Clay Newell Hixson grew up on a rural Bledsoe County farm, learning as a young boy the value of hard work. This is a trait that Clay carried with him as he served, like many men of his age, in the Navy during World War II. After leaving the service, Clay entered Tennessee Tech in the spring of 1950. Wiring houses in the evenings and on the weekends, Clay scraped the money together to pay for his education. Through hard work and dedication, Clay managed to earn an electrical engineering degree in just three years, graduating in December 1953.
Clay suffered a debilitating stroke in 1996, yet remained active and engaged with the help of his good friend Mary Northrup. Though Clay passed away in April 2009, his legacy with TTU continues through a $1.5 million estate gift to the College of Engineering.
That legacy comes to life when the first floor of Clement Hall will play host to College of Engineering’s Clay N. Hixson Student Success Center. Outfitted with comfortable furniture and decorative columns to represent each engineering department, the Center is aimed at being an incubator for knowledge and study. Built around the motto, “Reaching Milestones,” the Center will connect students with assistance should they fall behind.
Designed as much more than just a quiet place to study, the Center aims to keep students on track and help them as they progress toward graduation. Student Success Center Director Laurie Roberson notes, “We have plans for 12 to 15 tutors, and not just engineering tutors – physics and math tutors as well. We also have ten ambassadors who will be engaged in campus and community events, including recruiting efforts here in Cookeville.”
Hours for the Clay N. Hixson Student Success Center will be 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, and 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.