Campus turns out to support Tech Strong: Day of Service
One year after an F4 tornado violently swept through parts of Baxter, along Highway 70 and into Cookeville, killing 19 people and damaging hundreds of homes, Tennessee Tech University paid tribute to the lives lost and the impact the tornado had on the community by designating March 3, 2021 as Tech Strong: Day of Service.
A ceremony was held Wednesday morning on Centennial Plaza where students, faculty and staff gathered to listen to various speakers recant that fateful day, give thanks and discuss the reaction and response campus had to the tornado.
The ceremony was emceed by Buddy Pearson, Tech communications and news director, and included speakers Rob Owens, interim vice president for student affairs; Lauren Neal, manager for the center for innovation in teaching and learning; Jessica Davis, internal auditor; Terri McWilliams, director of budgets; Aaron Lay, SGA president; Kim Hanna, dean of the Whitson-Hester School of Nursing; Dewayne Alexander, head football coach; Doc Wells, a professor in the department of decisions sciences and management; Susan Wells, a lecturer in the department of decision sciences and management; and Megan Atkinson, Tech archivist.
Students were also encouraged to sign up for service projects as an alternative spring break.
Later in the afternoon, several students, faculty and staff gathered in front of Derryberry Hall where Tech president Phil Oldham and Owens said a few words before the chimes in Derryberry carillon rang 19 times at 1:48 p.m., to honor each person who died in the tornado in Putnam County. Those 19 victims were also honored with a star placed alongside Centennial Plaza.