Published: Thu Apr 17, 2008United States Sen. Lamar Alexander will give this spring’s commencement address at Tennessee Tech University to nearly 1,200 graduates and their friends and family.
Ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 3, in the Hooper Eblen Center, with overflow seating in the campus Fitness Center. Shuttle service will be provided to and from distant parking areas.
Alexander is the only Tennessean ever popularly elected both governor and U.S. senator and the first Tennessee Republican to serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
As chairman of the Republican Conference, he is the third-ranking Senate Republican leader.
In addition, he serves on committees overseeing education, clean air, highways, science and the Tennessee Valley Authority.
During his campaign for governor, Alexander walked 1,000 miles across Tennessee in his now familiar red and black plaid shirt. Once elected, he helped Tennessee become the third largest auto producer and the first state to pay teachers more for teaching well.
He also started Tennessee’s Governor’s Schools for outstanding students.
Alexander has also served as U.S. Education Secretary, University of Tennessee president and a professor in Harvard’s School of Government. He chaired the National Governors Association and President Reagan’s Commission on Americans Outdoors.
In private life, he helped found the nation’s largest provider of worksite day care.
He is a classical and country pianist and the author of seven books, including Six Months Off, the story of his family’s life in Australia after he was governor.
A seventh-generation Tennessean, Alexander was born in Maryville, the son of a teacher and a principal.
He met Honey Buhler at a staff softball game when he worked for Sen. Howard H. Baker of Tennessee and she worked for Sen. John G. Tower of Texas. They were married in 1969 and have four children.
Alexander is a Presbyterian elder.
Following next month’s spring commencement, TTU will have granted more than 62,000 degrees, nearly 35,000 of them since 1986.
Students graduating from TTU this spring hail from 41 states including Tennessee, 76 Tennessee counties and 65 foreign countries. They represent 41 undergraduate fields of study and 19 graduate fields.