The Zoom meeting gave students an opportunity to connect with the Texas Tech president, who continues to tout the advantages of a college education.
The coronavirus pandemic deprived thousands of seniors across the U.S. the opportunity to finish their high school careers on their own terms, altering their final few months of classes as well as their ability to cross the stage to receive a diploma after 18 years of hard work.
But the COVID-19 virus will not rob them of their chance to continue their education, nor will it deter those who are just now planning the next steps in their education. Texas Tech University is making sure of that.
Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec hosted an online town hall for high school students across West Texas on Wednesday (May 27), reiterating the pledge he has made since he became president that the university would provide the opportunity to attend college for all who seek it.
"Once you become a part of this campus, you'll discover that it is a world unto itself," Schovanec said. "You'll meet students from every state and from many countries around the globe and be able to learn of many cultures and different perspectives. That is part of what is so unique and wonderful about the Red Raider family and the characteristics and culture of the university."
Due to health and safety measures being put into place by administrators to ensure a safe re-opening of campus this fall, that college experience will not, at least initially, be similar to first-year classes of the past. But Texas Tech is committed to making sure the quality of education students receive remains high while providing as normal a college experience as possible.
"Every day we are focused on our re-opening," Schovanec said. "We know this campus will be different than when the students left earlier this spring. But because nothing is more important to us than the safety of our students, staff and faculty, changes will need to be made. And when our students return to campus, we will have in place well-thought-out plans so they can safely enjoy the college experience."
In May 2019, Schovanec toured several small schools in West Texas as part of his initiative to reach out to underrepresented students, delivering his message that a quality education is available to them after high school. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, this year Schovanec and other Texas Tech administrators reached out to the students via the online meeting app, Zoom.
Students learned from campus administrators about the various advantages awaiting them at Texas Tech as well as the key dates for undergraduate admissions, financial aid and scholarships and parent and family relations.
During Wednesday's town hall, Schovanec touted the sense of family that develops from the moment students step on campus and carries them through graduation. A perfect example was the ability earlier this month to move graduation ceremonies online due to the pandemic and the message that former Texas Tech quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes delivered during his address to students.
He also touted the recent rankings by the Corporate Recruiter College Graduate Ranking Poll, which rated Texas Tech as one of the best schools in the nation and one of the top Association of Public Land-grant Universities for preparing graduates to enter the workforce.
"That says a lot about our university," Schovanec said. "It reflects our Texas Tech culture but also the values associated with West Texas, such as a strong work ethic, civility and ambition. Even though most of our students don't come from this area, once they come to our campus, they adopt these qualities for which all Texas Tech graduates are known, making them highly desired by recruiters."
Schovanec also discussed the new horizons that local students will discover beyond the classroom as they are exposed to myriad cultures and values within the diverse student body.
This was the fifth straight year – the first time online – that Schovanec has spoken to West Texas high school students to stress the advantages and availability of a college education.
"We value students from West Texas and recognize that the values and culture students from West Texas bring to the learning experience is important to preserving the friendly and optimistic persona that Texas Tech is known for," said Jamie Hansard, vice president for enrollment management.