Legacy of

Please join us in welcoming Lara Rose (’91, CSMA) as our new Director of Alumni Engagement! Lara has served at LeTourneau University since 2020 in administrative support roles in the School of Engineering & Engineering Technology and, most recently, in the Office of the Provost. Here, Lara reflects on her own LeTourneau story and what she finds especially meaningful about her new role.

Lara Rose, Director of Alumni EngagementI’m grateful to God for his faithfulness and for my story. My LeTourneau story is really a story of different aspects of God’s faithfulness over the years. It started when my great-grandmother, Susie, attended a revival in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she heard R.G. LeTourneau speak. When she returned to the farm, she encouraged my mom to attend LeTourneau. So, in the fall of 1962, my mom, JoAnn “Jody” Fleisch Wallace, came to LeTourneau as a student. That was the second year that they allowed co-ed’s on campus (she was one of seven female students that year). She has very fond memories of her time here and maintains relationships with her fellow students.

I want to share one of my mom’s memories: When she was too homesick to remain on campus, another student gave up his seat so she could fly home to Indiana on one of R.G.’s (Pop’s) airplanes—the A26 bomber converted for private use—with Pop. He allowed my mom to fly on his plane to a town near her hometown so she could see her family for eight hours. He helped her overcome her pain of being away from her family.

Fast forward to my senior year in high school, and I really wanted to stay close to home. Upon April of that year, my mom said, "Why don’t we go out and visit LeTourneau?" So, we did. It was then, on a preview weekend, that I first developed my admiration and respect for LeTourneau University. And on the flight home, I knew this was where God wanted me to study. I longed to pursue a technical degree in a Christian environment, and LeTourneau was one of a few colleges that combined both.

When I was a student, I wanted to focus on the academics and earn all A’s, but did also meet my husband, Dan "Verl" Rose (’90, EE). After we graduated, we married, I worked while Dan continued grad school, and we had five children. Ten years ago we returned to Longview so our children could also participate in the LeTourneau community. (This year, my youngest was a freshman, and my daughter was able to participate in a spring break mission trip with Beloved and Beyond.)

After a twenty-year sabbatical to invest in my family, I have enjoyed working on this fabulously updated campus. It’s not the capital improvements that drew us back, but the people and the legacy Pop and Mom LeTourneau began more than 75 years ago. Since moving back to Longview, it has been delightful to reconnect with old classmates, and it is especially fun to get to know the next generation of LeTourneau students. I always love hearing how God sovereignly works to bring people to the campus of LeTourneau University.

After a decade back at LeTourneau, I can attest to the fact that we really are The Christian Polytechnic University in ways that are as true today as they were when my mom was here. And with every hire that we make I feel like I am so encouraged and inspired by our leadership. They’re very prayerful. I’m excited to see the faculty continue to mentor students, including mine. I have five kids that have all benefited from classes at LeTourneau University. We dropped our youngest off in August and met some fellow empty nester alums who were students with me and my husband, Dan, so I value what LeTourneau has to bring to our current student body.

It’s a joy to see that come to life still today. LeTourneau’s caring and upstanding community of leaders and students shaped my mom’s experience, and therefore mine as well. For me, the influence of professors like Mr. Roger Erickstad profoundly impacted my experience at LeTourneau. Not only did he provide superb classroom instruction, but he attended sporting events, mentored us spiritually, and guided us professionally—all of this flavored with a good deal of humor. The Erickstads had us in their home and have faithfully kept in touch with us over the course of thirty years! I long to be available to students and co-workers the way the Erickstads have been and continue to be to me and my husband.

The LeTourneau experience is such a well-rounded one. I do value my degree, but probably the even more lasting impact that LeTourneau had on me during my time as a student was the spiritual one. I was a part of the inaugural Spring Break Missions trip to Mexico. This spring, as I had the opportunity to travel to LightSys in Colorado Springs with our computer science students, I was able to continue to see and actively participate in the ways in which LeTourneau is equipping them with competency in the workplace and also intentionally sparking that desire to work as unto the Lord and take the Gospel all across the world by using their skills.

In my new role as Director of Alumni Engagement, I’m excited about serving well, and I’m especially excited about working with alumni. My first glimpse working with alumni came when I was in the School of Engineering & Engineering Technology working with members of the Academy of Engineering. Making those phone calls and connecting with those individuals, updating them with campus updates but also asking how we could pray for them, and hearing how they’re praying for the university... those phone calls were transformative for me. I see the value and the impact that our alumni are still having—when they come back to campus for fun events, but also when they come back to campus for things like career fairs looking for employees.

I’m also eager to create opportunities for our alumni to create local groups of community. That worked for me and Dan! We pulled out that old alumni directory when we did a cross-country move to New York, and it was immediate family and community for us. We ended up celebrating birthdays and holidays with those people and found our local church that way. So, I’m grateful for what the Alumni Office has provided for us over the years and look forward to seeing how that can be true for others.

Recently on a phone call with an alumnus, he referred to our 162-acre campus as "sacred ground." My prayer as I walk the outskirts of campus is that it will indeed remain "sacred ground" and serve as an Ebenezer of sorts in each student’s spiritual life. That LeTourneau legacy—the top-notch education paired with an intimate Christian environment—it still exists today. LeTourneau emphasizes both aspects of shaping an individual—which is why it is the Christian Polytechnic University.

To my fellow alumni—it’s energizing and encouraging when I hear from you. God is opening my eyes and revealing His character with each interaction. I sincerely love you and am so proud of how well you represent our Savior Jesus Christ and LeTourneau University.

May we pray about how God might have us be involved to partner together and engage with our classmates. I’m eager to also challenge each of us to think of how we can pour back into our current students and back into the university that has equipped us and given us the foundation that we have. I’d like you join me in considering a passage to use in prayer for the university.

My passage is Psalm 46—inspired by the fact that we were founded in 1946—and I’ve just been meditating on those truths: God is our refuge and strength, the Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our fortress, and we can be still and know that He is God. He’s going to be faithful to continue the legacy that was started by Mom and Pop LeTourneau 75-plus years ago.

I Samuel 12:24 reads, “Only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you,” and has been my life verse since my days as a student at LETU. I am so grateful for this opportunity to get to know you better, to serve you, and most importantly to glorify God together.

Please, email me, text, or call anytime; let me know if you’d like to schedule a FaceTime or video chat!

Spring Update from the Office of Alumni & Development

Hear more from Lara about her experience as a LeTourneau student and what she's looking forward to as Director of Alumni Engagement.