Traditions at Tennessee Tech
The beloved mascot for Tennessee Tech. Through the years, our mascot has gone through three name changes and numerous costumes. Golden Eagle was the original name in 1962-1974. The name changed again in 1975 to “Evel Eagle” referring to Evel Knievel because of the daredevil stunts performed at games. In the late 1970s, “Tommy” was actually the struttin’ Eagle logo, rather than a suited mascot. “Tommy Tech” came from the “TT” on his sweater. In 1985, the final name change was made to Awesome Eagle. Awesome Eagle is a two-time, consecutive UCA National Championship title winner (2014-2015). The campus celebrates Awesome Eagle's birthday each year on February 14 with music, giveaways, cupcakes, and lots of fun!
Since 1985, the traditional showering of "Tech Squares" after the first Golden Eagle basket during a home basketball game. "Tech Squares" were small squares of toilet paper that were used as "snow" in basketball blizzards. To this day, Students still attempt a variation of the Blizzard tradition.
Organ-like instrument that rings the bells from the Derryberry Hall clock tower. The carillon was the idea of former First Lady of Tennessee Tech, Joan Derryberry. She was a native of England and the bells reminded her of home. Daily the carillon rings each quarter hour and on special occasions, such as commencement. The Alma Mater is chimed each day at 5:00 p.m.
Legendary dog that would stroll campus in the early 1950s. The common myth is that Dammit’s remainsare buried beside the fire hydrant on the Quad.
Derryberry Golden Eagle
The metal golden eagle was “liberated” in 1952 from Monteagle Hotel by three Tech students. A full-scale replica of the eagle is perched on the tower of Derryberry Hall.
Pep truck that drove around Overall Field following each Eagle score from 1966 until 1993. Also, a term used to refer to our athletic opponents during the ‘50s and ‘60s. Fans would yell, “Eagle bait, eagle bait,” as the opposing team took the field.
This is located on the corner of Peachtree Avenue and William L. Jones Drive. It is directly in front of the entrance to Lewis Hall. During the expansion of the west side of campus, engineers designed this point to signify the college’s precise degree of engineering. Students who walk past this area can hear their voice echo when talking.
Each incoming freshman class is escorted to Tucker Stadium after their Convocation ceremony to take their Class Photo. Students receive a digital copy of their photo to download and share with their family. This symbolic moment captures each incoming freshman class as part of Tech’s longstanding history.
This tradition is one that honors the faculty or staff member that made the greatest impact on students during their time at Tech. President Oldham shares this challenge to incoming new students at University Convocation. He asks that upon students’ graduation to write a letter to the faculty or staff member that made a difference and changed their life during their experience at Tech. Next, he asks students to provide the faculty or staff members both the letter and their challenge coin.
Construction of a water feature on Centennial Plaza began at the start of what would be an unprecedented semester at Tennessee Tech. In the spring of 2020, work to create this new water feature was started just as a deadly EF-4 tornado struck our community, the COVID-19 pandemic began, and civil unrest over racial and political issues took hold. Seeing the falls completed just as campus activities began to resume, was symbolic of the challenges the campus community overcome together. When President Oldham reached out to campus for suggestions on a name for the waterfall, he received hundreds of suggestions, but Fearless Falls became a quick favorite. Named in honor of the fearless nature of our campus community, the waterfall’s name embodies who we are.
Hat all freshmen wore during their first term on campus. It was gold and purple and had the student’s name in it.
First homecoming celebration was in 1928. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community are welcome to celebrate the homecoming of Tech and watch the golden eagles play. A parade going from Dixie Avenue and throughout campus includes local high school marching bands, community organizations, Tech Greek organizations and the homecoming court. Various college and organization reunions take place this day and Mr. and Mrs. Tennessee Tech are crowned.
Homecoming parade tradition started in 1979. Members of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity dress up in crazy outfits, play kazoos and entertain the crowd.
Lighting the Quad
Lighting the Quad is Tech’s annual holiday event, filled with music, fun and fellowship. It is held in late November, when the historic quad’s holiday lights are lit, followed by a party in Memorial Gym.
Tech Strong: Day of Service
On the early morning of March 3, 2020, an EF-4 tornado touched down just miles from campus, destroying homes and business and killing 19 people. The students, faculty and staff of Tennessee Tech rallied together to help their hometown, volunteering for clean-up and rebuilding efforts. Tech loves Cookeville and continues to give back through donations and service to our beloved community. The annual Tech Strong: Day of Service was created to offer students, faculty and staff opportunities to sign up for service projects as an alternative spring break.
Student section located in the Hooper Eblen Center. It is used to help create an energetic atmosphere and bring students together to support athletics. Tech students get into all regular season Tech athletic events for free with their eagle card/student I.D. #FillTheNest is used as a rally for home games and special events.
Is the formal induction ceremony of the freshman class each Fall semester into Tech’s academic community. Just as the graduation commencement serves as a ritual marking the completion of study; Convocation is a ritual to signal the beginning of a college career.
Running of the Freshmen
Annual home football game event where the new freshmen class have the opportunity to run out on the field with the President and First Lady.
Totem pole that since 1960 has gone to the winner of the Tennessee Tech-MTSU football game. Fred Harvey, owner of then Harvey’s Department Store in Murfreesboro, donated the Alaskan totem pole to symbolize victory. In Murfreesboro, they call the totem pole, “Harvey.” The “Totem Bowl” rivalry ended in 1998 when Middle Tennessee State University moved to a different athletic division. Tech’s last win was in 1997. Shinny-Ninny now sits behind a glass display case in MTSU’s Hall of Fame building.
Week of Welcome
A week-long celebration to kick off the start of the fall semester. Freshmen are encouraged to attend activities such as new student move in, Convocation, Freshman Class Photo, Mix & Mingle and other activities.
A decidedly unique hand gesture using a forward fist with an extended thumb and little finger, Tennessee Tech students began using Wings Up to greet, cheer and encourage others. As President Oldham noted in 2018, there is no one answer to what Wings Up means. However, in the context of the historic 2018 Golden Eagles Baseball Team’s run in the College World Series, it’s a battle cry or a call to action that references the majestic flight of our Golden Eagle mascot. If you are confident, determined or passionate, then you say Wings Up.