Chancellor Michael MartinDespite the depressed economy and the current shuffling of the SEC, LSU is poised for long-term financial, academic and athletic prosperity, the university’s chancellor says. “This is a time of campus renewal,” Chancellor Michael Martin told the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge at its monthly luncheon today. “People ask us, ‘Why are you building now, in this economy?’ I say, this is the best time. It drives investment and creates badly needed jobs.” He says projects currently under way include a new business complex, new residence hall, bookstore, parking garage and band hall, as well several remodeling projects. “We’re off to a great start,” he says. “On campus, we’re trying to be more entrepreneurial.” Martin says that in addition to construction, fostering continued student enrollment is paramount. “It’s that first summer off when we lose a lot of students,” he says. “If we keep them as freshman and sophomores, they’ll stay as juniors and seniors.” He says that retention programs for students and student-athletes have given LSU “the highest yields in recruiting in all of the SEC.” He says he has seen a lot of graduate names on local businesses, “and I wish we had more. We are working on it.” He says that LSU’s overall outlook “is a wonderful testament to the people who go out and market us.” He says support from students, alumni, businesses and other donors relies upon perception of the school. “We are being held accountable by the market, and we’re on the right trajectory,” he says. β€”Ian McGibboney

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