Bill, ’77, and Mary Anne, ’77, Waldrip, of San Antonio, Texas, have established the University of Louisiana System Foundation and Linda Woodard Hensley and Dorothy Woodard Patterson Endowed Professorship in STEM Education in Louisiana Tech University’s College of Education through gifts from the Waldrip Family Foundation and the University of Louisiana System Foundation.
Funds will enhance the College of Education’s already strong STEM education programming, which currently resides in UTeachTech, the University’s pathway to train STEM majors to teach secondary math and science.
”It is our hope that future Tech students will receive the benefits of the educational background that Mary Anne and I have enjoyed from our experiences and studies there,” said Bill. “We are hopeful that the combination of engineering, scientific, and educational learning will mold future generations of Tech students to further explore new methods of learning that can open minds to unleash the creativity that is needed for the leaders of tomorrow.”
The Waldrip family’s roots run deep in North Louisiana, and there are many connections to Louisiana Tech among family members. Bill’s parents, Donnie Waldrip and Dorothy King Waldrip, were graduates of the University. His uncle, V. W. Barber, played on one of Tech’s first football teams in 1925, an aunt was assistant manager at the bookstore for 30 years, and another uncle worked at the power plant on campus. Most notable, however, was Bill’s uncle, C. T. Woodard, who served as Dean of the College of Education and for whom Woodard Hall is named.
“The STEM education professorship seemed a very fitting tribute with the Woodard family’s commitment to education at Tech,” said Bill, who noted the professorship honors two of C.T. Woodard’s daughters who were also Louisiana Tech alumnae. “With my background in engineering and Mary Anne’s background in education, we felt this was a fitting way to benefit future Tech students.”
Pending final approval of the UL System Foundation Board, Dr. Laura Bostick, UTechTech’s Associate Director and Assistant Professor, will be the recipient of the University of Louisiana System Foundation and Linda Woodard Hensley and Dorothy Woodard Patterson Endowed Professorship in STEM Education.
“We are grateful to the Waldrips and the University of Louisiana System Foundation for their investment in STEM education through this professorship,” said Dr. Don Schillinger, Dean of the College of Education. “Dr. Bostick looks forward to utilizing these funds to make STEM learning accessible to all. Her previous experience as a NASA biomedical engineer combined with her teaching certification in special education and teaching students with visual impairments make her the ideal recipient of this professorship.”
Dr. Bostick will integrate accessibility materials and instruction into the College of Education’s STEM teacher preparation program, so graduates of the program will have the training and experience needed to foster a routine of building accessibility into the lessons they teach, bridging the gap in STEM learning for students with disabilities. Additionally, professional development will be delivered to both Louisiana Tech faculty and K-12 teachers from area school districts to expand the impact of training well beyond UTeachTech students and future educators.