As the Golden Eagles make their way down Dixie Avenue Saturday, Nov. 4, for the annual Tennessee Tech homecoming parade, leading the way will be parade grand marshal Charlie Hawkins.
Hawkins earned his degree in industrial management from Tech in 1953 and has become known for his love of eagles and his generosity in gifting eagle statues and figurines from his personal collection to the university and the staff who work there.
During this year’s homecoming game, a full-size replica of the iconic eagle that sits atop Derryberry Hall will be dedicated at Tucker Stadium, marking Hawkins’ most recent eagle gift to the university.
Hawkins has given dozens of eagle figurines and statues to the university, including the large bronze eagle statue that sits along the drive to Walton House.
Hawkins donated the funds to have the Derryberry eagle replicated and crafted to be placed in Tucker Stadium where it will sit on a brick pedestal built by Tech facilities staff.
Hawkins came to Cookeville from Gallatin to study engineering at Tech but switched to the university’s industrial management program, which combined the study of business and engineering. He worked for IBM for more than 30 years, working his way up from salesman to the personnel director of the national field force.
After retiring from IBM, Hawkins and his late wife, Norma, moved back to Tennessee from Connecticut and he took a job as the vice president of human resources at Provident Insurance in 1984, the same year he started collecting eagles.
From his home in Signal Mountain filled with the statues and figurines he has collected over the years, Hawkins has been continuously supportive of Tech, making regular visits to campus to his share experience and wisdom with students. Hawkins has built an endowment to financially assist students as well and has served on the College of Business Board of Trustees, including several years as its president. He has received the university’s Outstanding Business Leadership Award.
The 2017 Tennessee Tech homecoming parade steps off at 10:30 a.m. along Dixie Avenue to Tucker Stadium. This year’s theme is Cartoon Mania and organizers say they expect to see lots of cartoon costumed participants. The parade will include the university’s marching band; bands from local high schools including Jackson County, Livingston Academy, White County High School, Sequatchie County High School, and Cookeville High School; the cheer and dance teams; fire and other emergency services vehicles; and Tech athletic teams. Student organizations are also preparing 8 feet wide, 12 feet high boards decorated in the event theme to be pulled in the parade.
Inside Tucker Stadium, the Golden Eagle football team will take on Austin Peay State University at 1:30 p.m. Tailgating activities will begin at 11 a.m.For more information about Tech homecoming activities, visit https://alumni.tntech.edu/homecoming2017.