Tennessee Tech News

TTU Alumni Association Honors Six During Homecoming Celebrations

Published Monday Oct 1, 2001

Recognizing outstanding service and accomplishments, Tennessee Tech University's Alumni Association will honor six alumni and friends of the university during a reception and ceremony on Friday, Oct. 5, at 4 p.m. in the Roaden University Center's Multipurpose Room.

The awards ceremony, part of the university's Homecoming 2001 celebrations, is free and open to the community. This year's Distinguished Alumni winners are Jimmy Bedford and W.J. Julian. Outstanding Service Award Winners are Howell Bush, Eldon Leslie and Gary Sasser. The Outstanding Young Alumnus is Daniel Bardayan. Outstanding Young Alumnus Daniel Bardayan

Bardayan, a 1993 physics graduate, won individual recognition with the 2001 American Physical Society Dissertation Award, given to the best dissertation in nuclear physics by a doctoral student from a North American university.

Bardayan works at Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Holifield Radioactive Ion Beams Facility, the first U.S. facility and only the second in the world to create high quality radioactive beams. His research was one of only 10 projects selected for a Research Achievement Award at ORNL, and the only one selected for the author of the year award.

After graduating from TTU, he attended graduate school at Yale University and received his doctorate in 1999. He continues to work at ORNL as a Wigner Fellow. Outstanding Service Awards Gary Sasser

Sasser, president and CEO of Averitt Express, provides financial support, service and expertise to the university. A member of the 1915 Giving Society of the President's Club, the university's highest level of donor recognition, he is being honored for his company's support and for his personal philanthropic efforts toward the university and the community.

A member of the Tennessee Tech Foundation's Board of Directors, he serves on the College of Business Administration Foundation Board of Trustees and is involved with helping students pursue their careers. A frequent guest lecturer in business classes and in executive seminars, he is a member of the Student Career Planning and Awards Committee. He also has been a recipient of the college's Outstanding Business Leadership Award.

Sasser has also been a supporter of Tennessee Tech athletics; the Averitt Express Baseball Complex is currently under construction thanks to funding from the company. Eldon Leslie

As president and CEO of the Cookeville Chamber of Commerce, Leslie has contributed his talents and energy to the significant growth of Cookeville, Putnam County and the Upper Cumberland region. His leadership roles have strengthened the relationship between the university and community.

The University/Community Development Council was formed with his cooperation and guidance to develop awareness of what can be done for the benefit of both parties.

The 1998 recipient of TTU's Outstanding Business Leadership Award, he has offered continued support for the College of Business Administration Foundation as a board member and frequent committee chairperson. A former recipient of the Louis Johnson Outstanding Alumnus Award, Leslie endowed a scholarship for the college to help students from the Upper Cumberland. He also serves as a member of the College of Engineering Foundation.

Leslie's accomplishments in the community include founding the Cookeville-Putnam County Clean Commission, Leadership Putnam, Adopt-A-School Program, the Putnam Travel Development Council and the Cookeville Technical Training Center. Howell Bush

Bush is being recognized for his outstanding and lengthy service to several middle Tennessee counties in the public education system. A devoted sports enthusiast and coach, Bush served more than 30 years in public education, most as a principal. He was especially successful in women's basketball and baseball.

An alumnus with a bachelor's in agriculture and a master's degree, Bush has been an outstanding supporter of TTU, especially toward athletics. In 1997, Bush's contribution to Tennessee Tech athletics was recognized by naming the stadium surrounding Quillen Field "Bush Stadium." Bush contributed about $70,000 to install lights and make other improvements. Distinguished Alumnus Awards Jimmy Bedford

Only the sixth master distiller since 1866 at Jack Daniel Distillery, the nation's oldest registered distillery, Bedford oversees the entire whiskey-making process of milling, yeasting, fermentation and distillation.

Bedford's career with Jack Daniel began 30 years ago as a supervisor trainee. He became a supervisor of distillation, eventually rising to the rank of head distiller after several years of on-the-job training

Born and raised in Moore County, he originally wanted to be a veterinarian. After receiving a degree in animal science from Tennessee Tech in 1962, he worked at Arnold Engineering Development Center until 1968, when he heard about an opening at Jack Daniel Distillery. W. J. Julian

Julian, who earned a bachelor's degree from TTU in English in 1944, was the director of bands at Tennessee Tech for 10 years. During WWII, he served three years in the U.S. Navy, then enrolled at Northwestern University, where he received a bachelor's degree, master's degree and doctorate in music.

After a distinguished career as director of bands at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville for 32 years, he retired in 1993. He has served as president of the American Bandmasters Association, the College of Band Directors National Association and the National Band Association. He also founded the Tennessee Bandmasters Association.

In February 1994, he was inducted into the NBA National Hall of Fame of Distinguished Conductors at Troy State University. He is a Fellow of the Academic Wind and Percussion Arts and has been adjudicator, clinician and conductor throughout the United States, Mexico, Europe and Japan. 

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