LeTourneau University

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
LeTourneau University
LeTourneau University, Longview, TX, entrance IMG 4004.JPG
S.E. Belcher, Jr. Chapel and Performance Center, the entrance to LeTourneau University
Motto "Faith brings us together. Ingenuity sets us apart."
Established 1946
Type Private
Endowment $10.0 million[1]
President Dale A. Lunsford
Provost Philip A. Coyle
Academic staff 325
Undergraduates 3,606
Postgraduates 458
Location Longview, TX, USA
Campus Urban
Longview Campus Undergraduates 1,396[2]
Sports 13 varsity teams
Nickname Yellowjackets and Ladyjackets
Mascot Buzz the Yellowjacket
Website www.LETU.edu

LeTourneau University (LETU) is a private, interdenominational Christian university located in Longview, Texas, United States with flagship programs in engineering, aeronautical science, education and business. The university also provides graduate and undergraduate degree programs for working adults online and at education centers around Texas in Bedford, Dallas, Houston, Longview, and Tyler.

The university's vision statement reads: Claiming every workplace in every nation as their 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.

Founded as LeTourneau Technical Institute in February 1946 by R.G. LeTourneau with his wife Evelyn, the school initially educated veterans returning from World War II but has grown into a nationally recognized master's-granting university, ranked #27 in the Regional Universities (West) category in "America's Best Colleges" by U.S. News and World Report.[3] Total annual enrollment of LeTourneau University is nearly 3,000.

History[edit]

Statue of R.G. LeTourneau near the front entrance of campus
R.G. LeTourneau Memorial Center

R.G. LeTourneau founded LeTourneau Technical Institute in February 1946 on the site of the recently abandoned Harmon General Hospital, a World War II hospital specialized in treating servicemen with neurological and dermatological issues. LeTourneau bought the site from the United States government with the help of Longview News-Journal publisher Carl Estes and other Longview community leaders for one dollar with the conditions that for the next decade, the U.S. government could reclaim the 156 acres (631,000 m²) and 220 buildings in the event of an emergency and no new construction or demolition could occur.

The State of Texas chartered the school on February 20, 1946, and classes were first held on April 1. At that point, enrollment at LeTourneau was exclusively male and predominantly veterans. For the first two years, LeTourneau provided an academy section to allow the completion of the junior and senior years of high school as well as a college section that offered two-year tradeskill programs and a four-year technology program. Students attended classes on alternating days; while one half of the students were in class, the other half worked at R.G. LeTourneau's nearby LeTourneau Incorporated manufacturing plant, thus satisfying the laboratory requirements of all of the industrial courses.

From 1946 to 1961, LeTourneau Technical Institute and LeTourneau, Inc. were one unified company under R.G. LeTourneau. In 1961, LeTourneau Technical Institute underwent a transformation into the co-educational LeTourneau College and began to offer bachelor's degrees in engineering, technology, and a limited number of arts and sciences. At this point, the college began to transition from the traditional wooden barracks buildings. The Tyler Hall Dormitory for men was erected in 1962, the Margaret Estes Library in 1963 and the Hollingsworth Science Hall in 1965.

The bell tower and mall at the center of campus

The college continued to grow under the leadership of Allen C. Tyler in 1961 and 1962 and Richard H. LeTourneau (eldest son of R.G. and Evelyn) from 1962 to 1968. Harry T. Hardwick's presidency from 1968 to 1975 saw to the construction of the R.G. LeTourneau Memorial Student Center and the Longview Citizens Resource Center along with spearheading LeTourneau's accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Richard LeTourneau again assumed the presidency from 1975 to 1985, during which time he oversaw the accreditation of the school's mechanical and electrical engineering programs by the Engineer's Council for Professional Development (now the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) and supervised nine major construction projects.

July 10, 2003 - One of the last WWII barracks being demolished
Glaske Center for Engineering, Science, and Technology
"The Spirit of Ingenuity" outside the Glaske Center symbolizes the academic mission of LeTourneau University.
Margaret Estes Library
Longview Hall is the center of business, psychology, and continuing education.
Heath-Hardwick Hall for the Liberal Arts

LeTourneau College became LeTourneau University in 1989 under the leadership of President Alvin O. Austin, who served until 2007. Austin oversaw the development of an MBA program and the expansion of programs in business and education into educational centers in Houston, Dallas, Tyler, Austin and Bedford. Austin also oversaw the removal of all wooden barracks from the Longview campus except the historic landmark known as Speer Chapel, which is the only remaining WWII-era structure and is a popular place for weddings and ceremonies. Under Austin's leadership, the university's main campus underwent considerable improvements including the construction of the university mall and Belcher Bell Tower, the Solheim Recreation and Activity Center, the Glaske Engineering Center, seven new residence halls, and the S.E. Belcher Jr. Chapel and Performance Center, a 2,011-seat auditorium that opened in spring 2007.

In the spring of 2006, Austin announced that he would retire from his position as university president in June 2007 and assume the newly created role of university chancellor. On March 8, 2007, Dr. Dale A. Lunsford was announced as the new president of LeTourneau University. He assumed the office on July 1, 2007. Prior to accepting the job as university president, Lunsford served as the vice president of student affairs and external relations at the University of Texas at Tyler.[4]

Academics[edit]

At the core of LeTourneau University is an undergraduate program of 1,396 traditional students at its main campus in Longview. LeTourneau has a diverse pool of undergraduates, representing 50 states, 20 countries, and over 45 denominations. The average undergraduate SAT score is 1170 and LeTourneau undergraduates have an average of 3.5 high school GPA. LeTourneau achieves annual rankings in U.S. News and World Report's top tier for Master's/Comprehensive Universities and was cited as a "Best Value" in the 2009 rankings.[5]

The school offers numerous undergraduate degrees, most of which are focused on engineering, aeronautics, computer science, business, and education. A smaller liberal arts program provides educational balance to the largely technical concentrations. The school also offers extensive business and management graduate classes in Houston, Dallas, Tyler, Bedford, Austin, and Longview.[5]

Athletics[edit]

The LeTourneau YellowJackets compete in seven women's sports and six men's sports in NCAA Division III athletics in the American Southwest Conference. These sports include men's and women's soccer, basketball, golf, tennis, cross country, men's baseball, women's softball, and women's volleyball.The school's mascot is "Buzz" the yellow jacket and the colors are royal blue and gold. LeTourneau Athletic Director Terri Deike has overseen an improvement in LeTourneau Athletics in recent years, with multiple teams achieving playoff berths, many for the first time in over a decade.

Demographics[edit]

Traditional undergraduate enrollment and working adult enrollment look very different at LETU. Of traditional undergraduates enrolled at the Longview campus in the Fall of 2008, 72 percent are male and 28 percent are female, with an average age of 21. Three percent are international students; 52 percent come from other states. Homeschoolers account for nearly one in six students on LeTourneau's Longview campus.[6] At LeTourneau's satellite campuses, which are exclusively used for nontraditional students, women outnumber men with 70 percent of the total enrollment.

Caucasians make up 65.4 percent of the student body. African-Americans are the largest minority group, with 21.6 percent. Eight percent are Hispanic, 13 percent are Asian, and less than half a percent are Native American.[7]

Location[edit]

The LeTourneau University campus in 2003 as taken from the passenger seat of one of LeTourneau's Cessna training planes

Longview, the seat of Gregg County, is located about a two-hour drive east of Dallas and about a one-hour drive west from Shreveport, Louisiana. The main campus itself is located on the south side of Longview, two miles north of Interstate 20 (exit 595B). Most of LeTourneau University's 1,400 traditional students live on campus; the school requires all unmarried students under the age of 22 (who are not living with parents or relatives during the school year) to live in residence halls and on-campus apartments or to apply for a special waiver to live off-campus.[8] While Longview is home to a variety of neighborhoods, both in age and economic circumstance,[9] LeTourneau is located in the middle of the highest poverty (26.1% below poverty line based on 2000 census) and lowest income (median of $26,308 as of 2000 census) compared to 10 surrounding ZIP codes.[10]

LeTourneau campus life[edit]

Dorothy Speer Chapel (reopened 1983) was the former Harmon Hospital chapel in the 1940s.
Solheim Recreational & Activity Center
John and Florence Thomas Hall residential building
Quads 3 and 4, residence halls at LeTourneau

In addition to official university sports, intramural competitions in soccer, football, volleyball, ultimate and basketball are also highly valued and widely popular. Somewhat unique to LeTourneau is the extensive amount of student pride and residence hall unity known as "floor pride." Many floors in the residence halls have their own student-created name, logo, mascot, colors, t-shirt, etc.; these floors form teams that compete in intramural events.

Floor system[edit]

LeTourneau has a housing system similar to the House System with the use of numerous (roughly 30) individual floor assignments as opposed to four houses (which is closer to the House System at Caltech). Housing is generally gender-segregated by building. In years where housing space is limited, one or two residence halls will have housing that is gender-segregated by floor. However, access is limited to each of these floors via Prox cards, which allow only residents into their respective floor areas. Freshmen are placed into floors based upon both building preference and the order in which applications and deposits are received. New students can request a particular floor through their application process, though some are placed at the discretion of Residence Life. Many students remain on the same floor until they graduate from the university, only leaving to move off campus or to on-campus apartments rather than to join another floor. Each floor has a unique personality which freshmen tend notably to adapt to after some time on the floor (otherwise requesting a floor which their personality is more suited to).

List of Floors at LeTourneau
Floor Building
Bombers South Hall West 1 Men
Rebels South Hall East 1 Men
NO NAME South Hall West 2 Women
The Blue Angels South Hall East 2 Women
1A (Panthers) Tyler Hall West Men
2A (Titans) Tyler Hall West Men
3A (Flooders) Tyler Hall West Men
1B (Bandits) Tyler Hall East Men
Club Tyler Hall East Men
3B (Apes) Tyler Hall East Men
4B (Eagles) Tyler Hall East Men
Mabee 1 Mabee Hall Men
Mabee 2/3 (Dorm 4) Mabee Hall Men
Penn 1 (Pirates) Pennsylvania Hall Men
Penn 2 (Pennitentiary) Pennsylvania Hall Men
Penn 3 (Paladins) Pennsylvania Hall Men
ELH 1 Evelyn LeTourneau Hall Women
ELH 2 Evelyn LeTourneau Hall Women
ELH 3 (Phoenix) Evelyn LeTourneau Hall Women
Quad 1 Durham House Men
Quad 2 Carpenter House Women
Quad 3 Howe House International Women
Quad 4 McKinley House International Men
G1 (Superheroes) Gilbert Hall Women
G2 (Meds) Gilbert Hall Women
G3 Gilbert Hall Women
Thomas 1 (Moose) Thomas Hall Men
Thomas 2 (Dorm 41) Thomas Hall Men
Thomas 3 (Tornados) Thomas Hall Men
Davis 1 (Raptors) Davis Hall Men
Davis 2 (Lions) Davis Hall Men
Davis 3 (Lambs) Davis Hall Women

LeTourneau Greek life[edit]

LeTourneau hosts a variety of Greeks on campus. There are four independent Greek Fraternities and one independent Greek Sorority. Of those, the fraternities Alpha Omega(AΩ) , Kappa Zeta Chi (KZX), and Lambda Alpha Sigma (LAS) have charters from the University and have residence facilities on campus, whereas the Sorority Lambda Omega Chi(LOX) gained charter in 2014 but never acquired residence due to its controversial beginnings attributed to strife and clique behavior. Phi Sigma Lambda (Phi Sig) is recognized as a Men's Organization, but does not have a residential society charter from the university. The first sorority at LeTourneau University was Phi Pi Delta(PPD). It was chartered in the late 1990s. The sorority Delta Omega Kappa (DOK) began in 2007 and disbanded in 2013. The Greek Society Residences of AΩ, KZX and LAS are unique in that they are owned by the university but were built with donations from alumni and friends. Neither LeTourneau's fraternities nor its sorority are part of national Greek organizations. Tau Kappa Delta (TKD) lost its charter from the University. Delta Sigma Psi lost its house to demolition and were unable to raise sufficient funds from their alumni to build a new house that met with the long-term plans of the university. The active alumni of Delta Sigma Psi continue to seek ways to refresh their campus presence.

Other student activities[edit]

LeTourneau has a variety of student-led foundations and a representative body of elected students known as the Student Senate (senate seats are allocated by residence hall or living area). A portion of each student's tuition and fees is allocated to Student Senate each year to distribute to spring break mission trips, campus activities, on-campus clubs, and other projects.

The Yellowjacket Activities Council (YAC), a university-sanctioned and funded student events committee, is responsible for planning and supervising several recreational "student life" activities each semester. Several student YAC Coordinators are responsible for different sections of planning and implementation of concerts, coffeehouse parties, midnight festivals, athletic competitions, off-campus events, movie nights, paintball, and Valentine parties. These are a few among the many activities organized by YAC.

Homecoming at LeTourneau, while once being hosted in the fall with a talent and variety show along with other activities for returning alumni, is now hosted in the spring. A Starlight Soiree is held, as well as athletic events, including the annual intersociety rope pull competition, and Hootenanny.

The traditional Hootenanny variety show brings together the majority of the student body, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the community for a dose of original comedy, music, and talent. Most students at LETU attend the event. The event is put on by individuals or groups of students who have auditioned in the weeks leading up to the show. 2005 marked the 40th anniversary of the Hootenanny production. Traditionally, members of the school faculty and administration have also participated at the students' request, often in satirical roles. "Hootenuity 2007" marked the end of using the Belcher Gym as the performance venue, with the new S.E. Belcher Chapel and Performance center slated as the new home for "O Hootenanny, Where Art Thou?" in the 2007-2008 school year. Because of this transition, the well-used rotating stage was destroyed and a two-story stage built to make use of the new facility. The rotating stage was a product of a senior design project in the 1970s.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°28′01″N 94°43′41″W / 32.467°N 94.728°W / 32.467; -94.728