers youth athletic programs.
8 | Louisiana Tech Magazine
Class of ‘84
Class of ‘47
B.S., MEDICAL RECORDS ADMINISTRATION COLLEGE OF APPLIED AND NATURAL SCIENCES
B.S., PHYSICAL EDUCATION COLLEGE OF EDUCATION
The Delhi native spent his adolescence in Quitman and then enrolled at Louisiana Tech with plans to be a commercial artist. Today, Dunham walks an entirely different path as director of health information management for Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans.
Gregory came to Louisiana Tech with a passion for football and an aspiration to be a coach. He played for Tech and distinguished himself by being the first athlete named All American in 1941 and was team captain during the 1942 season.
After concluding that he lacked what it took to be an artist, Dunham explored other education options and uncovered an interest in health care. He worked full time to help fund his tuition as he pursued training in health information management, at that time called medical records administration. He decided that working in a medical setting would augment his studies, and so he took a job as an orderly at the Jackson Parish Hospital in Jonesboro. Dunham completed the hospital’s Emergency Medical Technician training and said the EMT training and experience, coupled with his work as an orderly, gave him valuable insight to the patient’s experience.
Gregory was scheduled to graduate in 1942, but the desire to serve his country in World War II came first. He became a physical training officer for the Fourth Air Force in California where he continued to play football from 1942-1945.
Before Dunham graduated, the hospital promoted him to director of medical records, utilization review, quality assurance and risk management. Dunham credits the thorough education in his major as being instrumental to his on-the-job success. An unexpected aspect of Dunham’s job as director was that he continued to serve as an oncall EMT. When the emergency came, he would leave his office and head down to the ambulance area. Despite the nontraditional component of this first HIM position, Dunham loved his work. Today, almost a year into his position at Ochsner, Dunham still finds satisfaction in wearing more than one hat: He directs HIM operations for the physician clinic practices and also for the hospital inpatient and outpatient services. Dunham cites education and family for helping him get where he is today. A first-generation college student, he has repaid the support of both.
A newly formed San Francisco 49ers took notice of Gregory. He and 10 others from the Fourth made up the original 49ers team. Gregory was named All Pro for both 1946 and 1947, and was the first Tech student to make it onto a pro team. Gregory returned to Tech in 1947 and completed his degree. He then began coaching, a career that took him all over the country and included a post at the Virginia Military Academy. There he helped develop the now customary “I Formation.” He also coached high school football in Arkansas. The strains of coaching caught up with Gregory and on his doctor’s recommendation he sought a less stressful occupation. In 1966, Gregory returned to Tech where he put his education degree to use teaching recreation classes. For the next 20 years he continued his career at Tech, first heading the newly created recreation major and later managing Tech’s Maxie Lambright Intramural Sports Center. In retirement Gregory continues to support his alma mater. He lives in Ruston and attends most of the football games. He also visits the College of Education to spend time with friends who have not yet retired.
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DISTINGUISHED COLLEGE ALUMNI OF THE YEAR
YOUNG ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR
YOUNG ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR
DR. CARLTON RUSS GREER
Class of ‘63
Class of ‘79
BRENNAN EASLEY: CREATING THE MOLD
BRENNAN EASLEY IS LOUISIANA TECH’S FIRST-EVER YOUNG Alumnus of the Year. The award was set up to honor graduates of the past decade for their contributions of time and service to Tech and to their profession and their community. Easley transferred to Tech at the beginning of his sophomore year in 1992. The civil engineering major quickly immersed himself in his studies and campus life. He was elected president of the American Society of Civil Engineers and during his senior year was selected as the outstanding civil engineering student. Easley graduated in 1996 and became a project engineer for Williams Gas Pipeline, based in Tulsa, Okla.
B.S., PHYSICS COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AND SCIENCE
B.ARCH., ARCHITECTURE COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS
Greer is head of neurosurgery at Glenwood Regional Medical Center-West Monroe and is a staff member at St. Francis Medical Center-Monroe and North Monroe Medical Center. Greer opened his private practice, Greer Neurosurgery Clinic, in Monroe in 1977.
Ruston native Mike Walpole owns a small, local architecture firm that bears his name. Walpole’s most recent Tech-related project was the rebuilding of Hale Hall. Hale presented these challenges: It had to be an exact replica of the 1898 structure from the outside (see page 4), yet have all the modern amenities on the inside, plus meet current code requirements.
Easley’s work routinely included trips to numerous scattered pipeline locations from Houston to New York. In addition to the travel, he made more than 12 moves working as a project engineer. After a number of years, the travel schedule began to wear on Easley. Ready to settle down, he began to consider other employment options.
As a student, Walpole recalls that his sophomore studio class met in the old Hale Hall. He never imagined that 25 years later, Walpole, the architect, would design the replica.
The idea of owning and running a business held great appeal for Easley. When the opportunity opened up for him to come home to Baton Rouge and be part owner of his family’s industrial construction company, Easley didn’t hesitate.
In high school, Walpole enjoyed math and drawing and considered architecture an ideal way to combine his interests into a career. After finishing his five-year professional degree, Walpole served as an apprentice for three years at Wells and Parker, an architecture firm in Monroe. In 1988 Walpole returned to Ruston and established his own firm.
That was four years ago and Easley hasn’t looked back. Besides mooring him professionally and personally, the move also made it easier for him to do something he had always tried to make a priority: staying involved with and giving back to his alma mater.
After graduating from Tech, Greer interned with NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston. He went on to receive his M.D. at LSU-New Orleans, continued his studies at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks Air Force Base, San Antonio, and then returned to NASA’s staff. He says his decision to combine physics and medicine is perhaps what made him an attractive knowledge base to the Air Force during the Vietnam and Cold War eras. In the Directorate of Bioastronautics of the Space and Missile Systems Organization, Greer served as a research flight surgeon, monitoring military astronauts and assisting in the manned orbiting laboratory program. He attained the rank of major. Also while in the military, Greer was principal investigator and medical monitor on a joint study with the Air Force, the Department of Transportation, and General Motors in which he headed up research using the first human volunteers in air-bag crash tests. He later received an Air Force Letter of Commendation for his efforts in the development of the air-bag passive-restraint system.
He has worked on more than 200 architectural projects including Grambling Hall, Squire Creek Clubhouse, Temple Baptist Church, Christ Community Church, American Bank, and Ruston Building & Loan. Louisiana Contractors recognized Walpole’s work with the Best Private Building Award for Temple Baptist Church in 1997 and the Award of Merit in the Private Building category for Squire Creek Country Club in 2002.
Greer, who enjoys playing the trumpet as “The Cotton Doc” in the group The Cotton Doc and the Distributors, has maintained close ties to Tech. From 1994 to 1999, he was an adjunct professor of biomedical engineering at Tech. He recently served on Tech’s Engineering and Science Foundation board.
Although he could have attended other universities, Walpole said that Tech stood out from the rest. He sought out a program whose values mirrored those of the community in which it resides.
Easley was one of the original members of the young alumni committee, formed in 2002. Also in 2002, he helped establish and then served as president of the Baton Rouge area chapter of CHAMPS, a group that supports Tech athletics. The group recently raised money for the Tech weight room and is currently raising funds for a new fence to be put up around Joe Aillet Stadium. Easley also stays involved with Tech by supporting the football team. A self-proclaimed die-hard Tech Bulldogs fan, Easley has rarely missed a home game since 1998. He does confess to missing one game last year, which happened to fall on his wedding day.
For the Bulldogsʼ Nov. 13 game against Tulsa in Shreveportʼs Independence Stadium, Brennan Easley came up from Baton Rouge prepared for temps to drop from the already cool kickoff reading of 52 degrees.
Every season Easley picks an away game to attend and makes it a sort of “mini-vacation.” He’s been to Penn State and Knoxville, among others. Easley finds the Tech fans at away games to be some of the most loyal and enjoys being one of their number, if only now and again. Easley lives in Zachary with his wife, Rhonda, and their young son, William “Clay” Easley.
10 | Louisiana Tech Magazine
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Cutting the ribbon at Hale Hall are, from left, state Sen. Bob Kostelka, Mildred and Lucius McGehee of Ruston, President Dan Reneau, and Louisiana Board of Regents member Bob Levy. Other ribbon cutters included Tom Jones of Triad Builders, state Rep. Hollis Downs, architect Mike Walpole, and Wayne Parker, University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors member.
The Equinox Jazz Quintet set the mood for the alumni awards dinner. Bach Norwood is on the bass.
Freshman professional aviation major David Keller of Luling gives his all in The Marching Band of Pride.
Ken Block, lead singer and acoustic guitarist for the band Sister Hazel, prepares to perform at the Thomas Assembly Center.
The alumni and friends barbecue, held under a big tent outside the Thomas Assembly Center, offered catch-up time along with the food.
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Alumnus of the Year Robert “Bobby” Rawle and President Dan Reneau wear emblems of pride on their lapels at the alumni awards dinner.
Senior speech major Lindsey Bergeron of Metairie and junior marketing major Travis Napper of Monroe reign as queen and top escort of homecoming.
Running back and Doak Walker Award candidate Ryan Moats, a junior sociology major from Dallas, rushes 99 yards in a losing effort against UTEP.
The Class of 1954 gathers on the steps of Howard Center for the Performing Arts. They received 50year certificates at the eighth annual Golden Society Reunion Brunch.
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He left football, (someone named Terry Bradshaw was available to take his place), but still earned a bachelor’s in health and physical education in 1969 and a master’s in 1974. “IN GENESIS 1:21, IT SAYS HE MADE THE CREATURES OF THE SEA AND THE BIRDS, EVERY WINGED BIRD, ACCORDING TO ITS KIND. YOU SEE, YOU DON’T GO BUT 20 VERSES TILL THEY GOT DUCKS, WHICH I LIKE THAT.” – Phil Robertson
He was a high school coach at first. But then came “the bar years” and a lot of “carrying on.” He ran the bar, and after a particularly bad brawl there one night, he was on the run from the law. For good measure, he also ditched his wife, Kay, and their children. Robertson sums it up: “I was in a downward spiral, as they say.” When he got around to wanting his family back, Kay suggested he first have a chat with a preacher who had braved the bar one night to try to save him. What started as a wife’s ultimatum ended with a changed Robertson being baptized at age 28. With a clear head for the first time in a decade, he went back to teaching. “I did that for about a year or two, then I told Kay, ‘You see this little duck call right here?’ And she said, ‘I noticed you work on that thing all the time.’ I said, ‘That thing will sell. But I don’t have time to get it into production and teach at the same time.’” So with a little down payment help from his dad, he and the family got a place on the Ouachita where he fished commercially for more than 10 years. A No. 3 washtub mounded with buffalo brought $30. His wife and four sons would truck the hauls into town to sell, pay the light company and return with a bill of groceries. The fish also bought time for making and marketing duck calls.
Laden with lanyards full of his famous products, Phil Robertson demonstrates why both he and his calls measure up to the company name of Duck Commander. As for his plentiful hair, he says it comes in handy when he rises at 4 a.m. in 6-degree weather for a duck-hunting boat ride in, oh, say, Idaho. He asserts that with a beard, the wind “literally does not even touch your face.”
DESPITE A FAITH-BASED UPBRINGING, IT TOOK HIM TILL age 28 to get God. But Phil Robertson got religion at age 11. That’s when he brought down his very first ducks. Half out of his mind with joy, he shucked off his clothes, braved the brutally cold water 40 yards out to where his dogs had locked in, retrieved his prizes, met back up with his clothes on the bank, and tore off to show the folks at home. Home, by the way, was a crude structure built using only a cross-cut saw and ax. Robertson, one of six children raised near Vivian in Caddo Parish, didn’t see indoor plumbing until he was half-grown. 14 | Louisiana Tech Magazine
“We were raised very, very poor, and when I’m talking about poor, I’m talking very poor,” he says.
Robertson hit the sporting goods stores pretty hard and sold a few calls. Mostly he got run off, even though he had an argument ready for why they should buy from someone just in off the street. “I’d say, ‘Listen, Col. Sanders at one point fried up one chicken and said I got a recipe here that’ll work. But he had to start somewhere.’” His first sale was to the old Gene’s Sporting Goods in Monroe in the Howard Griffin building. He sold the calls for $4.27 each and cleared more than half of that after overhead. Then, seeing the mom-and-pops fall to Wal-Mart, he turned his attention to the growing retail giant. He actually found some success just going store to store. Eventually Wal-Mart’s Bentonville, Ark., headquarters offered him hard-copy authorization to do what he was already doing.
The first year he sold $8,000 worth of calls; the second year, $13,500; the third year $20,000. He kept running the hoop nets, and Kay and the kids kept lugging fish into town. The annual tallies rose: $37,000, $50,000, $80,000, $100,000. At the six-figure mark, he retired the fishing business. “Now we’ll fish for the fun of it,” he remembers telling the boys. Computers seemed the next reasonable step. Robertson doesn’t touch them — “my sons and all of them, they get on that thing” — but they helped make him a millionaire. Every few minutes, computers show someone buying something his company produces — duck calls ranging in price to well over $100 (his favorite Cut Down Reacher is only $16.99), videos/DVDs, clothing, accessories, spices or a Sav-TGun Butt that secures your weapon in the blind. Today he takes his twin ministries (Jesus and duck hunting) all over the map. He’s really not a stranger anyplace. A Google search of Duck Commander Phil Robertson returns nearly 2,000 hits. Young women ask him to sign their unmentionables, people pull up their shirts to show him tattoos of his logo, and children are among his biggest devotees. “A lot of the moms and dads, they’ll say, ‘Mr. Robertson, this is Hunter,’ or whatever his name is, and they bring girls too, and they say their kids used to watch cartoons but now on Saturday mornings they say, ‘Mom, put on the Duck Man.’” He gets the footage for the videos as he duck hunts across the globe. He brings the footage back to his home/business compound which includes warehousing, manufacturing and production facilities. There they turn out the videos. And there Robertson still runs the cut where the reed sits on all the wooden calls. Every single one. Now, at age 58, he is letting the younger generation take over operations. “But I never have run it anyway,” he says. “Miss Kay has always run it.”
But the story of his life is nothing short of rich. A gifted quarterback, he was a sought-after college recruit. Louisiana Tech won out, mostly for its proximity to familiar hunting grounds. Then hunting trumped football.
“OF ALL THE TEACHERS I HAD AT TECH, ROBERT
“We were out there practicing when the geese started coming over,” he says, his head cocked toward a memory replaying on the ceiling of his Ouachita River home. “There’s just something about that sound, you know? I’m looking way up there at them, and I thought, ‘Man, what am I doing here?’”
LIVELY. I MINORED IN ENGLISH, OF ALL THINGS,
SNYDER WAS MY FAVORITE. HE MADE EVERYTHING
PROBABLY BECAUSE OF HIM.” – Phil Robertson
Phil Robertson (No. 10) was a Tech quarterback in the late 1960s, but ultimately couldnʼt see playing football during duck season.
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JOEL TRAMMELL, PERFORMANCE EXPERT
WITH REVENUE GROWTH OF 9,400 PERCENT OVER FIVE YEARS, AUSTIN-BASED NETQOS WAS RECENTLY RANKED THE FASTEST-GROWING TECHNOLOGY COMPANY IN TEXAS. BUT 1987 ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING GRAD JOEL TRAMMELL, COFOUNDER AND CEO, DIDN’T JUST WAKE UP ONE MORNING ATOP SUCH A COMPETITIVE HEAP. HE TELLS THE STORY BEST:
AGAINST THE ODDS
Joel Trammell, front center, CEO and president of Austin-based NetQoS Inc., has made Tech alumni part of his winning 60-employee team. From front left are graphic designer Ginger McBride (ʻ04), Trammell (ʻ87), and senior product architect Ben Haley (ʻ88). From back left are staff accountant Cara Biersmith (ʻ04); Gene Trammell (ʻ78), director of account management, production engineering and support; and product specialist Ben Erwin (ʻ04). NetQos is expected to add 30 more employees by fall of 2005.
June 2000 was the end of the bubble, but people didn’t know that. The nation had begun the worst three years of corporate spending on Information Technology. We took a new product to a major trade show in September 2001. I went to the show floor to hear Jack Welch on CNBC promote his new book. That’s when I heard the first tower had been hit. It was obvious that the whole world had just changed. And we were already in a recession. After that, potential customers would say, “You have a wonderful product, but we just laid off 15 people plus we have to cut another $500,000 from our budget.” We certainly burned through more money than we anticipated, but our investors didn’t panic. THE UPSIDE OF A DOWNTURN
There were some advantages of having started at that time. I wouldn’t want to compete today starting from scratch. The downturn also gave us the opportunity to get some of the best and brightest employees, not only from Tech but from other universities. A small company like ours wouldn’t have been able to compete at the height of the bubble. SNAGGING LARGE CUSTOMERS
My wife, Cathy, our chief technology officer, got a job with Schlumberger, and they are huge. So that was our first customer. Having that flagship customer right out of the gate made it easier to approach other big companies. SUCCESS HAS A RING TO IT
Our bell has become part of the culture at NetQoS. Anytime an order comes in, we ring the bell. It’s a great rallying cry, sort of like spraying the fire hose when Tech scores. LIVING UP TO THE QOS ACRONYM: QUALITY OF SERVICE
Several years ago, we installed our software at a big firm so they could see what traffic was going across their wide-area network. And we said, “Do you know what your No. 1 source of network traffic is?” And they said, “Lotus Notes?” We said, “You’re right; your employees e-mail and file-share through Lotus Notes. Do you know what the No. 2 application is?” No, they didn’t. “It’s Napster,” we said. And it wasn’t just internal employees, it was external people too. So we were able to eliminate significant traffic and help them avoid a major security risk. ENTREPRENEURIAL GROOMING, BLOOMING
My high school speech teacher’s husband used to go with us on debate trips, and he bought and sold businesses. So he shared some entrepreneurial concepts. Around the same time, I started working for a man who had fireworks stands. He was a Tech grad who taught in Minden but could afford a Porsche.
16 | Louisiana Tech Magazine
And he shared some business insights with me. Then I got my engineering degree. The opportunity to teach at Navy Nuclear Power School fit with the concept that maybe I wanted to be a university professor like my dad had been at Tech. But before I got out of the military, I started a computer resale business. THE ROAD TO AUSTIN
Cathy and I married in 1990, and she wanted a Ph.D. The University of Texas offered her a nice package, so we moved to Austin. The computer business was mail order, so it was movable too. After that, I opened a small computer store north of Austin and a second one in Austin. Cathy got her Ph.D., and the Schlumberger job followed, which was on the southwest side of town. So I sold the business to a partner. At the same time, I had sold software to a homebuilder in Austin who had about 25 locations. We were a little ahead of our time because homebuilders were then kind of technology-adverse. Then I went out to Advanced Micro Devices in Austin. AMD makes computer chips that go inside PCs. Their big competitor is Intel but the AMD employees were using Intel-based machines. They had me manage the conversion to AMD-based machines. I worked there about a year. But I had been an entrepreneur who was able to see a problem and fix it and who hadn’t had to ask permission or hear people say, “No, that’s not your problem.” After seeing red tape in the military, this just confirmed in another large organization that it wasn’t for me. Meanwhile, Cathy left Schlumberger but served as their consultant and developed a product for them that had applications to other large companies. At the same time, 1999, new companies were being funded at ridiculous valuations. I had always used my own money, but a friend knew some investors out of New York. I spent a week writing a business plan. They flew down, and ultimately wanted the deal. ON STARTING A BUSINESS
We lived conservatively, waited to have kids and had our educations to fall back on. You can’t wait until you have a mortgage and three kids ready for college. It’s a lot easier if you live in an apartment and can drive an old car. TECH FOLKS STACK UP
I’ve learned that the best and brightest at Tech are as good as the best and brightest anywhere. People like Karl Malone and the Wyly brothers have done OK for themselves. The lesson is you have to compete. You have to go play the game to see what is out there.
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“PAINTING IS A WAY FOR ME TO LEARN ABOUT MYSELF AND SEPARATE MYSELF FROM OTHERS. IT IS THE BEST WAY FOR ME TO CONVEY WHO I AM, AND AS LONG AS I CAN CONTINUE TO BECOME A BETTER ARTIST, I WILL CONTINUE TO DERIVE SATISFACTION FROM IT.” - Albino Hinojosa
As for life-shaping experiences, Hinojosa goes back to the art scholarship he received from Texarkana College.
Recently he donated 167 pieces of his work to be housed in the university archives’ digital library.
“I grew up in a poor family. That scholarship made everything that followed possible. I was able to pursue art and my education. It was the most important event in my life.”
Before joining Tech, Hinojosa worked as a freelance illustrator for five years, which he found to be a valuable experience. “I never turned down a job and although I regularly worked into the wee hours of the night, I didn’t mind it because I knew that I was learning something and was doing myself some good.”
With his family unable to afford art supplies, he was a high school senior before he bought his first paintbrush. Before that he simply created art from what was readily available, primarily wood. “I had a knife and I spent years carving intricate wooden guns out of wood, not realizing that they were a form of sculpture. It kept my mind and hands active and I still have the nicks and scars on my hands to show for that work.” He gave up wood carving around age 17, but still considers sculpture a passion. One of Hinojosa’s pieces, the Sam Thomas Memorial, resides next to the Thomas Assembly Center.
Ultimately he came to an important realization that led him to teaching: “I no longer wanted to be in a position where my art and creativity depend upon income it can earn.” Since that time, he has painted only for enjoyment and learning, and with this goal in mind: to please the eye and resonate with the viewer.
Today, Hinojosa directs his attention to still-life compositions.
EVER CHANGING CANVAS: THE ART OF ALBINO (BINO) HINOJOSA SINCE RETIRING IN 2000 FROM LOUISIANA TECH AFTER 29 years, Albino Hinojosa spends much of his time in a sacred space: his art studio.
American West. A few childhood pictures and family keepsakes intermingle with the innumerable objects that Hinojosa collects as subjects for his paintings.
The Texas native joined the Tech faculty in 1971 and graduated from Tech in 1975 with his M.F.A. “Tech was a wonderful place to work,” he said. “The faculty and administration were supportive and did well by me.”
His paintings feature things once used in everyday activities. His studio is crammed with such objects: large metal ladles and spoons, well-used kerosene lanterns, chipped enamelware bowls, all hanging from the rafters. Below, old children’s toys and worn vegetable scales keep company with sturdy earthenware jugs and lathes.
Like many artists’ studios, Hinojosa’s space is filled with objects of interest and inspiration and which reflect his personality. Fond of antique toy trucks, some of which he restores, Hinojosa’s collection has swelled to about 500 pieces. His favorite: a long, yellow car like one he played with as a child. “I remembered that car from long ago and set out to find one,” he said. “It took me two years of searching until I found one for sale, and I had to have it.” Wooden tables are lined along the walls of his studio and piled high with books, many of them on the subject of the 18 | Louisiana Tech Magazine
Through Hinojosa’s paintings, the relics of ordinary life evoke nostalgia for simpler times. “I particularly like objects that show wear and distress,” he said. “Chipped layers of paint or an odd link of chain provide an opportunity for me to tell my story.” Hinojosa has his reasons for being an artist. “Painting is a way for me to learn about myself and separate myself from others. It is the best way for me to convey who I am, and as long as I can continue to become a better artist, I will continue to derive satisfaction from it.”
“I paint a certain type of composition until my interest wanes and I head in another direction. I used to enjoy landscapes, now I am occupied by still lifes,” he said. Last June, Hinojosa’s painting “Still Life with Peaches” won best of show in the National Acrylic Painter’s Association’s first membership show in San Pedro, Calif. The painting features a grouping of peaches against two pieces of worn, blue enamelware. Natural light throws shadows across the fruit as it sits atop a wooden tabletop, perhaps waiting to ripen or destined for a pie. Country-themed botanical print wallpaper forms the backdrop to the arrangement. The painting is a prime example of how Hinojosa expertly draws attention to common objects and details, and he admits to being pleased with the result.
Still Life with Camellia Sasanqua
Many of Hinojosa’s paintings have been selected for permanent collections, including those of the South Arkansas Art Center (El Dorado), the Tyler Museum of Fine Arts (Tyler, Texas), the LSU Art Library (Baton Rouge), the Masur Museum of Art (Monroe), and the Louisiana Tech Art Gallery. Over the years he has produced more than a dozen one-man shows in Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas. He also has painted for commercial clients, including magazines, publishers, banks, hospitals and national corporations. Hibiscus
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“I expected a sit-down-behind-the-desk, traditional class, and it was the opposite,” he said. Among the things he learned? “I learned a lot about working with groups and a lot about leadership responsibilities. Even though there was an age difference, working with undergraduates and graduate students, the playing field was level because we all had equal responsibilities. We learned what the components of a good team were, and I saw that I had an aptitude for teamwork.” Dr. Jon Pratt, an assistant professor of finance/research, says mentorsʼ input can range from complex technical advice to simple insights about making phone contacts.
“IT IS A VALUABLE ELEMENT FOR STUDENTS TO The winners of the 2004 Top Dawg Business Plan Competition, which fosters the commercialization of research at Tech, are from left, Taylor Stein (ʼ05), Kyle Guice (ʼ04), and Noah Hayes (ʼ05).
HAVE AN EXPERIENCED BUSINESSPERSON WITH WHOM THEY CAN CONSULT ON THEIR IDEAS. IN
With the help of a new course being offered at Louisiana Tech, that’s what students are trying to do with the university’s cutting-edge research. They’re looking to put products to work ranging from food packaging that detects spoilage to electrode technology that targets Parkinson’s to a “tattoo” that could cut the mortality rate of dairy cattle. In the Innovative Venture Research courses, undergraduate and graduate students from multiple disciplines evaluate the commercial feasibility of technologies developed at Tech and try to pinpoint markets for them as well.
“The reason I wanted to be in this class was to see and learn for myself as opposed to just hearing about a subject,” she said. “We’ve never been offered this kind of process before.” Student teams have recently targeted technologies including: • A “smart tattoo” that shows if a dairy cow is receiving sufficient calcium to prevent illness. • A variable length focal lens that allows convexity alterations. Lenses currently need to be switched out in order to change the convexity.
Senior electrical engineering major Eric Rodrigue of Lake Charles took the class when he was a junior and saw it as an opportunity to peek in on the future.
• Disposable detectors that can be used to measure the alcohol level in a person’s blood or determine the presence of the E coli bacteria.
“I really like the fact I get to look at all the professors’ research going on around campus,” he said.
• A cantilever sensor badge, designed for workplace detection of such dangers as a lack of oxygen or the presence of carbon monoxide. The product’s self-calibration feature was touted as a competitive edge where OSHA compliance is concerned.
Wimbreth Adams of Baton Rouge graduated with a degree 20 | Louisiana Tech Magazine
CEnIT is Tech’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology. Jetton’s class was headquartered at CEnIT and led by Dr. Jon Pratt, an assistant professor of finance/research in the College of Administration and Business. Pratt stressed the interdisciplinary nature of the lab-style course.
CAN MOTIVATE AND CHALLENGE THE STUDENTS.”
“We’re actually soliciting different perspectives from different backgrounds,” he said. “We want technical and non-technical involvement.”
HARVEST IT. EXPLOIT IT. COMMERCIALIZE IT. DEPLOY IT. in accounting this year. Along with Rodrigue, she took the InVenture class last winter when it first premiered.
He also liked the facilities – “24/7 access to the CEnIT with the best technology, access to the boardroom for holding meetings and doing conference calls anytime,” he said.
PARTICULAR I LOVE INVOLVING TECH ALUMNI WHO - Dr. Jon Pratt
GET IT OFF THE SHELF.
Jetton said he was impressed with the support from professors and volunteer advisers alike. “It seemed like we had a lot of professors because of all the mentors who came in every class, the business leaders and the other professors.”
In addition to students, Pratt said, the program needs a steady supply of input from outside the university, generally from area businesspeople who are willing to work with the student teams.
• A tire designed never to go flat but still retain the suspension qualities of an air-filled product. The tire’s unique properties were expected to be especially useful for mowers, wheelbarrows and medical carts. • A plastic wrap that could detect food spoilage was expected to have both industrial and household applications in the area of food safety. • Concentric ring electrode technology offering bio-electric recording as well as localized tissue stimulation that could fight Parkinson’s and obesity. The course, backed by a three-year, $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Partnerships for Innovation program, brought high schoolers into the mix for the first time this past summer. Justin Jetton, a Haughton High senior, said he was surfing a Tech Web site when he came across the InVenture Research course and saw that high school students could go. He was in for more surprises when he actually took the class.
“We’re always recruiting and looking for mentors,” he said. “This course is going to be held over and over again. We need businesspeople, community leaders. If we don’t use them this quarter, we’ll use them next quarter. “It is a valuable element for students to have an experienced businessperson with whom they can consult on their ideas. In particular I love involving Tech alumni who can motivate and challenge the students.” The mentors’ involvement could run the gamut from the most complex issues of business, marketing or technical advice, to something as simple as advising students about how best to conduct all the phone calls they have to make. “The CEnIT and Tech have truly made a valuable opportunity available to the students, an opportunity where students can engage and stretch themselves,” he said. “It demands hard work from all of the students on the team to deliver a quality work product.”
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F O U N D AT I O N S P O T L I G H T
F O U N D AT I O N S P O T L I G H T
‘SHE INSTILLED IDEALS IN US’
“SHE HAD A FLAIR FOR THE THEATRICAL, SPOKE ELOQUENTLY, GESTURED MAJESTICALLY, AND EVEN PLAYED THE PIANO AND SANG TO HER CLASS TO MAKE A PARTICULAR POINT.” - John Morris, former student
Corrie Smith, shown here shortly before she enrolled at Louisiana Tech in 1926, never forgot the gracious old Smith Hotel in which she grew up. The hotel burned down in the early 1940s, but Corrie Smith preserved its memory in her painting, below. Today the painting hangs in the Union Parish Library, which sits on the hotelʼs former site.
CORRIE SMITH ARMSTRONG DID NOT LIVE A CONVENTIONAL LIFE. A Louisiana Tech grad, she taught almost four decades, used her summers to earn a master’s, kept her career by devising a commuter marriage, was quiet but enjoyed performing. She continues to help educate. When she died last year at age 94, her hand-written will gave Tech more than a half-million dollars for Farmerville High scholarships. Tech alum John Morris, special adviser to the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, had her for English twice and sat in her homeroom each day of his ’60-’64 high school career. She charmed even the boy who preferred math and science. “She had a flair for the theatrical, spoke eloquently, gestured majestically, and even played the piano and sang to her class to make a particular point.” He remembers that she also forgave student transgressions easily. “She actually taught me more about human nature than about literature — that people respond to kindness better than to harsh criticism.” Judge Robbie James, co-valedictorian with Morris and a Tech alumnus as well, says his former teacher imparted understanding. “I remember when President Kennedy was assassinated — it didn’t sink in for a lot of kids, and she talked to us about it. I remember too that she talked to us about Martin Luther King and played the ‘I Have a Dream’ recording. She did not discuss it in political terms but in terms of how eloquent and moving it was. She instilled ideals in us but she was subtle in the way she addressed important social issues.” Dianne Hollis Lundy, who taught for 33 years, collected her high school diploma alongside Morris and James and remembers their teacher playing the piano at commencement. Lundy says she went to college well-prepared. “I placed in honors English because of my ACT — I’m sure because of the background she gave me.”
22 | Louisiana Tech Magazine
He knew her too as a financially conservative person who was, however, not unreasonable. “If she needed an automobile, she bought an automobile,” he says. Retired Judge James Dozier was a classmate of Tettleton’s. “Miss Corrie was one of the best teachers I ever had,” he says. “I had her for English literature, and she knew it, she really did.” Tech alum and retired teacher Fay Futch, who still calls Judge Dozier “James Marion” when she bumps into him, knew Corrie Evelyn Smith even before they taught together. “Corrie was valedictorian of Farmerville High School. She was very talented, very bright, but a very meek sort of person. She was the organist at First Baptist Church of Farmerville. She was very versatile. My son always said she really could make literature come alive.” Mrs. Armstrong’s cousin, Don Kennedy, was executor of her estate, much of which came from family timberland which had appreciated greatly. Though his cousin “kept her checkbook close,” she understood the value of seeing broader horizons. “She traveled extensively, even to England. She went to nearly every grave that was literary.” He says she was crushed by her father’s death right after she came to Tech in 1926 — but never missed a beat and graduated on time. She later earned a master’s in art and music education from the University of Chicago. “During the summers, she had a cousin up there working on the Oldsmobile line in Detroit who would take vacation and come down here to visit and then take her back with them. Then she would come home by bus,” Kennedy says. She loved music, playing piano and accordion for nursing home residents, even after she too was in a retirement home.
Lundy keeps some schoolwork graded by her former teacher. “I can still see her standing in front of the class. She was just very softspoken. I don’t remember her ever having to raise her voice.”
As for art, she created more than 1,000 pieces, Kennedy says. Eventually she married onetime Louisiana artist laureate Amos Lee Armstrong. “She had a pattern,” Kennedy says. “She spent weekends in Shreveport with her husband, and then at 4:30 a.m. on Monday she would drive from Shreveport to Farmerville to teach, and then at 3 p.m. Friday, back she went.”
A Farmerville graduate of 1950, bank president Zeke Tettleton knew Mrs. Armstrong in many parts: as a teacher, artist, banking customer, as an accordionist who entertained at class reunions. He also worked with her on the school newspaper. “The Plow had been defunct, but under her supervision it was restarted around 1947,” he says.
Judge Robbie James says the couple enriched everyone around them. “I remember thinking they traveled in more sophisticated and artistic circles than we did and that we were lucky to be exposed to them. She helped instill an appreciation not only in literature and the arts, but in hindsight I see that she was a better teacher than we were students.”
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F O U N D AT I O N S P O T L I G H T
NEWS AROUND CAMPUS
GALA HONORS RENEAUS, HAILS BIOMED BUILDING PLANS
The Louisiana Tech University Foundation was founded in 1962 with a mission of providing support to Louisiana Tech. Private resources are increasingly important in a time of decreasing state financial support and provide the margin of excellence that distinguishes Tech. Julie Wilkerson, outgoing board president, presided over the September 2004 annual meeting of the Foundation and reported highlights including increased contributions to the Foundation, a total of 106 funded $100,000 endowed professorships and 10 funded $1 million endowed chairs.
BENNY DENNY Foundation president
Wilkerson also reported that a property acquisition program undertaken by the Foundation and the university provided approximately 1,000 new student parking spaces adjacent to campus and room for expansion. The meeting also included the presentation of the Foundation’s annual audit by independent auditors, who rendered an unqualified opinion with no findings. The meeting also featured the election of new officers: Benny Denny of Ruston, president; Jack E. Byrd Jr. of Minden, vice president; Elizabeth Green of Ruston, secretary; and Julie Wilkerson of Pineville, treasurer/past president. Newly elected board members include: Connie
E. Bradford of Ruston, Woodrow W. Chew Jr. of Baton Rouge, Dr. Benjamin P. Haley Sr. of Ruston, Roberta Green Hinton of Ruston and Perry W. Watson of Alexandria. Named as Privileged Directors of the Foundation were Tommy Folk of Ruston, Mike McCallister of Louisville, Ky., Richard See of Lake Charles and Leu Wilder of Shreveport. Dr. Agnes Miller of St. Joseph was recognized as Privileged Director Emerita. There are many ways that you can provide valuable support to Louisiana Tech through the Foundation, including: • Making an annual contribution to the Foundation. • Taking advantage of a corporate matching program. • Establishing an endowed scholarship or professorship. • Including the Tech Foundation in your will. • Creating a trust that benefits you and Tech. • Donating life insurance you no longer need. • Funding a charitable gift annuity.
Reneau, Tech’s 13th president and an internationally noted author/researcher, established the pioneering biomedical engineering program in 1972 when he was a professor of chemical engineering. The new building, one of the few approved in the capital outlay budget, has received approval at $6.3 million; 22,000 square feet were added to original plans, bringing the total to 52,000 square feet and the price tag to $8.2 million. Grants and gifts are funding the addition. The new building will sit next to the Institute for Micromanufacturing on the main campus. An enclosed walkway called “Collaboration Alley” will link the two buildings. Construction on the new facility is expected to begin in 2005. The biomedical engineering and rehabilitation science programs are currently housed off-campus in the old Ruston Hospital.
GOVERNOR TOURS IFM, SAYS RESEARCH ‘MOVING IN RIGHT DIRECTION’ Gov. Kathleen Blanco saw the future unfold as she toured Tech’s Institute for Micromanufacturing on Nov. 4 and witnessed nanotechnology’s commercial applications for forestry, dairy farming and medicine.
For more information about these and other ways of supporting Tech, visit the Foundation’s Web site at www.latechalumni.org or call 318-255-7950 or 1-800-738-7950.
Louisiana Tech Foundation Assets
Louisiana Tech University Foundation Inc. Contributions
$40.0 M 38.3 M
$15.0 M $10.0 M
FY 01.02 $2,140,418
FY 02.03 $2,260,553
FY 03.04 $3,030,873
$5.0 M $0.0 M July 98
24 | Louisiana Tech Magazine
Earlier in the day the governor visited nearby Grambling State University and also attended a Ruston Kiwanis luncheon.
After meeting with Tech President Dan Reneau and viewing a film highlighting Tech’s biotechnology research, the governor gathered with faculty and student researchers at the IfM. There, she observed demonstrations of research in the field of nanotechnology, which is the science of creating new things from single atoms and molecules.
Tech celebrated final plans in May for a new Biomedical Engineering Building and announced that $1.9 million had been raised to add a wing. The gala also honored the man behind the history of Tech’s biomedical engineering program, Tech President Dan Reneau, and his wife, Linda.
ARTS FELLOWSHIP GOES TO GOLDSPIEL Dr. Alan Goldspiel, an associate professor of music, has received an Arts Fellowship Award for 2004-05 from the Louisiana State Arts Council. LSAC fellowships’ cash awards are granted through a highly competitive process and are based primarily on artistic excellence. They recognize and honor the artistic achievements of Louisiana’s exceptional individual artists. Goldspiel, a 2002 recipient of Tech’s Senate Chair Award, has been on the university’s faculty since 1995.
“I think you’re moving in the right direction,” Blanco said after handling prototypes and peering into microscopes. “We have to be creative.” Among the demonstrations she viewed were efforts to make paper white by cheaper and more environmentally friendly means than by bleaching, and non-invasive ways of determining calcium depletion in cows, glucose levels in diabetics, and the onset of seizures.
Gov. Kathleen Blanco tries a Segway for the first time. The personal transportation device, for which Tech alumnus Bart Thompson helped design a component, is used as part of the universityʼs product design classes.
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NEWS AROUND CAMPUS
NEWS AROUND CAMPUS
EXPOSITION PARIS ‘ONE OF BEST SHOWS’ FOR TECH
NEW DEANS TAKE UP DUTIES IN COES, ANS
Effects of Tech’s French Quarter — the time that art students studied in Paris this spring — are lasting longer than originally expected. “Exposition Paris,” featuring post-trip artwork by 17 students, was on display for nearly four months in the art galleries in the Visual Arts Center.
Two longtime faculty members are now deans: Dr. Stan Napper in the College of Engineering and Science and Dr. James Liberatos in the College of Applied and Natural Sciences.
Normally, Tech’s galleries are closed during the summer, said art professor Jonathan Donehoo, who heads up the School of Art’s graphic design area. This exhibition, however, elicited such a good response that officials decided to extend its run. “They did a great job,” Donehoo said. “People said it’s one of the best shows we’ve had.”
PROF’S SOFTWARE MAKES NATIONAL SPLASH It can help save big money, but it’s free. Dr. Chokchai “Box” Leangsuksun, an associate professor of computer science, helped by a team of 15 students, has released HA-OSCAR, a project in the works since late 2002. The upshot of the new software program is that it prevents costly computer down time. Box, who likes being referred to by his lifelong nickname, said to understand what HA-OSCAR is (High Availability Open Source Cluster Application Resource), you first have to understand OSCAR. “An open-source project is a programming community that does things together,” Box said. “They share a source code so that they can work together. OSCAR is a sort of giant computer where one computer controls all the others. Basically if you have one computer, like one human, you can only do so much, but if you want to solve problems quicker, you use multiple computers.”
Dr. Stan Napper
The French Quarter concept congealed after the Tech Rome program ended and art faculty got together and talked. “We realized we’ve benefited from traveling over our lifetime,” Donehoo said. “We really feel it is such an important part of a student’s overall education.” Junior Leonard Maiden, a studio art major from Shreveport, illustrated students viewing the Mona Lisa. The gallery wall served as his canvas.
Napper said two thoughts encompass his vision for the college: having passion and being the best, BEST also being an important acronym for the college: “Building Engineers and Scientists for Tomorrow.” Liberatos, newly named dean of Applied and Natural Sciences, is overseeing changes in the college that include new online associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in the area of health information management and the hope of an online master’s in HIM next. Liberatos has been at Tech since 1989 and has been interim dean of the College of Applied and Natural Sciences since 2002. Before that, he had served as associate dean and as director of research and graduate studies in the college in addition to teaching. Since 1998 he has also been chair of the university’s Athletics Council and faculty athletics representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Dr. James Liberatos
RUSTON’S 1940S POW CAMP GOES ONLINE Tech’s documentation on Camp Ruston, one of the largest World War II prisoner of war camps in the United States, is now available through the LOUISiana Digital Library.
MODERN ART MINGLES WITH BLACK BAYOU REFUGE Caddo Native American pottery was traded on it. Tenant farmers plowed it. A defunct state fish hatchery left artificial levees and ponds in it. When Alexis Wreden looks out at these 17 acres of Monroe’s Black Bayou Refuge, she anticipates the next phase of its history.
Camp Ruston was established in 1942 on 770 acres about seven miles northwest of Ruston and at its peak held 4,315 prisoners. Peggy Carter, archivist with Tech’s Prescott Memorial Library, said the materials were supplied by the university’s department of special collections, manuscripts and archives. The Camp Ruston Web site currently offers 242 items, but Carter said more will be added.
The assistant professor of architecture has secured nearly $20,000 in grants for the Wetlands Art Project, which mostly entails art sculptures that will help people interpret the flora and fauna of northeast Louisiana. Wreden calls her sculpture installations “mudflat boathouses.” The sculpture designs meld the look of bird blinds, temporary huts and abstract art. The project also includes a series of decks, a Caddo pottery-inspired snake walkway, informational signs about migratory birds, and a human sundial which works like this: “You will stand here on this bull’s-eye, and your shadow will tell you what time it is — just in case you need to know the time when you’re birdwatching,” she said.
Box said the problem with OSCAR is that when the “head” or “gateway” computer is down, all the connecting computers in the cluster go down. And even a few minutes of down time can cost businesses millions.
When the sculptures are completed next spring, people will be able to sit inside them and contemplate the natural setting.
The program has reaped cover stories in LINUX Journal, LINUX World and ClusterWorld.
Alexis Wreden, assistant professor of architecture, works on Wetlands Art Project models at her home studio.
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Napper, a Tech faculty member for 20 years, took on the role of dean after having been named interim dean of the College of Engineering and Science earlier this year. Napper has also served Tech as a professor of biomedical engineering, executive associate dean of COES, and director of the Center for Biomedical Engineering and Rehabilitation Science.
German prisoners of war at Camp Ruston pause while on work detail in a cotton field.
Carter said the Camp Ruston information — part of the Teaching American History in Louisiana project — can be downloaded for use in PowerPoint presentations and classroom teaching. To view the Camp Ruston Collection, visit http://louisdl.louislibraries.org.
ENGLEBRECHT RECEIVES AWARD FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT Louisiana’s certified public accountants have recognized a Tech faculty member for his accomplishments. The Society of Louisiana CPAs selected Dr. Ted D. Englebrecht to receive the association’s Lifetime Achievement in Accounting Education Award. He will now be nominated for the American Institute of CPAs National Lifetime Achievement in Accounting Education Award. Presented jointly by the LCPA and the AICPA, the state award recognizes full-time accounting educators who distinguish themselves as outstanding classroom instructors, participate in scholarly research and contribute to professional organizations. Englebrecht is a professor of professional accountancy in Tech’s College of Administration and Business and holds the Harold J. Smolinski Eminent Scholar Chair. Englebrecht, who came to Tech in 2001, has been in accounting education for more than 25 years and has influenced thousands of accounting students.
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NEWS ABOUT YOU WHAT’S NEW WITH YOU? Do you have news to share in the News About You section? Have you changed jobs, received a promotion, started a company? Written a book? Received an award? Made a scientific breakthrough? Exhibited your work in an art show? Married, had a child? News About You is just that. We want to share the stories of your accomplishments and milestones. Photos are always welcome, too. You can submit your information for News About You online at www.latechalumni.org and click on “Send Announcements.” Or, fill out the form on page 31 and mail your information to us.
BERTHA BRADFORD ROBINSON PIONEERING CHANGE HOMETOWN: Jonesboro GRADUATION: 1976, B.S., Early Childhood Education ADDITIONAL DEGREES: 1980, Master’s +30, Education Specialist, Northwestern State University; 1986, Ed.S., Administration and Supervision, NSU CURRENT POSITION: Principal, Quitman High HOW I GOT TO TECH: The Congress for Racial Equality was in my hometown working in support of our local civil rights movement. At the urging of CORE, my friend James Earl Potts and I enrolled at Tech in January 1965, the first two black students there. Our entry at Tech was immediately followed by the burning of several black churches in the area. ABOUT MY CAREER PATH: I left Tech for a time but after I returned and graduated, I worked four years at Jasper Henderson High in Jackson Parish as a Title I reading teacher. I transferred to Southside Elementary as a second-grade language arts teacher for eight years while also working on my master’s at NSU. Then I took a year’s sabbatical to study public administration at Ole Miss where I also supervised the reading clinic. Then I taught sixth-grade reading at Jonesboro Hodge Junior High for several years. Then I spent a semester at Grambling State working as an academic counselor and teaching study skills. I returned to Jackson Parish as acting principal at Jasper Henderson. When the principal returned, I went to Chatham High as assistant principal. Then I returned to Jasper Henderson as principal for five years. When the two schools merged as Chatham-Jasper Henderson, I was displaced. So I worked in the central office analyzing test data and helping out at different schools. In 2001 I became principal at Quitman High. TOUGHEST PROFESSIONAL CHALLENGE: When I was trying to get a principal’s position in the mid-’80s, I went for 35 interviews or more. I stopped counting. But I didn’t stop trying. TRIUMPH IN MY JOB: I am proud of the reception, cooperation and dedication I receive from my faculty and staff.
1956 ........................... Samuel Wyly, accounting, and Charles Wyly, accounting, received the Spirit of Entrepreneurship North Star Recognition for their philanthropy and community involvement at a festivity attended by hundreds of CEOs and executives from north Texas companies. The award recognizes community leaders who demonstrate the true spirit of entrepreneurship by running
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successful businesses and still giving back to the north Texas region.
1961 ........................... Jerry Box, geology (master’s 1968), was elected chairman of the board of Magnum Hunter Resources Inc., an independent oil and gas producer. He has been on the board since 1999 and is the former president and COO of Oryx Energy.
1967 ........................... Alan Gravel, civil engineering, was named 2004 Contractor Member of the Year by the Georgia Utility Contractors Association. He is founder and president of Willow Construction in Marietta, Ga.
1969 ........................... Michael Burrow, mechanical engineering, is chairman and CEO of Beaumont, Texasbased ENGlobal Corp. It was named the No. 1 firm for growth in the country by an industrial publication that tracks architecture, engineering and construction. The Zwieg Letter selected ENGlobal based on its 2003 revenues.
1970 ........................... David Baumann, wildlife management and conservation, retired as turkey project supervisor after a 30-year career at the South Carolina DNR. He received the 2004 Henry S. Mosby Award, presented by the National Wild Turkey Federation to an outstanding professional wildlife biologist who has made contributions to the research and management of wild turkeys. He lives in St. Stephen, S.C.
1973 ........................... Dr. Gary Dillard Joiner, history (master’s 1973), was awarded the Albert Castel Award for his book, “One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End,” published by Scholarly Resources. It tells the story of the Red River Campaign of the Civil War. The award is presented in alternate years by the Civil War Round Table of Kalamazoo, Mich., in honor of noted author and historian, Dr. Albert
Castel. Joiner is an assistant professor of history at LSU-Shreveport.
Dr. Wayne Willis, journalism, is professor of education in the department of elementary, reading and special education at Morehead State University in Morehead, Ky. He also writes and illustrates children’s books.
NOW RESIDES IN: Honolulu
DEGREE: 1990, B.A., Journalism FURTHER DEGREES: 1992, M.S., Communications, University of Tennessee CURRENT POSITION: Columnist/Production Editor, Honolulu StarBulletin
MY CAREER PATH: I worked at six newspapers over the last 13 years, moving around for better opportunities, except for one paper which I left in disgust. So, my record’s not bad, 5-1. I came to Honolulu in 1998, and I hope to stay — who wouldn’t? In my closet I’ve got casual shorts and dress shorts — that’s it. This is also the first place I’ve gotten mail without the yellow change-ofaddress stickers since the first Bush administration.
Jim Beadles, finance (master’s 1996), is president and CEO of Layflat Products Inc., a Shreveport-headquartered mop manufacturer. Layflat has eight production lines, and each line is capable of making 1,400 mops a day.
TRIUMPHS IN MY JOB: I write a column called Digital Slob, and it’s about living in the digital age and trying to cope with technology. The Digital Slob Philosophy is that we should only adopt new technology when it can free up more time to watch TV. Well, this idea hit a nerve, and the column got picked up by Universal Press Syndicate. Right now it appears in the Star-Bulletin and The Times, and I’m promoting it on national radio shows — it’s just getting started.
Tony Maranto, petroleum engineering, is vice president and general manager of Oklahoma City-based EOG Resources Inc. He manages all of EOG’s exploration and production operations in Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and the Texas Panhandle. He resides in Edmond, Okla.
ADVICE TO SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO ENTER MY FIELD: Newspapers need talent, and by talent I mean people who can spell “cemetery” and “carburetor” on the first try. If you simply have to be a columnist as well, worry less about how you write and more about what you write about. That thing in your head that you wouldn’t dare express to the outside world, figure out a way to do it, because that’s what people want to hear.
Donna Mims Woodall, medical technology, was appointed director, North American product marketing reporting to the vice president of sales for Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, a Johnson & Johnson company. She lives in Doylestown, Penn., with her husband, Michael, and their children, Christopher, Kelly, Katy and Connor.
1983 ........................... Bart Thompson, mechanical engineering, is research engineer in concept development for Michelin. He develops products for the world of mobility geared for the 21st century. Last spring, he gave a presentation titled “In Search of Disruptive Technology” at Tech’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology. He and his family live in Greenville, S.C.
1985 ........................... Diana Bracken, photography, was promoted
TOUGHEST PROFESSIONAL CHALLENGE: At a newspaper, it’s the pressure of having so many thousands of readers who demand you deliver on time as part of their morning routines — coffee, toast, paper. Coffee and toast always hit their marks, so you better hit yours. Working at a newspaper is one of the most stressful jobs you can have where lives are not at stake, though I always wear full headgear at my terminal, just to be safe. CHECK ME OUT: www.digitalslob.com to university creative director at the University of North Texas. She started at UNT in 1997 as a graphic artist and was promoted to associate art director prior to this appointment.
1987 ........................... Jeffrey Cox, finance, was elected district judge for the 26th Judicial District that covers Bossier and Webster parishes. He and his wife, Susan Morin Cox, (early childhood 1990), live in Bossier City with their daughter, Gabrielle. Robert LaCaze, marketing, was promoted to vice president, oncology global marketing for Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. He lives in Robbinsville, N.J., with his wife, Angela
Carpenter LaCaze, (business), and their sons, Taylor and Harrison.
1988 ........................... Erin Elliott Briggs, microbiology, was named a V.I.P. professional in the National Register’s Who’s Who in Executives and Professionals 2004-05 edition. She works for Bio-Analytical Laboratories in Doyline. Maj. Lionel Magee, management, was promoted to lieutenant colonel. He is an observer controller at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk. Scott Robey, biomedical engineering, is senior director of marketing for Kinetic Concepts Inc., an international medical device manufacturer specializing in wound, pulmonary, bariatric and vascular care products used in hospitals and nursing homes. When he started at KCI four years ago, there were two people in marketing. Now he manages a 32-
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NEWS ABOUT YOU 2000 ........................... WENDY POE
A CALL TO NURSING HOMETOWN: Calhoun DEGREE: 1992, A.S., Nursing (R.N.) FURTHER EDUCATION: Previously certified in advanced cardiac life support; licensed agent for health and life insurance. POSITION: Chief Operating Officer, Vantage Health Plan Inc. COLLEGE THE FIRST TIME: I was high school valedictorian and had a full scholarship to Northeast Louisiana University. I went for a month and dropped out because I had gotten married over the summer and decided to work until I would become a stay-at-home mom. But I saw my friends getting their degrees. So, after being married five years and having my first child, I went to work as a secretary at a dialysis unit. I will never forget, we had a Code Blue occur and all I could do to help was dial 9-1-1. That’s when I decided to go back to school to become a nurse. ABOUT MY CAREER PATH: After becoming an R.N., I returned to the dialysis unit — this time as a nurse. Later, I worked for Glenwood Regional Medical Center in a variety of units: medicalsurgical, ambulatory surgery, home health and hospice. In 1995, I was working in hospice at the same time my father was diagnosed with cancer. I worked with cancer patients during the day and cared for my father at night. It was too much. I had a friend at Vantage Health Plan, which was just getting started, and I was hired as a utilization review nurse. It was my responsibility to review all procedures ordered by medical providers, including inpatient stays in the hospital, to ensure members met Vantage’s standard medical criteria. When I started, there were five people at Vantage. Over time, I had a whole staff of nurses under me and I became assistant executive director in 1997 and executive director the following year. I have been COO since 1999, which is the position I hold today. TRIUMPHS: In my career, it’s becoming COO in my early 30s. In my family this past year, we gained permanent custody of a little girl. It feels good to know that our family has been able to help someone by offering ourselves to her. person team. KCI has about 4,000 employees worldwide. Robey and his family live in San Antonio.
1990 ........................... Scott Phebus, finance (master’s 1991), and Linnie Vallee Phebus, finance (master’s 1991), live in Austin, Texas, with their daughter, Teal, and son, Lawton. Scott is budget manager for Capital Metro Transit Authority and Linnie is vice president of investments for Frost Bank. Reach them at [email protected]
1993 ........................... David Norton, M.B.A., is partner in the Dallas law firm Shackelford, Melton & McKinley, LLP. He is the head of the firm’s aviation law section.
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1996 ........................... Benjamin Canales, biology, is a fourth-year urology resident at University of Minnesota. He is a 2001 graduate of LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans. He and his wife, Muna Thalji, live in St. Louis Park, Minn.
1997 ........................... Montre’ Carodine, speech language pathology, is assistant professor of law at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va. She lives in Fishersville, Va.
1998 ........................... Allen Smith, molecular biology, and Sandi Beasley Smith, dietetics, are missionaries in Peru. They have two daughters, Abigail and Adeline.
Kirk Blackwelder, mechanical engineering, is a customer applications and analysis manager at Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth, Texas. He provides technical expertise to sales and management teams, as well as supports product improvement, and future product development. Sean Cangelosi, computer information systems (master’s 2002), was named 2004 District 7 Small Business Person of the Year by the Louisiana Department of Economic Development. He is an owner/franchisee of a Baton Rouge Smoothie King.
Deidra Lemons, journalism, was appointed deputy director of the Governor’s Task Force to Strengthen Alabama Families by Gov. Bob Riley. She lives in Montgomery, Ala.
MONROE TO MANHATTAN ORIGINALLY FROM: Monroe
NOW RESIDES IN: New York
Mara O’Bryan Alexander, photography, is an account executive for seven parishes for Monroe-based Vantage Health Plan. She lives in Bossier City with her husband, Kevin.
DEGREE: 1996, B.A., Political Science and History
Jacob Coots, mechanical engineering, is Cinclare Sugar Mill plant engineer (for James H. Laws & Co.). He has a lot of different responsibilities: engineer, plant safety and supervisor. He and his wife live in Brusly. Tiffany Walker, merchandising, has started a small business, T-Shemise Fashion Group, specializing in fashion show production, design and styling. She lives in Shreveport.
FURTHER EDUCATION: 2003, J.D., Harvard University CURRENT POSITION: Associate in the firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP ABOUT MY CAREER PATH: My first job after graduation was interning for the Wesley Foundation. I then moved to Washington, D.C., and got a job with U.S. Sen. John Breaux on his Senate Special Committee on Aging staff. While living and working in D.C., I immersed myself in the community and was involved with Building Bridges, a nonprofit organization that helps break down racial divisions in communities. After working for three years for Sen. Breaux, I decided to go to law school; I knew a law degree would increase my opportunities on Capitol Hill and beyond. I also realized that while I loved working in government on policy issues, I was interested in working with individuals, specifically in helping people navigate our complex government and legal systems. I was accepted to Harvard Law School and had an amazing time there. I met my husband while doing a musical theater production that poked fun at law school life! Upon graduation, I clerked for a year for Federal District Judge Norma Shapiro in Philadelphia. ADVICE TO COLLEGE-BOUND STUDENTS: Realize that there are amazing opportunities out there and go for your dreams! My life has been beyond my wildest expectations. Especially when you’re just starting out, there is so much out there to embrace — travel as much as possible, take interesting classes and learn new things.
Benjamin Ewald, health and exercise sciences (master’s 2001), and Sabrina McBride Ewald, health and exercise sciences (master’s 2001), live in Plano, Texas. Ben coaches soccer at Centennial High School in Frisco and is the goalkeeper coach for Soccer-America soccer club. Sabrina teaches and coaches at Richardson North Junior High School and was recently named to the curriculum planning committee for Richardson Independent School District.
To send your news, complete this form and mail it to: Marbury Alumni Center, Louisiana Tech University, P.O. Box 3183, Ruston LA 71272
Name: ____________________________________________ Maiden name: _______________________________________
Robert Bolen, computer information systems, is a product manager at Barco, a Belgiumbased, global display technologies company. He leads product development and market expansion for rugged display technologies and rugged computing. Living in Toulouse, France, he also travels throughout Europe doing international sales and business development.
EAST COAST SWING: I love the energy and the access to theater and restaurants — there are so many things to do. You meet people from all over the world, and I love learning not only about our differences, but also our similarities; people are all pretty similar, no matter their background. ON HARVARD LAW: Harvard does a good job of recruiting people from all over. I think coming from the South and Louisiana Tech gave me an edge. Harvard is a very vibrant place, and I felt grateful to be there. I hope Tech professors will encourage more students to look at Harvard and other top law schools and opportunities all over the world.
Year(s) of graduation: ________________ Major: ______________________________________________________________ Home address*: _____________________________ City:_________________________ State: _________ ZIP: ___________ Home phone*: _________________________________ Email address*: __________________________________________ Employer: ________________________________________________________________________________________________ Business address*: _____________________________________________ Business phone*: __________________________ Your News About You:
Jason Brewer, graphic design, is a field producer for Seattle-based Screaming Flea Productions, TV show producer for The Discovery Channel, HGTV, National Geographic, TLC and A&E. He is currently working on “Toolbelt Diva,” a women’s home repair show for Discovery. *not for publication in Louisiana Tech Magazine
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WHAT MATTERS TO ALUMNI: A PARENT’S PERSPECTIVE
JOIN THE LOUISIANA TECH ALUMNI ASSOCIATION TODAY.
We have lived in Virginia for 28 years. When it was time for our son, Hart, to go to college, I encouraged him to apply to Louisiana Tech because of the fabulous benefit of getting in-state tuition due to our Tech legacy. Hart was accepted into prestigious art schools, and he visited them all during his senior year. But he was so impressed with the climate and culture of Louisiana Tech — and with the professors in the School of Architecture — he decided to go 1,200 miles away from home to attend Tech. He got a freshman scholarship in architecture, completed his first year with a great GPA, and received the Phoebe Award from the School of Architecture.
“BEING A MEMBER OF THE LOUISIANA TECH ALUMNI ASSOCIATION IS A GREAT WAY TO SUPPORT THE UNIVERSITY AND TO STAY ABREAST OF THE MANY EXCITING EVENTS OCCURRING AT YOUR ALMA MATER. BY BEING A PARTICIPANT IN ALUMNI ASSOCIATION ACTIVITIES, YOU WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO INTERACT WITH OTHER ALUMNI TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS THAT WILL LAST A LIFETIME. JOIN TODAY, AND STAY INVOLVED FOREVER.” - Steve Bates
We have been so pleased with every interaction we’ve had at every level of the Tech administration. It began with freshman orientation in summer 2003 in which the parents had a special program designed just for them. Upon returning home and relaying our experience to friends with children in college, they were amazed by the quality of Tech’s orientation. During the year, when we have contacted the university for anything, the employees offer great customer service with a pleasant tone and caring attitude.
Steve Bates, class of 1982, is president of Louisiana Tech's Alumni Association. He is a partner in the CPA firm White and Bates in Winnfield.
I do not know how you market this quality of education and environment to other alumni, but parents can find no better place for their children than at Louisiana Tech. Sincerely, Debra Quinn Marlow (B.A., 1972) and Craig Marlow (M.F.A., 1973) Chesterfield, Va.
Architecture major Hart Marlow (ʼ07), photographed in the School of Architecture display gallery, appreciates the accessibility of his professors and new perspectives that come with moving away to college. “It builds character when you broaden your horizons,” he said. “I wanted to make new friends and start fresh as an undergrad. Iʼve found family at Tech. I love going to school here.”
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