Following a 45-year career as an educator -- 22 of which were spent in the office of Extended Services (now Extended Education) at Tennessee Tech -- Golden retired in 1992. He was interim dean of Extended Services at the time and was conferred the title of dean emeritus.
"Dr. Golden was a very positive influence, not only here at the university, but in the region and across the state," says President Angelo Volpe. "He was a truly great ambassador for the university and the education profession."
Volpe added, "Charlie Golden was not only a professional colleague of mine but also a personal friend, and I will miss him greatly."
Golden was well known throughout Tennessee as a tireless advocate of education, spearheading improvements in the delivery of educational programs in the Upper Cumberland and Middle Tennessee. He coordinated several highly popular continuing education programs that continue today: the annual Education Leadership Conference, Fall Education Conference, Law Seminar and Mini-Workshops in Education.
"These programs affect teachers in the entire Upper Cumberland," says Susan Elkins, director of Extended Education. Elkins worked with Golden in his final year at Tennessee Tech.
"Dr. Golden's strong desire and dedication to provide opportunities for the people of the Upper Cumberland region and surrounding area was so evident throughout his years here at Tennessee Tech," Elkins says. "His efforts have touched many lives."
Leo McGee, associate vice president of Academic Affairs, worked closely with Golden as the associate dean of Extended Education until 1986.
McGee recalls, "Charlie was widely recognized by his peers for establishing and maintaining the educational conferences that brought as many as 3,000 teachers from around the region to Tennessee Tech for workshops and seminars. In terms of the size, content and quality of those programs, the conferences he created were unequaled in the Southeast."
McGee also says, "Charlie was solid to the core in his humaneness, his sensitivity to the welfare of others and his desire to see nontraditional students succeed."
"Dr. Golden loved Tennessee Tech and took great pride in serving the university," says Rebecca Quattlebaum, dean of Graduate Studies & Extended Education. "His influence will be missed."
Joseph Lerner, former dean of Tennessee Tech's College of Arts & Sciences, credits Golden with extending the university's academic offerings far beyond the boundaries of Cookeville.
"Dr. Golden was an institution in providing quality educational opportunities for people of all walks of life across the region," says Lerner, now a professor of Chemistry at Tennessee Tech. "He had a disarming way about him; irrespective of a person's background, he could reach out and make the appropriate connections.
"For Tennessee Tech, that meant making the crucial contacts we needed to get our faculty out in the rural areas to deliver education. He resisted the notion that education should be centered about the traditional student -- he strongly endorsed the concept of lifelong learning for our citizenry."
Before joining the Tennessee Tech administration in 1969, Golden served in a variety of positions in his native White County. He was a supervisor, administrator and principal for nine years and superintendent of the Sparta City Schools System for 11 years. He also worked as a freelance correspondent for the Nashville Banner, The Tennessean, the Chattanooga Times and the Memphis Commercial Appeal. For six years, he was editor of the Sparta Expositor.
Golden was a World War II veteran of the U.S. Army and also served in the U.S. Army Active Reserve Corps. His military honors include the Presidential Citation for Meritorious Service, the Bronze Star and the Outstanding Service Award.
Golden earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Tennessee Tech in 1949 (then Tennessee Polytechnic Institute). He went on to earn masters' degrees in education and in administration and supervision from the George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville (now a division of Vanderbilt University). In addition to post-graduate work at the University of Tennessee and Middle Tennessee State University, Golden completed a doctorate in education at the American University in Washington, D.C.
Golden co-authored three books and published over 25 articles in his field. For his efforts as an educator, he received Phi Kappa Phi's Outstanding Service Award and the Tennessee Association for Continuing Education's Outstanding Educator of the Year Award, among other honors. During American Education Week in 1987, White County paid him a special tribute for his years of service to public and higher education.
During his tenure, Golden assisted the university's fundraising efforts as a member of the College of Agriculture Foundation, the Athletic Foundation and the Education Foundation.
Funeral services began at 10 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 10, at Hunter Funeral Home in Sparta. Tennessee Tech held a memorial service at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 9, in Johnson Hall Auditorium.