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Alumni Perspective

bot-2021-8-copy.jpgCurt Fitchett ('97), Alumni Representative on the Letourneau University board of trustees,

senior manager at the boeing company

As chairman of the LeTourneau University Alumni Advisory Council, I was asked to make some opening remarks at last month’s Hootenanny weekend chapel. Seemingly blinded by the lights as I walked onto the stage of the Belcher Chapel & Performance Center emphasized how much campus has evolved since my time there in the mid-1990s. If you haven’t been back on campus within the past several years, it’s worth noting that there are a number of new dorm buildings (I recall when the Trinity Residence Halls were the “new” dorms), a great new student center (where Saga once stood), and the metal buildings have gotten a facelift. Even the pond has been cleaned up… you might even voluntarily jump in.

Immediately following my graduation in May 1997, in the then brand new Solheim Center, I joined a sizable group of my LeTourneau alumni in Wichita, Kansas, at The Cessna Aircraft Company. A few years later, I had the opportunity to expatriate to Paris, France, where I was the Citation Field Service Engineer responsible for Western Europe and the Middle East.

During my time abroad, I made a trip to Dallas, Texas, for my college roommate’s wedding and, as is often the case, I met a girl who happened to be living in London. We dated between London and Paris, but soon her assignment concluded and she returned home to southeastern Pennsylvania. To make a long story very short, I repatriated, got married, and took a job with The Boeing Company, where I have been since 2003. I am currently the MH-139 Grey Wolf Chief Engineer, but also serve as the V-22 Osprey Project Engineering Senior Manager. Prior to these roles, I spent 17 years working a number of different engineering assignments on the H-47 Chinook program.

There is no doubt that my time at LeTourneau University prepared me for the personal and professional opportunities (and challenges) that I’ve had across the last 25 years. Our vision statement is compelling: Claiming every workplace in every nation as our mission field, LeTourneau University graduates are professionals of ingenuity and Christ-like character who see life's work as a holy calling with eternal impact.

I now have the privilege of representing LeTourneau University alumni on the Board of Trustees and, interestingly, my initial Board of Trustees meeting coincided with the inauguration of our new president, Dr. Steven Mason. It was very apparent to me that each and every trustee is genuinely and personally committed to the mission of LeTourneau University: LeTourneau University is a comprehensive institution of Christian higher education where educators engage learners to nurture Christian virtue, to develop competency and ingenuity in their professional fields, to integrate faith and work, and to serve the local and global community.

Considering our current cultural and political environment, the Board of Trustees continues to partner closely with Dr. Mason and his leadership team as they prepare to not only exist, but in fact thrive, when access to federal funding is threatened because we are unwilling to compromise on our vision and mission statements and unwavering in our commitment to Christ in this regard. As a whole, the university is aligned on the Strategic Plan, which is made up of four Mission Critical Objectives (MCOs): Academic Excellence and Ingenuity (Aei), Financial Strength Growth & Stewardship (Fgs), Diversity & Hospitality (Dh), and Campus Culture, Health, & Well Being (Chw). These MCOs are not just dreams and big ideas; in fact, a team comprised of individuals from the president’s cabinet, faculty, staff, and trustees meet regularly to develop and implement tactical initiatives specific to each MCO. I’m currently supporting the Chw MCO.

I noted a few impressive infrastructure changes on campus earlier, but perhaps it is more important to highlight some of the things that have not changed, e.g. the commitment and love that the administration, faculty, and staff have for the individual students, the focus on excellent education, and a resolute Biblical stance. If you were curious or wondering where LeTourneau University is today in terms of its vision and mission, I can confirm, from personal experience, that we are single minded in our desire to seek God’s specific guidance and wisdom.

Bill Anderson, our previous Chairman of the Board, said in one of his last addresses to the Board of Trustees, “Guard the mission.” To that end, we meet monthly in small groups to pray, very specifically, for all aspects of the university. This time is unique and special to me because of our collective desire to seek God’s will for the future of LeTourneau University. It is encouraging to me to see, first hand, the leadership’s comprehensive commitment to the mission of LeTourneau University, strategically, with tactical objectives.

If you haven’t already, I strongly encourage you to read Dr. Mason’s essay, LeTourneau University as The Christian Polytechnic University: Embracing the Saga of Our Unique Organizational Calling. He neatly articulates our past, present, and future. I am excited about LeTourneau University and look forward to what God has for this special place in the next 75 years.