Cookeville business leader, TTU alum, to offer life lessons to TTU's newest alums

Cookeville businessman Paul Ramsey will offer spring graduates of Tennessee Technological University some lessons from his own life Saturday, May 4, when he gives the commencement address in ceremonies beginning at 10 a.m. in Eblen Center.

Ramsey founded and led a number of Cookeville businesses, including Southern Rental Uniform Inc.; Prewash Limited Inc.; real estate holding company RAH Inc.; Aquatech Inc., which employed 1,500 employees, four facilities and had annual sales of $50 million under his leadership; and Cherry Creek Nursery. Now president of King Service-I, a food services company with diversified holdings, Ramsey continues to serve as a board member of several area companies, including C-Fold Inc., Hale & Hines Nursery and Cherry Creek Nursery.

Like many of the graduates he will address, Ramsey is a first-generation college graduate with rural roots who overcame poverty and other obstacles to attain his education and make his mark on the world. Reflecting on that path, Ramsey says he plans to challenge Tennessee Tech's newest alumni to analyze their life goals.

"I want to talk about destiny, which means life has purpose, and urge the students to go after their destiny rather than after success," Ramsey said. "If they reach for their destiny, success will happen naturally, but destiny means far more than just success, particularly in the narrow sense of success in the business world."

A 1962 mathematics graduate of Tennessee Tech, Ramsey is a member of the university's Athletic Foundation and Business Administration Foundation and is active in a number of civic organizations.

A total of 839 degrees in 41 undergraduate fields of study and 16 graduate fields are expected to be conferred during spring commencement. Graduating students hail from 14 other states, 76 Tennessee counties and seven foreign countries, bringing the total number of degrees awarded in Tennessee Tech's 81-year history to more than 42,000.