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LeTourneau University
Motto "Faith brings us together. Ingenuity sets us apart."
Established 1946
Type Private
Endowment USD $6,857,706[1]
President Dale A. Lunsford
Faculty 325
Undergraduates 3,606
Postgraduates 458
Location Longview, TX, USA
Campus Urban
Longview Campus Undergraduates 1,396[2]
Sports 13 varsity teams
Mascot Yellowjacket
Website www.LETU.edu

LeTourneau University is a private, nondenominational Christian university located in Longview, Texas with flagship programs in engineering, aeronautical science, business and education. The university also provides business and education programs for working adults in educational centers around Texas. Founded as LeTourneau Technical Institute in February of 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, as ranked in "America's Best Colleges" by US News and World Report.[1] Total enrollment of LeTourneau University is over 4,000.

Contents

History

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

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 publisher Carl Estes and other Longview community leaders for one dollar with the conditions that for the next 10 years, 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 United States government also insisted that LeTourneau establish a vocational school for war veterans on the premises.

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, including the Trinity Dorms and the school's aviation facility at the East Texas Regional Airport in Gregg County.

July 10, 2003 - One of the last WWII barracks being destroyed.

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 new 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.[3]

Academics

At the core of LeTourneau University is an undergraduate program of 1,396 traditional students at its main campus in Longview. LeTourneau boasts 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 2006 rankings.[4]

The school offers numerous undergraduate degrees, most of which are focused on engineering, aeronautics, computer science, business, and education. A smaller liberal arts program serves to provide educational balance to the largely technical concentrations. The school also offers extensive business and management graduate classes in Houston, Dallas, Tyler, Bedford, and Longview.[4]

Athletics

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 Duane Trogdon 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

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.[5] 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 21.5 percent. Eight percent are Hispanic, 1.5 percent are Asian, and less than half a percent are Native American.[6]

Location

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

Longview, Texas 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.[7] While Longview is home to a variety of neighborhoods, both in age and economic circumstance[8], 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.[9]

Life at LeTourneau

Chapel services are held three times weekly, and frequent additional services are held at various points in the semester. Chapel attendance is mandatory; students are required to attend thirty-eight of the fifty to seventy services held during a semester.

Short 5-10 minute devotions are typically held before each class by the professor or a student.

The campus is completely networked; wired Ethernet connections are available in all residence halls, and wireless access is available in all academic buildings and most major residence halls. Internet access is also available in computer labs that are located in Longview Hall, the Glaske Center, and the Margaret Estes Library.

LeTourneau students maintain a unique culture that is heavily influenced by LeTourneau's predominantly technological concentrations.

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Intramurals

In contrast to official university sports, intramural competitions in soccer, football, volleyball, ultimate and basketball are 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, and t-shirt; these floors form teams that compete in intramural events.

Floor system

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. Freshmen are placed into floors based upon both building preference and the order in which applications and deposits are received. While new students can request a particular floor, most are unaware of this option until they arrive on campus and 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 on-campus apartments rather than to join another floor.

LeTourneau's "Greek" Societies

LeTourneau hosts a variety of Greek Societies on campus. Besides Greek Honor Societies, there are three independent Greek Fraternities and one independent Greek Sorority. Of those, the fraternities Lambda Alpha Sigma (LAS), Kappa Zeta Chi (KZX), and Alpha Omega (AO) have charters from the University and have residence facilities on campus, whereas the Sorority Delta Omega Kappa (DOK) has a charter but no residence. The Greek Society Residences of KZX, AO 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) and Delta Sigma Psi (DSP) lost their charters from the University.

There is also one non-"Greek" society on campus that is not part of the Intersociety Council: Auto Society, which operates much like the Greek societies. Unlike KZK, LAS, and AO, Auto Society does not have a residence facility on campus but instead has a large automotive shop near the society houses.

Other student activities

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. Concerts, coffeehouses, midnight festivals, athletic competitions, off-campus events, movie nights, paintball, and Valentine parties are among the 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. 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 Hootenanny 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.

Notable Alumni or Former Students

See also

References

External links

List of Floors at LeTourneau The table will need some cleanup. This is just the framework, or just delete it.
Floor Building
1A Tyler Hall West Men
2A (Titans) Tyler Hall West Men
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
Dorm 4 Mabee Hall Men
Penn 1 (Pirates) Pennsylvania Hall Men
Penn 2 (Pennitentiary) Pennsylvania Hall Men
Penn 3 Pennsylvania Hall Men
ELH 1 (Army?) Evelyn LeTourneau Hall Women
ELH 2 Evelyn LeTourneau Hall Women
ELH 3 Evelyn LeTourneau Hall Women
Quad 1 (Saints) Durham House Men
Quad 2 (Shooters) Carpenter House Men
Quad 3 (Thermite) Howe House Men
Quad 4 (Vandals) McKinley House Men
G1 (Superheroes) Gilbert Hall Women
G2 (Mullets?) Gilbert Hall Women
G3 Gilbert Hall Women
Thomas 1 Thomas Hall Men
Dorm 41 Thomas Hall Men
Thomas 3 (Tornados) Thomas Hall Men
Davis 1 Davis Hall Women
Davis 2 (Lions) Davis Hall Men
Davis 3 Davis Hall Women
Question book-new.svg
This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. Please help improve this article by introducing appropriate citations of additional sources. (December 2007)


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