By Wesley Harris
Read any publication distributed by Louisiana Tech and you’ll find plenty of reasons to seek an education among its “halls so beautiful,” “pleasant walks,” and “noble trees.” But what rationale did Tech use in its early years to attract students?
The catalog for the 1913-14 school year included a 24-point list of reasons students should attend the Louisiana Industrial Institute, the formal name for Tech at the time.
The list touted strong courses, the absence of lab fees and uniform costs, varied student organizations, and how its graduates were highly sought as teachers. “It is democratic and tolerant in spirit; worth counts for more than wealth,” Reason #21 stated. “To the young men and women from every part of the state its doors are open wide. They can see that the school is theirs, and is conducted solely for their benefit.”
While some benefits of a Louisiana Tech education were tangible like assistance in finding a job after graduation, other reasons were more metaphysical like Reason #14: “Students are given through head, hand, and heart a clear vision of the larger meanings of life, to the end that they may work with a mind in intelligent sympathy with their environments.”
Do the first ten of the catalog’s reasons to attend Tech still hold up today?
- It aims to educate head, hand, and heart.
- It aims to join thought and labor, intelligence and force “to make the thinker a worker and the worker a thinker.”
- Its students are afforded an opportunity to pursue the usual academic courses in literature, history, science, mathematics, etc., and at the same time receive practical training in some useful vocation.
- It provides for the highest type of mental, moral, physical and vocational training.
- It is the oldest, largest, and best-equipped industrial school in the state.
- It has up-to-date dormitories with infirmaries, electric lights, steam heat and modern sanitary conveniences and appliances.
- Its gymnasiums (for boys and girls) are equipped with practical apparatus and swimming pools.
- Its equipment in the industrial shops and laboratories are complete and modern.
- It is an undenominational school, but religious exercises are conducted every morning, and the students are urged to attend Sunday school and church.
- It has three terms (45 weeks) per year, enabling students to continue their work with but little interruption.
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