5 years in, Schovanec still looking to the future
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - It has now been five years since Texas Tech announced Lawrence Schovanec as its 17th president.
The Oklahoma-native has been with the university since 1982, going from math professor, to department chair, then administrator.
Looking forward, the president is focused on one of Tech’s most significant anniversaries: the centennial in 2023.
“We’ve made some progress but we still have a lot of work,” Schovanec said. ““I think as we begin to plan for the centennial, it sort of provides an opportunity to take an assessment of what we’ve done. But also to think about what we want to be in the next century.”
In his five years he has seen the establishment of the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine, and deals to feed community college students into Texas Tech.
In the last academic year, the school reported record enrollment with 40,000 students. That was an extension of a plan formed by former Chancellor Kent Hance.
“I think what Kent Hance was thinking is that, that growth was a symbol of vitality of Texas Tech and the value of this university,” Schovanec said.
But the half-decade did not come without its challenges.
There were race issues with students, the death of a campus officer and pandemic protocols for the melting pot of 40,000 students.
“There are certainly words I don’t use anymore,” Schovanec said. “Like unprecedented, I think we all got sick of that.”
During the pandemic, the university was quick to take precautions and quick to open. But there was pride in such an aggressive re-opening, he said.
In his time as president there were also tuition increases and less money from the state legislature. But, there was also more scholarship support.
Schovanec is also proud of the diversity of the student body, which is something he has heard from students.
“They loved the diversity of this campus,” Schovanec said. “And diversity takes many forms, ethnicity, political views and students value that.”
Now, close to 70, with close to four decades on campus, the question of his retirement comes up.
But he plans to stick around.
“This sounds a bit selfish. But, when I look at all the possibilities on the horizon, anybody would want to be a part of that,” Schovanec said. “I’m looking forward to the centennial and I’d like to hang around until we win another national championship in any sport.”
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