Campus Live had the opportunity to sit down with our fearless leader in Raider Land, Dr. Lawrence Schovenec. During our visit, we wanted to nd out a little more about our President and his background, get his thoughts on Texas Tech and its accomplishments, and nd out what he’s up to outside of being the President of Texas Tech University.
You might be a bit surprised to learn some of the things we discovered during our Q&A, and we hope you enjoy just as much as we did!
Q: Give Red Raider fans a brief glance into your background growing up.
A: I was one of twelve children raised on a farm in Oklahoma. My mother graduated from Oklahoma State in 1950, which was unusual for a farm girl. My father ended up going to college many years later and eventually did get a college degree. All of my siblings graduated from college. It was sort of a natural understanding that we pursue a college degree. I went to a grade school out in the country; it was a two-room school. I went to
a small high school and one thing I like to brag about is that I was State Champion in Class A in the mile. One day I was telling my sons about my great achievements and my wife said, “well, you need to tell them that it was Class A, and you beat two goats, a chicken, and a cousin.”
Q: Can you tell Red Raider fans something they might not know about you?
A: When I started at Tech, I spent one year here then took a leave to go to A&M. That’s where I met my wife, who then began teaching at Baylor! I came back to Tech, and then went back to A&M again, but I knew this was the right place for me. I love the atmosphere on this campus. Once I got tenure, I bought a home over on Twentieth Street where we still live today. And lastly, I think I’m a pretty darn good gardener. I was a mediocre mathematician, but I was a darn good gardener. But, I don’t have time to do that anymore.
Q: What inspired you to pursue academia?
A: Well, I think it goes back to my upbringing where there was an unspoken expectation that school was important. I’m not sure that our parents were really paying attention to what grades we were making, but all of my brothers and sisters were really good students. We went to a small school so it was a great accomplishment to be a valedictorian or salutatorian, I think most of them were, but it was just a natural part of our upbringing that school mattered and we were expected to do well there. Therefore, seeing what it has done for my family, advocating for the cause of higher education is a natural part of who I am.
Q: What are your thoughts on Texas Tech’s growth?
A: You know, Texas Tech’s growth has been emphasized for various reasons. Right now, we’re not so obsessed on growing, although we will continue to grow because it helps us remain competitive for state funding, our growth takes a balance into account between quality and inclusivity. We want Texas Tech to be elite but exclusive. As Tech grows, I think it’s important to keep in mind that we never lose the values that endear those who have graduated from Tech. And that is a place where you
have a sense of family, where you had an exceptional educational experience, and where there are personal connections. So our challenge is to maintain those values in spite of our increasing size.
Q: What is your vision for Texas Tech in the next ten years?
A: e next ten years will see us going through our one-hundredth birthday.
So we are a relatively young university compared to the peers in which we judge ourselves. We want to make sure that as we approach our one-hundredth birthday, Texas Tech is solemnly positioned as a Top 50 National Research University, but one that will be known for providing what we call a signature educational experience for students.
Q: What is your favorite kind of food?
A: I would say any kind of Mexican food, but BBQ food, too. Hot dogs and chili. All things that are good for you.
Q: Where are your favorite spots in Lub- bock?
A: I would say any athletics event! at’s our idea of a good time, going to a Tech athletics event.
Q: What kind of music do you like?
A: I love all kinds of music. Of course, if you go out to the radio in my car, you’ve got e Beatles channel, but on Spotify, I’ve started listening to more younger, alternative music. My wife says I’m inept in terms of pop culture so I’m trying to become more familiar with what younger people are listening to. Alexa is the one that can identify what kind of music for me.
Q: Any favorite vacation spots?
A: You know, we’ve not been big on vacations; I’m a pretty big one-dimensional person. We did not have a tradition of going on vacation every year. We have purchased a place out in the country on the Caprock and that, to me, is the best form of vacation. Just going out there when we can. is summer we will be taking an Alaskan cruise with a lot of Big 12 schools, I’m really not looking forward to ten days on a ship.
Q: What are your thoughts on recent athletics success?
A: It’s been awesome! We all know that the fundamental purpose of a university is to
provide an education, to do research
that impacts the sate, but nothing excites people more than athletics success. The atmosphere on this campus is awesome right now. Think back to GameDay.
That was a special day on this campus. I think you saw an outpour of pride from this school. What our students did was something we can all be very proud of. Track has been awesome, women’s tennis, men’s golf, baseball, and these are good days. And you know what? I can’t wait for football!