LeTourneau University is named for its founder, R.G. LeTourneau, one of the world’s greatest inventors of earthmoving equipment. A businessman and devout Christian, LeTourneau toured Longview, Texas, with his wife, Evelyn in 1946 to consider a manufacturing site for his next earthmoving equipment factory. While flying over a sprawling complex of a vacated Army hospital consisting of over 200 frame buildings, Mrs. LeTourneau inquired about the facility. When told it was no longer in use, she suggested establishing a school to educate returning World War II veterans.
The site became LeTourneau Technical Institute, founded in 1946 with only male students. In 1961 the school became LeTourneau College, a co-educational four-year school. In 1989 LeTourneau College became LeTourneau University, a SACS and ABET accredited, nondenominational Christian university, offering four-year and two-year degree programs in engineering, technology, the liberal arts, business, aeronautical science, education, and the sciences, plus master's degree programs in business and education.
In that same year, the university began expanding into offering programs for working adults in evening and weekend classes. Calling it the LEAP program, which stood for LeTourneau Education for Adult Professionals, classes with the same students making a group, or cohort, met weekly for six to eight weeks per course. Cohorts were kept on track through to degree completion with students automatically enrolled in each next class, and as each class finished, the next course began in the same location the following week with a different professor. Many other universities have adopted this format to reach working adults.
Today, more than 2,500 students attend LeTourneau University without ever stepping foot onto the university’s beautiful main campus in Longview, Texas, attending classes online or attend evening and weekend classes at educational centers in Tyler, Dallas, Bedford and Houston.
Longview and Tyler both opened learning centers for evening and weekend classes in 1989. Dallas and Bedford opened in 1990. Houston followed in 1993. A second Houston site, in the Westchase District, opened in 2006.
Today the university has five schools.
Today LeTourneau University is led by its sixth president, Dr. Dale A. Lunsford, and its board of trustees.
LeTourneau University is an unapologetically Christian university. While it has no direct denominational ties, it welcomes students of all denominations who love and seek after God. It is a place where students have found a deeper relationship with Him, grown in their spiritual walk and discovered God’s purpose for their lives.