Tennessee Tech alums, trustees Fred Lowery and Tom Jones pledge $1 million to university athletics

From left: Tennessee Tech alumni and trustees Tom Jones and Fred Lowery pledged a combined $1 million to support university athletics.
From left: Tennessee Tech alumni and trustees Tom Jones and Fred Lowery pledged a combined $1 million to support university athletics. 

A pair of Tennessee Tech University alumni, Board of Trustees members and philanthropists have pledged a combined $1 million to support the university’s athletic programs.

Fred Lowery, a Knoxville native and 1994 Tech football alumnus with a degree in mechanical engineering, pledged $500,000 toward the campaign to rebuild the west side of Tech’s football stadium and construct a dedicated football operations center.

Lowery now serves as senior vice president and president of customer channels for Thermo Fisher Scientific. A university trustee since 2019, Lowery is also the founder of the Lowery Family Fund, which supports education, leadership development, social justice, health equity and the arts.

Tom Jones, a Cookeville native and 1986 Tech graduate with a degree in electrical engineering, pledged $500,000 toward the establishment of a new running track. The existing track spanning the perimeter of the university’s football field will be removed as part of the stadium renovation plan, which calls for bringing spectator seating closer to the field.

Jones, who ran track for Cookeville High School using the Tech track, is now the president of Research Electronics International (REI). He has served on the university’s Board of Trustees since 2017 and was the board’s first chairman from 2017 to 2019. Jones has also been a member of the university’s Foundation Board of Directors since 2010, including a term as chair from 2014 to 2016.

While Lowery and Jones have made sizable unpublicized gifts to the university in years past, the pair have allowed news of their latest contribution to be made public at the university’s request in hopes of inspiring others to consider a gift supporting Tech’s student athletes.

University leaders praised Lowery and Jones’ generous example.

“Tom Jones and Fred Lowery represent the best of our Golden Eagle community. The foundation they received here at Tech helped equip them for incredible success in life and we are deeply grateful that they have chosen time and again to pay it forward by giving back to this campus,” said Tech President Phil Oldham.

“When donors and alumni give to Tech athletics, they are directly supporting our student athletes and making a meaningful investment in the future of this university,” added Tech Athletic Director Mark Wilson. “Tech’s student athletes have posted average GPAs exceeding 3.0 for 30 straight semesters. With new leadership from head football coach Bobby Wilder, a rebuilt stadium on the horizon and the generous backing of leaders like Tom Jones and Fred Lowery, Tech is doubling down on its commitment to cultivating champions on and off the field.”

For Lowery and Jones, their reasons for giving were both personal and practical.

“I’ve had a great experience at Tech, and I believe a lot of my success is tied to what I learned and the relationships I developed there,” said Lowery. “While I have historically focused on gifts around academics and diversity, I know that another way to continue sharpening Tech’s competitive edge is to ensure our athletics program attracts the very best talent.”

“Our athletic facilities are an important piece of that,” continued Lowery. “I’m excited for the new football stadium and what it will mean for not just the team, but for the entire city of Cookeville and the Upper Cumberland region.”

Likewise, Jones recalled fond memories using the outdoor track both as a local Cookevillian and as a Tech student. While Jones did not play intercollegiate sports at Tech, he enjoyed participating in intramural sports and running the track for leisure.

“Using a track is something most anyone can do, whether you’re running, jogging, walking, or racing a wheelchair – it’s an easy way to support the health of students and community,” said Jones. “University athletics are an important avenue for students to grow in their leadership and teamwork skills and an outdoor track contributes to a broad range of athletic endeavors.”

Kevin Braswell, vice president for university advancement at Tech, said Lowery and Jones’ gifts to the university continue their longstanding tradition of generosity for which they are both known.

“Tom and Fred continue to set the standard for what it means to be engaged alumni and trustees who reinvest their time and treasures right here at the place where it all began for them,” concluded Braswell. “Their gifts will create opportunities for Tech to raise up a new generation of Golden Eagles to follow in their footsteps and live ‘Wings Up’ in their communities.”

To learn more about giving to Tennessee Tech, visit

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