The announcement was made during Louisiana Tech’s fall faculty and staff meeting in Howard Auditorium. Joined by family, friends and colleagues, Reneau reflected on how far Louisiana Tech has come during his tenure as president, recapped the past year’s achievements, and talked about what the future holds for him and the university.
“For the past 46 years, I have had the honor of serving my alma mater and the privilege of working with some of the finest academicians and administrators in the nation,” said Reneau. “But after long and thoughtful contemplation and discussion with my family, this just seemed like the right decision and the right time.
“Louisiana Tech has been at the center of my life’s work and I have always measured my professional success by that of the university’s. I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished together and feel blessed to have made so many good friends along the way. I just feel it’s time for me to step out of the spotlight and into the sunlight.”
One of the ways Reneau said he’ll continue to provide support to Louisiana Tech is through the establishment of an independent “think tank” within the Louisiana Tech University Foundation that will act as an advisory and advocacy group to the university’s administration and Foundation, and will help to support and advance Louisiana Tech.
“The think tank will exist as a fully-independent enterprise working on behalf of Louisiana Tech and its vision and interests,” said Reneau. “The people I wish to work with have over 400 years of combined experience and association with Louisiana Tech, are well respected within the state’s business and higher education communities, and are passionate about contributing to the university’s future growth and opulence.”
Reneau’s history and relationship with Louisiana Tech is almost as lengthy and impressive as his list of achievements. It began with earning a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1963 and a master’s degree in chemical engineering in 1964.
“I was a kid from Woodville, Mississippi who was so proud to come to Tech and be a part of its outstanding student body,” Reneau recalls. “I wanted to be a chemical engineer and knew that I would receive an excellent education at Louisiana Tech…and I did. I remember having professors that really cared about my scholarship and success.”
After earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Reneau’s passion for learning grew into a desire to pursue a doctorate in chemical engineering at Clemson University. He graduated with a Ph.D. in 1966, having worked with some of the nation’s most accomplished engineering faculty and researchers.
Drawn back to Ruston and his alma mater, Reneau returned to Louisiana Tech in 1967 to take a position as an assistant professor of chemical engineering and quickly distinguished himself as an academician and researcher.
One of Reneau’s cornerstone achievements came in 1972 when he established Louisiana Tech’s Department of Biomedical Engineering Department – one of the first of its kind in the United States and only the fifth undergraduate program to become accredited in the nation.
Today, Louisiana Tech has one of the most respected and successful biomedical engineering programs in the country.”
Throughout the 1970s, Reneau continued to demonstrate his outstanding vision and leadership abilities, resulting in his appointment as Louisiana Tech’s Vice President of Academic Affairs in 1980. In this capacity, he served as chief academic officer to some 400 faculty housed in six colleges and three professional schools, offering 160 different degree programs. Under his direction, every major program at Louisiana Tech with an accrediting agency was awarded accreditation.
The Board of Trustees for State Colleges and Universities selected Reneau as the 13th President of Louisiana Tech University on February 20, 1987.