Fall Convocation for the class of 2021 officially welcomed the newest members of the Tennessee Tech University family Friday afternoon.
The annual ceremony formally inducted freshmen students into Tech’s academic community and signaled the start of their college careers. With more than 1,775 students, the 2017-18 incoming freshman class is expected to be the largest to enter the university in the last three years.
“Tennessee Tech faculty and staff are well known for their commitment to your success,” President Phil Oldham told the students. “They are dedicated individuals whose interest in and concern for you are hallmarks of this university.”
The incoming students were presented with the traditional Tech Challenge Coin, which students are asked to keep through their time at Tech as a reminder of the university’s promise to guide, assist and provide an education to them. Then, as they complete their studies as Tech, students are asked to pass the coin along with a letter of thanks to someone at the university who best kept that promise to them. This year’s coin design reflected the recent solar eclipse.
“As rare as solar eclipses are in a lifetime, your experience in college will be unique in itself,” Oldham said. “Your life will encompass many different phases, like those of an eclipse, but you will be able to remember how those transitions and those involved will leave a lasting impression on the legacy you leave behind.”
This freshman class will be the first to see the completion of two large construction projects on Tech’s campus: the construction of a new student recreation center and a new laboratory sciences building.
The class includes students from 89 of Tennessee’s 95 counties, 20 other states and 12 other countries. Among them are Boys State and Girls State attendees, class presidents, musicians, peer mentors and Eagle Scouts. Tech’s varsity athletic teams welcome 72 freshmen.
“With alumni in all 50 States and the District of Columbia, as well as in 97 countries around the world, Tech graduates have embodied the idea of expanding borders,” said Leslie Crickenberger, interim associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success. “These alumni hold titles such as neurosurgeon, veterinarian, university president, astronaut, professional athlete, CEO and countless others. All of these individuals have one thing in common. Their story started here.”
Students ages range from 16 to 35 in this year’s freshman class, with 98 percent being ages 17, 18 and 19. Entering the university with previous service in the U.S. military are 210 students.
“Let’s grow together while you’re here. We will keep our promise to teach and help along the way, so we can meet back here together for your graduation in a few years,” Oldham said. “Be bold, fearless and confident. Stay focused, and soar like eagles!”
Classes for the 2017-18 academic year begin on Monday, Aug. 28.