LeTourneau University: The Christian Polytechnic University

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LeTourneau University (LETU) is a private interdenominational Christian college in Longview, Texas. This liberal arts school is world-renowned for its technical programs.

As a polytechnic university, LETU specializes in the vocational sciences with degrees in engineering, aeronautics, computer science, and nursing. The college also offers non-technical degrees in business, education, psychology, theology, and the arts and sciences – including forensic chemistry.

As a Christian university, LeTourneau educators engage students to nurture Christian virtue, develop competency and ingenuity in their professional fields, integrate faith and work, and serve the local and global community. LETU established the Center for Faith and Work to help people find more joy and meaning in their work by understanding how their work matters to God. LETU’s vision statement bears this out:

“Claiming every workplace in every nation as our mission field, LeTourneau University graduates are professionals of ingenuity and Christ-like character who see life’s work as a holy calling with eternal impact.”

LeTourneau University is named for its founder, R.G. LeTourneau, a devout Christian businessman and one of the world’s foremost inventors of earthmoving equipment. The school was founded in 1946 as LeTourneau Technical Institute to serve male veterans returning from World War II with vocational training.

The first classes were held on April 1, 1946, on the site of a recently abandoned WWII hospital. Speer Chapel is the only remaining WWII-era structure and is a popular wedding venue.

Today, the university provides coeducational undergraduate and graduate degree programs at the university’s main campus in Longview as well as online. View the course catalog here.

LETU is consistently ranked in the top tier by U.S. News & World Report. It has won awards for Best Value and for Best Christian Universities. In March 2016, LeTourneau received attention for its Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems degree program.

LETU faculty includes Fulbright Scholars, the former undersecretary to one of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and countless industry experts with experience leading top-tier organizations including NASA and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. LETU students don’t just learn theory—they put their hands to use with practical applications. Graduates are prepared with real-world experience that equips them to succeed in their chosen fields.

The academic environment at LeTourneau is ideal for those with a background in homeschooling. From the LETU website: “LeTourneau University is a place for those who learn by doing. We are makers, doers, creators. We are small enough to give every student hands-on professional experience and comprehensive enough to assemble outstanding faculty in dozens of academic programs.” Homeschoolers certainly understand the value of learning through hands-on experiences.

The spiritual environment at LeTourneau is also ideal for Christian homeschoolers. Christian principles are integrated into every major and every course. LeTourneau University has required chapel services, weekly devotionals, and a Christian conduct policy. No smoking or drinking is permitted. The sciences are taught with regard for the Bible, creation, and Christian stewardship, while seeking to pinpoint scientific contributions within the greater picture of God’s revelation in nature.

LeTourneau University has a total undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2,862 with 1,400 of those enrolled as traditional students at the Longview campus. LETU students represent 50 states, 20 countries, and over 45 denominations. The average incoming SAT score is 1170 with an average 3.5 high school GPA. Admissions is fairly competitive as the acceptance rate is 45%, but LETU gladly welcomes homeschool applicants.

Homeschoolers account for nearly one in five students at the Longview campus. According to the LETU website, “Homeschooling is an investment of time and resources that pays amazing dividends. At LeTourneau University, we understand homeschoolers because we aim to build upon what parents have already begun. Hands-on education, a low faculty-to-student ratio, and an environment that encourages spiritual growth and meaningful relationships makes LETU a great fit for homeschooled students.”

LeTourneau University has small class sizes and courses taught by professors and professionals instead of teacher aides. Faculty and staff often invite students into their homes for fellowship, mentoring and home-cooked meals.

Also somewhat unusual to LETU is the extensive amount of student pride and residence hall unity known as “floor pride.” Many floors in the residence halls have their own student-created name, logo, mascot, colors, T-shirt, etc.; these floors form teams that compete in intramural events. Many students remain on the same floor until they graduate from the university, only leaving to move off campus or to on-campus apartments rather than to join another floor.

The Solheim Recreation and Activity Center is LeTourneau University’s hub for its 13 men’s and women’s NCAA Division III athletic teams as well as intramural sports. The Solheim Center is also available to LETU faculty, staff and students for working out (or just hanging out).

The Longview campus is located on 162 acres and is separated from the surrounding neighborhoods. There are a lot of historical items to see on the university campus, along with offering a quiet oasis for walking and relaxing.

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