Gerrie Forbis

Administrative Assistant to the Provost

I started my journey at LeTourneau University (then LeTourneau College) in January 1966 as secretary to the president, Dr. Richard LeTourneau. I intended to work for three years and then move on to something else, however, my time table was not the same as the one the Lord had for me. Now, 45 years later I continue to serve the faculty and students at LeTourneau University with enthusiasm and joy.

I had the privilege of working alongside with President Dr. Richard LeTourneau from 1966-1985. Dr. LeTourneau obtained his doctorate soon after I joined him as his secretary. I typed his dissertation on an electric typewriter, using carbon paper and an eraser. The insights I gained about Christian higher education have served me well for the remainder of my years at LeTourneau. In addition to working with Dr. LeTourneau and his lovely wife, Louise, during both of his presidencies I also worked with Mr. R.G. LeTourneau and his wife, Evelyn; Dr. Harry Hardwick and his wife, Edith; Mr. Dick Berry, acting president, and his wife, Betty; Dr. Alvin Austin and his wife, Sammie; and Dr. Dale Lunsford and his wife, Marsha.

When Dr. LeTourneau retired in 1985 I began working in Academic Affairs in what is now the Office of the Provost. I worked closely with each of these godly men as they served the faculty and students at LeTourneau:

  • Dr. Russell A. Primrose presented many challenges to the faculty and implemented great educational policies many of which we continue to use today. We had a great 5 years together.
  • I worked with Dr. Glenn A. Sumrall, provost and vice president for academic affairs, for 15 years from 1990 to 2005 and saw many, many changes come to our campus. One of the greatest of these was the forming of our six academic schools and appointing the deans and department chairs. The school of graduate and professional studies began a very successful focus on educating adult students under his tenure. Also serving with Dr. Sumrall were two assistants, Dr. Dirk Nelson and Dr. Stan Coppinger. They worked closely with the newly formed honors program and other programs related to the students and faculty.
  • From 2005-2011 Dr. Robert Hudson, executive vice president for academic affairs, was my mentor and I served as his administrative assistant. Many exciting opportunities developed during this time from the installation of the deans as administrators and a focus on international studies and international travels.
  • Today, I am serving Dr. Philip A. Coyle, provost and executive vice president, in the role of administrative assistant. I am expecting great and wonderful experiences during his tenure. In the Provost’s Office I also support Dr. Steven Mason, associate provost and dean of faculty, and Dr. Stephanie Kirschmann, special assistant to the provost. I am honored to be able to assist these wonderful administrators.

During my time in the academic office I have coordinated and directed graduation ceremonies each December and May - That adds up to at least 52 ceremonies! The many, many thousands of students that have crossed the stage are a great tribute to the educational process and the quality education they have obtained at LeTourneau. My greatest joy is to see students who begin their education at LeTourneau continue on to graduate in their selected major and then move on to a career of their choice. I also enjoy seeing the second generation of LeTourneau students crossing the stage as graduates even as their parents did during one of the ceremonies I directed.

As grandmother to six grandchildren, I especially love getting e-mails that include photos of the children of our alumni. Hearing how God uses the graduates in their ministry opportunities also thrills my heart.


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