Guice named Tech president

Leslie Guice
Leslie Guice

Louisiana Tech University’s No. 2 administrator, Leslie Guice, will take over as president of the Ruston university on July 1.

The University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors voted to install its lone finalist to the position after a round of public interviews followed by closed-door deliberations Tuesday morning.

“Can you imagine? This is my alma mater, the place I’ve committed 34 years of my professional life to,” Guice said after he was named president. “To be able to go in and be the leading person is an unbelievably rewarding experience.”

The details of his contract have not yet been finalized. Louisiana Tech’s current president is paid $350,000 per year, is given a $900 per month vehicle allowance and provided campus housing.

Guice, who currently serves as Tech’s vice president for research and development and executive vice president, will oversee a campus with more than 11,000 students when he takes over as president.

He will also be leading one of only two Louisiana universities recognized nationally as a major research institution.

Guice’s association with Tech spans 40 years including his years as a student and later as a faculty member and an administrator. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in architecture and a master of science in civil engineering from the university.

He later earned a doctorate in civil engineering from Texas A&M University.

Guice began his career at Tech as an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering before helping to merge that school with the College of Science. He later became dean of the combined College of Engineering and Science.

Developing research programs for the combined college without receiving additional funding was one of his proudest moments, he said.

In 2004, Guice was tapped as Tech’s vice president of research and development. He assumed the role of executive vice president in 2012.

Guice said one of his major tasks as president will be fundraising at a time when Louisiana’s higher education budget has been shrinking. Gov. Bobby Jindal and the state Legislature have reduced higher education funding by more than $425 million since 2008 as they grappled to balance state budgets.

“We’re going to have to look at how we can engage alumni, our friends and corporations to more closely work with the university,” Guice said. “I’m going to begin to approach them right away.”

UL Board Chairman Wayne Parker said the support for Guice was “overwhelming” as the board and a search committee narrowed the list of applicants from nine to one over the last several months.

“I’ve been through probably seven or eight of these searches and I have yet to see the kind of total support from the public and all the stakeholders and the search committee that Dr. Guice received,” Parker said.

Guice will replace longtime Tech President Dan Reneau, who announced his retirement in September after a 50-year association with the school as a student, educator and administrator.

Reneau’s retirement is effective June 30, bringing to a close 26 years as the university’s chief.