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Louisiana Tech receives $1 million gift from AEP Foundation to support new center

Louisiana Tech University received a generous $1 million gift Wednesday from Nicholas K. Akins, chairman, president and CEO of American Electric Power, and chairman of the AEP Foundation, to support a new Academic Success Center, including a cyber training center, located inside Bossier Parish Community College’s (BPCC) STEM Building in the National Cyber Research Park in Bossier City.

L-R: Don Pierson, Nicholas Akins, Les Guice, Lo Walker, Jim Henderson.

Akins, who is also a 1982 and 1986 alumnus of Louisiana Tech, was joined by Louisiana Tech President Les Guice who accepted the gift for the new facility which is designed to enhance educational services, provide cyber education and research, support economic development and engage in workforce development activities.  The new academic and cyber center will also enable Louisiana Tech to advance its growth strategies in student enrollment, produce additional graduates in high demand fields, and increase academic program and research productivity throughout the state.

“The AEP Foundation is pleased to support the creation of this cyber training center to help students gain undergraduate and graduate degrees in a rapidly growing and critically needed discipline,” said Akins. “This grant will not only increase opportunities for students to pursue cyber careers and strengthen the future workforce, but it also builds upon a public-private partnership that is critical to the region’s future growth.”

State and local dignitaries including Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker, Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson and University of Louisiana System President Jim Henderson were also in attendance to publically express their support and appreciation to Akins and the AEP Foundation, and to celebrate the new opportunities that the new academic and cyber center will create for the region.

The Academic Success Center will serve as a “one-stop shop” for student services and staff services providing information about career exploration, test preparation, financial aid and articulation agreements with BPCC.  The Center will also assist veterans in transition from active duty to access VA educational benefits, planning for academic programs, obtaining maximum credit for military learning and selecting academic degree programs which are in high demand for US citizens with military service.  This endeavor will enable Louisiana Tech to serve more active duty, former military and civilian students in a convenient location off of, but close to Barksdale AFB.

“I want to express my sincere appreciation to Nick and the AEP Foundation, not only on behalf of Louisiana Tech, but also on behalf of our corporate and community partners throughout the region and state,” said Guice.  “Investments in our students and the support it provides to those we serve are critical to expanding Louisiana Tech’s role as an economic and higher education leader.  The return on these investments will be felt throughout the State of Louisiana for generations to come.”

Corporate partners in the National Cyber Research Park such as the Integrated Technology Center of CSRA in Bossier City will also benefit greatly from the new center as they rely heavily on Louisiana Tech for educating professionals to support a myriad of current and future federal customers.  A location in Bossier City for Louisiana Tech programs is a critical part of Tech’s plan to fulfill the workforce needs of CSRA and will facilitate future collaborations and programs to meet these demands.

Louisiana Tech expects to complete and occupy the new Academic Success Center during the fall 2017 academic quarter.