Published: Fri Mar 3, 2006When Robert Owens arrives on campus March 1 to begin his duties as Tennessee Tech University's new minority affairs director, he will have come full circle back to the place where he matured as a person and an educator.
Owens, a Murfreesboro native, earned three degrees at TTU while staying active in campus organizations and taking on leadership roles. Owens earned his bachelor's degree in industrial and manufacturing engineering with a mathematics minor in 1998, then went on to earn an MBA and Ed.S. from Tennessee Tech.
"This university is a downright good place to be," said Owens with a smile. "God has led us here to further our education, work, and go to church all in the community.
"This is the place where I grew into a man, and the people here showed me the way," he said. "Not just the faculty and administration, but others, including the custodians and the cafeteria workers, they all helped me and encouraged me."
Beyond his academic achievements, Owens accepted, even created, leadership opportunities. He was one of the founding members of the "United Voices of Praise," the successor to the Leona Lusk Officer Black Cultural Center choir. He was an officer of TTU's chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and the Black Student Organization. He was also the former president of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and a member of an intramural champion sports team. A member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, he was instrumental in obtaining the organization's charter at TTU.
Owens says he plans to draw on his experiences to help educate students and the surrounding community about all types of cultures.
"I want to help make sure all people are respected for their character and not where they are from or what they look like," he said. "And I think this education starts with the minority population here. I would like to see the campus and the community become more welcoming places for people of all races," he said.
Owens taught business law and marketing at White House High School before teaching math, business and television classes at Portland High School. He most recently served as the math department chairperson at Station Camp High School in Sumner County and taught math, algebra, trigonometry and pre-calculus.Owens's wife, Dana, also earned three degrees from TTU; she holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry and a master's degree and Ed.S. in education. They have two children, a daughter, Micah, 3 and son, Daniel, 20-months.