Tech diversity advocate, former football player named alumni board chair

Dontrell Baines
Dontrell Baines

Tennessee Tech University has named a longtime diversity champion and former Golden Eagle football player as chair of its Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Dontrell Baines, a native of Dover, Delaware and 2009 Tech graduate with a degree in accounting, will serve as chair of the Alumni Association’s board through June 2025. Baines works as a business transformation manager for Capgemini, a global consulting company.

Founded in 1921, the Alumni Association acts as a liaison between Tech alumni and the university. It plans and hosts events for alumni across the country and on campus, helps alumni find classmates, offers various products and services that benefit alumni, and serves as a starting point for alumni who have questions or requests related to the university.

In his new position, Baines says he hopes to raise the profile of the Alumni Association and increase participation from recent graduates.

“I want to be able to increase visibility, increase relationships with our alums and branch out as far as growing the funds we have in our account and the amount of participation we have from our alumni,” said Baines. “I want alumni to understand what the board is and want to be a part of it.”

Baines with his wife, Christine, and their children, Dallas and Dakota.
Baines with his wife, Christine, and their children, Dallas and Dakota.

Beyond his service to the Alumni Association, Baines serves as an advisor for Tech’s Chi Lambda chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., a historically African American fraternity that he joined as a Tech student. He is also chair of the university’s Multicultural Affairs Alumni Advisory Council (MAAAC).

“With the MAAAC, our main priority is to make sure we are progressing as a university – that we have diversity, that we are bringing students from many backgrounds and making Tech attractive to minority students,” said Baines.

As the first person of color to lead Tech’s Alumni Association, Baines applauded the university’s progress in growing diversity on campus and engaging students from many backgrounds. 

“What I feel like the university is doing right is that they are allowing space for minority students to come, feel accepted and have places to go. Tech has programs for minority leadership, tutoring and mentoring that helps with the expansion of diverse students coming to the university,” explained Baines. “Tech is open and very supporting. We’re a big family. I believe that. That’s the reason why I’m here and why I continue to push for greater diversity. We need everyone’s viewpoints represented because the world is diverse.”

Baines played for the Golden Eagle football team during all four years of his time at Tech.
Baines played for the Golden Eagle football team during all four years at Tech.

Kelly Chambers, assistant director of the Crawford Alumni Center at Tech, said that Baines is already making a difference with his service to the Alumni Association.

“Since joining the Alumni Association Board of Directors two years ago, Dontrell has been a passionate advocate for Tennessee Tech. Thanks to him, we have seen increased attendance in our alumni events, and he helped the Crawford Alumni Center host gatherings near his home in Georgia,” said Chambers. “Dontrell also led the effort to have an Alumni Association tailgate tent at last year’s homecoming, which was extremely well-attended. We are connecting with more alumni than ever before, thanks to his efforts. We are excited to have him as the next chair of the Alumni Association and know he will continue to bring new ideas and energy to a fantastic group of board members.”

Charria Campbell, director of student engagement and Intercultural Affairs at Tech, also applauded Baines’ selection for the board chair role.

“Dontrell has been a great supporter of the Intercultural Affairs Office and the work we do to support students here at Tech and also helping to bridge the gap between current students and alumni,” said Campbell. “He has really been instrumental in getting more Black alumni reconnected with campus. He does an excellent job with his team to keep them informed about campus and getting them to assist with our programs, whether it is recruitment events such as Race to Tech each November, helping to support student organizations, or assisting with programming hosted by the office. I know that Dontrell will continue to move the Alumni Association forward and bring some fresh ideas to engage more alums. He will continue great, impactful work that will leave a legacy for many to follow.” 

Baines, who was 17 years old when he first came to Tech on a full-ride scholarship, credits the university for helping grow him into an adult. He recalls faculty in the College of Business such as Steven Isbell and Thomas Timmerman as being particularly impactful on his university experience.

Looking ahead, the former Golden Eagle athlete said he is excited about what the future holds for Tech, including the upcoming construction of a new football stadium and football operations center.

“I’m extremely excited. Our stadium is older, and we’ve lacked a dedicated operations center for the team. I know for a fact this will bolster recruitment to the university,” added Baines. “I know that we’ll have more fans wanting to come to see the facilities. It will be a breath of fresh air – more players wanting to come, more coaches wanting to come, more students wanting to come. It’s going to be amazing.”

Baines and his wife, Christine, live in Atlanta, Georgia with their children Dallas, age four, and Dakota, age two.

Return to News Room