When Kingsport natives Angie and Eric Hyche came to Tennessee Tech as undergraduate students, they not only found each other, but they also found a university that they want their neighbors in the Tri-Cities area to experience.
“Tennessee Tech is a great choice for students who want to stay within the state university system,” Angie Hyche said. “Tech offers a large selection of majors and extra-curricular activities while maintaining the feel of a smaller school. For students interested in fields for which Tech has a strong reputation, like engineering, Tech is a perfect choice.”
That’s why they established the Eric and Angie Hyche Scholarship Endowment. The scholarship will be awarded to a prospective or current student from Washington, Sullivan, Unicoi, Carter, Hawkins, or Johnson Counties and is renewable as long as the student maintains a 2.5 grade point average.
Angie, '87 biology, was recruited to play volleyball at Tech. Eric, '87 electrical engineering, found Tech to be an affordable option for earning a quality education in engineering. Though they both grew up in Kingsport, they did not meet until they both became involved at the University Christian Student Center at Tech.
“Most of all, Tech gave me a solid and rigorous understanding of engineering,” Eric, who went on to earn his master’s degree from Georgia Tech, said. “Graduate classes were, of course, harder than undergraduate classes, but that rigorous understanding gave me confidence that I would succeed in those graduate classes. In addition to a good technical foundation, Tech gave me leadership opportunities that served me throughout my entire career.”
For Angie, who worked as a research assistant with the Centers for Disease Control, became a high school teacher and then earned a master’s degree in medical science to become a physician assistant and recently started her own organization business, her time at Tech was a boost of confidence.
“Because I was successful academically at Tech, I believe I had more confidence in pursuing my graduate studies,” she said. “Playing volleyball and taking challenging classes prepared me for the lifelong skill of balancing multiple responsibilities. I am so thankful for my experiences with the University Christian Student Center for providing me with a place to worship and grow spiritually during college, which is normally a time that many choose to turn their backs on spiritual matters. I made so many close friends at the UCSC, a number of which have continued to be close friends throughout my adult life.”
The couple says some of their best memories are at Tech.
Eric and Angie were both candidates for the Derryberry Award, Tech’s highest student honor.
“Being extremely competitive, it was difficult for me to congratulate Eric when he won,” Angie recalls. “When I was elected into the Tech Sports Hall of Fame, in my acceptance speech, in the same room where the Derryberry Award winner was revealed many years before, I recalled that day and joked about how I had now topped him. He loves to rub in the fact that he beat me every once in a while.”
The Hyches want other students from their hometown area to have the possibility to experience the opportunities and genuine community that Tech has to offer. This scholarship endowment will help make that happen.
“I think Tennessee Tech is a great choice for students in upper East Tennessee who still want a world-class education, but prefer living in a smaller town,” Eric said.Students interested in the opportunity can apply online at https://www.tntech.edu/em/scholarships/.