Happy Friday everyone and welcome to the Thanksgiving season!
Some of the work on my desk will be of interest to all of you. Here’s a quick report:
Progress toward our vision of claiming every workplace in every nation for Jesus Christ.
Our Board of Trustees and our faculty have recently approved a new major within the College of Arts and Sciences: Health Sciences. With this major and in cooperation with U.T. Tyler, we can now send our graduates into the important nursing workplace. Students will spend their first three years in a LETU B.A. program taking Bible courses, attending Chapel, and living on campus. In addition, we will add our unique elements to nursing preparation: requiring LETU nursing students to become proficient in Spanish and spending some of their clinical education time in international venues where their nursing skills and Christian worldview are so needed. In the last 18 months of their degree program, our LETU nursing students will attend nursing courses at the U.T. Tyler campus here in Longview and do their clinical work at Longview hospitals. Tell your friends that one can now study to become a Registered Nurse at LETU! How God will use this effort to impact lives in the health care workplace!
Another important workplace is the classroom and LeTourneau University has emerged as a leader in preparing classroom teachers. We learned this week that again we prepared more classroom teachers last year than any other private university in Texas. We’ve led the state for five years now averaging nearly 350 LETU students per year receiving their state teacher certifications. These students come from our traditional campus in Longview and through our post-baccalaureate certification programs in the School of Graduate and Professional Studies. Congratulations to Dean Wayne Jacobs and Vice President Carol Green for their leadership.
The Trustees also approved construction of our next residence hall on the Longview campus. To be located on the empty site across Glaske Drive from the Corner Café, phase one will add approximately 200 beds with planning for a total of 600 beds on that site. Currently, our residence halls are near capacity so addition of more bed spaces is essential for future enrollment growth. Expect to see construction as early as next Easter and completion by the summer of 2011. Thanks to Executive Vice President Bill McDowell and Dean Corey Ross for their leadership on this campus addition.
Endowed Scholarship Campaign Launched.
More than 95% of LETU students receive financial aid and nearly all of the scholarships we award are funded from the operating budget. That means during difficult economic times when students need aid the most, the university is least able to provide scholarship help. That’s just one of many important reasons why our goal is to increase the number of endowed scholarships available to students. Your entire gift is held by the University, invested, and the earnings from the investment are awarded as scholarships to students. In this way, an endowed scholarship is not a one-time gift but a gift that keeps giving for generations. I am thankful for the love and support all of you show our students. An endowed scholarship is another way you can serve them. Our Development Office can answer your questions about establishing a scholarship that will bless students and their families for years to come.
LETU LEGS and Stanford University.
Time magazine recently named their “50 Best Inventions of 2009.” We were surprised to see that one of the inventions named was the JaipurKnee, a low-cost prosthetic knee designed at Stanford for use in developing nations. The knee is remarkably similar to our own LEGS M1 knee which we have been field testing for five years now. The fact that Time didn’t recognize the previous work done at LeTourneau and the amazing similarity between what Stanford researchers claim as new and what Dr. Gonzalez, Dr. Ayers, and many others have been designing for years, has led to much media attention in the last several days. The story has been published as far away as India.
Of course, we don’t do the LEGS work for media attention. The project eases great human suffering and allows us the opportunity to point people to the mercy of our God. Still yet, it has been difficult to see Stanford get credit for the good work done by our faculty and students. All of the attention does underscore the significance of doing this work. Our faculty and students can use their excellent education and their Christ-filled hearts to touch those so easily forgotten. I’m very humbled God has given us this work to do and I look forward to seeing how we can employ our unique ingenuity to create global solutions in engineering, aviation, arts, sciences, business, and education.
Dale Lunsford, Ph.D.