The Distinguished Alumnus, Outstanding Service and Outstanding Young Alumnus awards are the highest bestowed by the university's alumni association. They recognize those who have demonstrated professional excellence and achievement or outstanding service to the university.
Micro Metals CEO Scott Edwards and Whitwell Middle School teacher David Alan Smith are this year’s Outstanding Young Alumni.
The awards reception and ceremony will take place at 4 p.m., Friday, Nov. 5, in the Roaden University Center Tech Pride Room. The public is encouraged and invited to attend.
David Alan Smith
Few Tennessee Tech graduates can claim to have started a worldwide phenomenon, but alumnus David Alan Smith (education, ’93) continues to be recognized around the world for his creation of a project to honor Holocaust victims.
In 1998 Smith started a Holocaust Group at Whitwell Middle School, where he is a teacher and assistant principal. He led about 500 students in forming a project to collect paper clips to represent and honor the six million Jewish victims. The students had learned that Norwegians wore paperclips on their lapels in silent protest during the Holocaust.
As publicity grew, millions of paper clips began pouring in from around the world. The project then struck a cord with two White House correspondents for a group of German newspapers who eventually donated an authentic German rail car that was used to transport victims to concentration camps. In Whitwell’s schoolyard, the paper clips and rail car are now on display as the Children’s Holocaust Memorial.
To date, the group has collected more than 32 million paper clips from all 50 states, more than 50 foreign countries, and six of the seven continents.
Smith was featured in a Miramax documentary called “Paper Clips,” which won several awards at film festivals around the world and was nominated for an Academy Award. It also aired on Nickelodeon News, Odyssey Channel, HBO News, Channel One News, CNBC, and the NBC Nightly News. Smith has given interviews for radio stations around the world and was most recently a guest on Jane Pauley’s television talk show. He also appeared in a National Education Association ad in Newsweek.
At Whitwell, Smith is involved with students as a football coach, head boys’ and girls’ track coach, head baseball coach and leader of an after-school tolerance education course. In his community, he is a member of the planning commission and the Marion County Leadership program and serves as commissioner of the Sequatchie Valley Conference and president of the park board.
He and his wife, Laura (marketing, ’92), have two sons, Dakota, 9, and Devin, 7.
Micro Metals CEO Scott Edwards (business management, ’87) is a young alumnus with a long history of giving his time, attention and resources to Tennessee Tech and showing his appreciation for his family’s generous nature.
Micro Metals has become an industry leader and global supplier of powder metal components to automotive, appliance and garden equipment industries. Edwards joined the company, along with his wife, Mary Alice (accounting, ’89), after graduation. His first role was sales manager and director of quality.
Edwards and his wife, along with his family, received the Tennessee Board of Regents’ Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy in 2004 for making significant monetary contributions and being a catalyst for encouraging others to support and attend TTU.
Based on Edwards’ deep affection for TTU, he founded numerous endowments, scholarships, and projects including the Richard K. Edwards Industrial Engineering Scholarship Endowment, Richard K. Edwards Faculty Development Endowment, and the Micro Metals Inc. Business Management Endowment.
In honor of his father and mother who established and nurtured the family business, he set up the Carl and Virginia Edwards Physiology Lab Endowment. The Virginia L. Edwards Nursing Scholarship honors his mother, a nurse. The Sue and Rick Edwards Education Lab pays tribute to his sister-in-law, Sue, a teacher, and Scott’s brother, Rick, who served as vice president of the company until an automobile accident took his life.
Edwards serves on TTU’s College of Business Administration Foundation and the Board of Advisors of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Extended Education. In his community, he is a member of the Allardt Elementary Advisory Council, and in 2001, adopted the school to provide equipment and supplies to its science department. Additionally, he has set up giving programs for the local library and animal shelter.
Edwards and Mary Alice live in Allardt, Tenn., with their two-month-old son, Kaeden.