“Tech is continuing to invest in our greatest asset – our students – with more expansive
and relevant course offerings,” Oldham said. “There are two things universities must
do well: create and disseminate knowledge and identify and develop talent. At Tech,
I truly believe we can do those things in a way that sets us apart by providing something
students cannot get anywhere else.”
Under Oldham’s leadership, Tech also continues its role as an economic engine for
Tennessee, recording an annual statewide economic impact of $1.52 billion in the last
non-pandemic year. One of the ways Tech has stimulated local economies in the state
is through its Rural Reimagined Grand Challenge, launched in 2019 at Oldham’s direction.
The program leverages the talent of Tech students, faculty and staff to help economically
distressed counties. To date, the program has helped hundreds of small businesses
at no cost to them and helped drive the number of distressed counties to the lowest
level in Tennessee history.
A chemist by training, Oldham is also guiding Tech as it cements its place as a top
research institution. On Oldham’s watch, Tech set an all-time record for externally
funded research in fiscal year 2023, topping $36.3 million – surpassing the previous
record by nearly $13 million.
Campus construction and revitalization continue at a pace not seen in decades. Since
Oldham’s arrival as president, the Jere Whitson Building was renovated, the Roaden
University Center was expanded, Centennial Plaza was constructed, and Johnson Hall
– home to the College of Business – is undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation
slated for completion by spring 2026.
Tech also recently welcomed students into the new Marc L. Burnett Recreation and Fitness
Center and the state-of-the-art Laboratory Science Commons, while the Ashraf Islam
Engineering Building is expected to be completed in 2024, and plans are underway for
rebuilding the west side of Tucker Stadium, along with a new dedicated football operations
Before presiding at Tech, Oldham served as provost and senior vice chancellor of academic
affairs at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. After receiving his bachelor’s
degree in chemistry from Freed-Hardeman University and his doctorate in analytical
chemistry from Texas A&M University, he spent a year following his graduate work at
Glaxo Smith-Kline before joining the faculty at Mississippi State University. There,
he served as head of the chemistry department for five years prior to becoming dean
of MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences.
Additionally, Oldham serves on the NCAA Presidential Forum for Division I athletics,
the Tennessee Valley Corridor Board of Directors and as board chair for the Cookeville-Putnam
County Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to his administrative accomplishments, Oldham has authored more than 35
peer-reviewed research articles, holds two patents and has presented at approximately
100 conferences. His research has been financially supported by the National Science
Foundation, American Chemical Society, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department
of Agriculture, U.S. Geological Survey and private industry.
Oldham and his wife, Kari, are parents to three sons, Clay, Paden and Sam, and a daughter,
Audrey. Their family includes three daughters-in-law, Rebecca, Amy and Ciera, and
a grandson, Charlie.