Tennessee Tech News

Six named Outstanding Award Winners by Alumni Association

Published Saturday Sep 28, 2002

Tennessee Tech University's Alumni Association will honor six alumni and friends of the university during a reception and ceremony during Homecoming 2002.

The Distinguished Alumnus, Outstanding Service and Outstanding Young Alumnus awards are the highest bestowed by the university's alumni association and recognize those who have demonstrated professional excellence and achievement or outstanding service to the university.

The awards reception and ceremony will take place at 4 p.m., Friday, Oct. 4, in the Roaden University Center Multipurpose Room.

Distinguished Alumnus : James R. (Jim) Laycock, I.E. '70 B.S., '74 M.S.

Jim Laycock's business is about running hot and cold, but his contribution to Tennessee Tech has been strong and consistent since graduating from the university.

His professional accomplishments in the heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) field have impacted the entire industry. Now working in Grenada, Miss., for Outokumpu Heatcraft LLC, a joint venture between Outokumpu Copper, the world's second largest producer of copper tube, and Lennox International, the world's largest producer of heat transfer products, , he is responsible for more than 2,000 employees and a $200 million manufacturing business. As General Manager/ North America Heat Transfer, Laycock oversees sales, manufacturing, human resources, finance, quality and product development.

Prior to the joint venture he worked for Lennox International. Before joining Lennox International, Laycock worked for Carrier Corp. for 18 years. Laycock contributes both time and money to TTU. He regularly secures contributions from Lennox to support student travel to conferences. He serves as a link between Lennox and students seeking co-op jobs and faculty seeking research opportunities. As a member of TTU's Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering's Industrial Advisory Board since its inception in 1994, Laycock contributes to curriculum reviews, development of student surveys, and board leadership.

He currently serves as chairman of the Executive Committee. Laycock stays involved with students through seminars and has been instrumental in an alumni campaign to fund renovations for a state-of-the-art classroom. The IME Department named Laycock a Distinguished Alumnus, and TTU's College of Engineering named him an Engineer of Distinction.

Distinguished Alumnus: Mary A. Patterson, Math '68

Mary Patterson's 30-year career developing computer operating systems and communications software took her to customers around the world. She lived five years in Europe and moved 12 times before retiring as an IBM executive in 1992. At IBM, she last served as director of networking consulting practices, having also held the titles of director of ISDN systems and director of network management products.

Patterson helped establish IBM as a market leader in supporting digital networks worldwide, having the responsibility for a product development budget of more than $250 million for the projected revenues of $1 billion. After leaving IBM, she managed product development for two start-up software companies, and worked as a senior vice president at Turner Broadcasting, where she guided software development to support all the Turner companies, including CNN and the Atlanta Braves.

After retirement, Patterson returned to Tennessee to pursue her interest in politics. She coordinates volunteers for Al Gore's political action committee -- Leadership 02 -- in Nashville and assists in organizing fund raising and speaking events in the state for Gore. Since 2001, she has focused her energies forming the "Women Who Vote" project, dedicated to registering women voters in Tennessee.

She endowed the Mary Patterson Scholarship in Computer Science at Tennessee Tech to show her appreciation for education. When she graduated in 1968, no degree program in computer science existed. The scholarship is awarded annually to a female pursuing a career in computer science. Her service to the university includes support to the College of Arts and Sciences and a long tenure as a member of the college's Board of Visitors. To promote the interests and recruiting efforts of the college, she endowed funds for a student group -- "T.H.E." Society of Arts and Sciences -- to represent every aspect of college life or "the human experience," through mentoring and promotional activities.

Outstanding Service: William L. Harper, Chemistry, '51

As a fundraiser, an organizer and a professional, Bill Harper supports his alma mater with enthusiasm and style. Fifty years after his graduation, he found time and energy to serve as the 50th Reunion Gift Committee Chair, and spearheaded a fund-raising effort from the class of 1951. His class donated more than $40,000 to the university.

In another act of service, Harper introduced Morgan County High School students to Tennessee Tech by arranging TTU chemistry department chairperson Scott Northrup's visit to the school, where he performed a chemistry demonstration. To establish a pipeline to quality students from Morgan County, he endowed the William L. Harper Chemistry Scholarship for freshman students in the county majoring in chemistry. He also takes every opportunity to increase the university's visibility in his region by taking advantage of speaking and recruiting opportunities.

In June 1951, Harper graduated from TTU and went to work for Union Carbide's analytical chemistry labs in Oak Ridge. From 1954 to 1956, he worked as a the Army Chemical Corps, first as a radiation mapper at the Nevada test site where above-ground testing of nuclear weapons was conducted, and next as an analyst on nerve gas-related technology at the Army Chemical Center in Maryland. He returned to Union Carbide and worked through 1984 mostly as a group leader in materials chemistry. His last nine years before retirement were spent in analytical chemistry managing laboratory operations. He has served on Department of Energy national and international committees. Harper is now retired and living in Wartburg, Tenn.

Outstanding Service: Ruth L. Golden

Because of Ruth Golden's love of Tennessee Tech, many White County students receive scholarships and assistance to attend their local university through her generosity. Golden and her husband, the late Charles Golden, dean emeritus of TTU's Division of Extended Services, took the occasion of his retirement to establish a scholarship benefiting freshman students from White County pursuing careers in education or agriculture. In her husband's honor, she also established a scholarship for each White County Fairest of the Fair winner to attend Tennessee Tech.

Recently, as a committee member for the White County Breast Cancer Awareness Dinner, she helped raise more than $10,000 to establish a scholarship for freshmen who plan to study nursing. This program is exemplary of her efforts to influence others to support TTU's efforts.

Retired from the USDA Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service, Golden is a member and past officer of the Sparta Women's Club, the Tennessee Federation of Women's Club and the General Federation of Women's Club. She serves as an executive member of the White County Democratic Party and on the White County Hospital Community Governing Board.

Golden also served as a Trustee of the Upper Cumberland Broadcasting Council for five years, and still contributes to the local PBS station by volunteering for the annual auction. At Tennessee Tech, she is an active member of the university's Agriculture Foundation and the College of Education Foundation.

Outstanding Service: Mattie Sue Cooper, History '38

In her service to Tennessee Tech, Mattie Sue Cooper knew it was all about the students. In fact, hundreds of students still write her name when they write their residence hall address, Cooper Hall.

Her official duties at the university began as TTU librarian C.P. Snelgrove's first full-time assistant and ended as the head reference librarian. For a period beginning in September 1945, she served as acting librarian while Snelgrove served in the U.S. Navy. The region also benefited from her talent and expertise, as she helped establish regional libraries in Cumberland, Overton, Putnam and White Counties.

But her resume is highlighted by the time spent with TTU students, as a faculty sponsor of the Pep Club in the 1950s and 60s and the Tech Christian Association (later known as the Interfaith Council). She also spent time caring for freshman women as a dorm hostess.
Cooper also chaperoned Eagle yearbook and Oracle newspaper picnics and many other club events. She often taught overflow classes, American History and library science classes while serving as a full-time librarian.

For several decades she missed less than half a dozen home football and basketball games and is still often a familiar face in the crowd. A member of the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagle Hall of Fame Board for 20 years, she served as secretary for 19 years. The board honored her in 1996 at a Letter Winner's breakfast. She enjoys regularly attending Master's Singers concerts on campus.

Her community service includes work with the American Cancer Society as a local county and city board member and past county chairman.
Of course, her most visible recognition is the residence hall that bears her name, Cooper Hall, which was named shortly after Cooper's retirement in 1979.

Outstanding Young Alumnus: Stephen R. Shaw, C.S. '91

In his most amazing career accomplishment, Steve Shaw has mastered the art of holding a teenager's attention. During his more than 10 years at LucasArts, Shaw has worked on eight projects in numerous positions, including designer and project leader on two successful Star Wars video games : Star Wars Episode I: Obi-Wan and Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith. He has reached success by combining his knowledge of computer science and his love of theater and storytelling.

Working for the interactive software kingdom of LucasArts, founded by filmmaker George Lucas in San Rafael, Calif., Shaw blends experience gained as a lighting and sound designer at Crossville's Cumberland County Playhouse with the technical programming talents he developed at Tennessee Tech.

Shaw has led teams of more than 30 programmers, designers and artists creating games, and has been responsible for script and story creation, character development and scene staging. The 1998 release of Mysteries of the Sith has been hailed as the standard for expansion packs (programs that run off existing games).

His first game as a lead programmer, Full Throttle, revolves around the plight of Ben, a motorcyclist assaulted, left for dead, and framed for murder. Shaw points to this game as a good example of the complex characters that can be created through his artistic and technical talents.
He honed his team skills during college through organizations including the Microcomputer Association. While competing in Association for Computing Machinery programming contests, Shaw and his teammates won some of the region's top awards for computer programming. While in school, he was also involved with the Tech Players, the IEEE Computer Society, and TTMA.

Now involved with the university as a member of TTU's President's Club, Shaw donates to numerous campus causes. His university connections include his father, James, an alumnus, and his younger brother, Mark, a current student.

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