The legacy of the president back on campus in a new freshman


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Caroline Clifton of Goshen, Ohio, is 18 and already part of Louisiana Tech’s history.

Now a freshman, Clifton is the great-granddaughter of Dr. F. Jay Taylor, who became president of the University in 1962 at the age of just 39. He was a WWII aviator, historian, author and visionary. He was president until 1987, retired here and died in Ruston in the spring of 2011.

But Taylor is still an influence today, and some of that influence is evidenced by Clifton’s decision to attend Tech.

“The first time I was on the Louisiana Tech campus was in November 2018, and I came with my grandfather (Taylor’s son, Terry) and two cousins ​​who are going to be high school students” , she said. “At that point, I had already applied to Tech, but I didn’t see it as a very realistic option (due to the distance from his family’s home in Ohio), but my grandpa did encouraged my family members and I to go visit him so we could see where he had grown up. As a history buff, especially family history buff, I couldn’t wait to see the place my grandfather had talked about so much about and to see the place my great-grandmother (grandmother ) remembers so well.

It was a long day of travel from Goshen – about 30 miles east of Cincinnati – but the gang made it to the Monroe airport, piled into a rental car, and drove towards the Where is. It wasn’t long before the pull of the past and a hope for her future won her over.

“When we got to Ruston, I immediately felt a sense of belonging,” said Clifton. “The next day, President (Current Technical) Guice met us and we made a personal and detailed tour of the campus. This tour included a glimpse of “the White House”, the home of the former president, and my grandfather was able to show my cousins ​​and me Grandpa’s room and the place where he accidentally went. lit a fire on the stairs. Walking past the FJ Taylor building (the Visual Arts Center) and seeing Grandpa’s photo and name in the halls of Louisiana Tech, I knew I would feel at home here. Once I learned how important the technological legacy was, I didn’t think about any other college. I knew I wanted Tech.

“As I enter my first year,” she said, “I am delighted not only to carry on Grandpa’s legacy, but also to start mine and hopefully become the leader. and the person I hope to be. “

No wonder his specialties are, in his case, Taylor-made: public history and political science.

“I chose these majors because I hope to become a museum curator in the future and I also intend to run for political office,” Clifton said. “I have worked at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Museum for almost four years now and have fallen in love with the activist outreach museums can have. Like my great-grandfather, I love history and have a passion to share it. My grandfather was himself a historian and even wrote a novel about a soldier during the Civil War. (“Reluctant rebel: Robert Patrick’s Secret Diary, 1861-1865, was published in 1959.)

“In 10 years, I hope to work in a Smithsonian museum in Washington, DC, and have my master’s degree in museum science,” she said. “If not a Smithsonian museum, I would love to find a larger regional museum in any part of the country that needs help and a young and energetic addition to its team.”

The story of her great-grandfather is a topic she should be much more familiar with upon graduation.

“What I remember about my great-grandfather… is that he was always witty and generous, and he loved animals,” said Clifton. “He always told me about all the dogs he had owned in the past. He had a very respectable presence, and when he was in the room, all of my cousins ​​and siblings and I could speak loudly and clearly and look him in the eye. Grandpa was one of the smartest people I have ever met, but I wish I could have spent more time with him considering I was only 10 when he passed away and we were living so far away that I rarely saw him.

Although his home in Ohio is 2 p.m. from Ruston, another important part of Dr. Taylor’s legacy lives just six minutes from campus.

“Lucky for me, my great-grandfather’s second wife, Lou Taylor, still lives in Ruston,” Caroline said. “We recently reconnected for coffee when I was in town for orientation. Lou is a kind, bright and involved woman, and I am so happy that my great-grandfather found someone like her before he passed away. Lou still gives generously to Tech every year and is an alumnus herself. I look forward to getting closer to her throughout my stay in Ruston.

Clifton considered George Washington University in DC, Ohio State University, and Center College in Danville, Ky., But chose technology because, “unlike all of those other schools,” she said, “There wasn’t a major problem with the technology. For example, Ohio State is a great school, but it’s so big that it can take a whole week to receive office hours with it. your teacher, and by that point you’re already late for a class. It wasn’t something I wanted for the next four years of my life. Plus, Tech has a ‘home’ feeling that I didn’t feel like I was in any of the other colleges I visited. I felt like I could be myself at Tech.

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Kevin E. Boling

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