Campus Community Health • HEERF I, II & III

Birds of a Feather Stories

A graphic reading Birds of a Feather with two golden eagles on rocks.

In honor of National Best Friend Day on June 8, we asked Tennessee Tech alumni who met their best friend at Tech to share their stories. We entered all stories submitted into a random drawing, and Charlotte Austin and Sharon Kay Atchley were the winners! Thank you to everyone who submitted a best friends story. Birds of a feather flock together, and Golden Eagles form friendships that last a lifetime.

a photo of three women standing in front of a Christmas tree

Here's what Charlotte says about the day she met her best friend:

"I moved to Crawford Hall during my senior year (1977) at Tech. I opted for a private room on the second floor -- the private room helped with my migraines because it could be quiet and dark when I needed it. On a lovely afternoon of excruciating, spot blinding, nauseating migraine pain, I met my forever friend Sharon Kay Atchley.

Sharon is an artist, retired law enforcement officer, and my forever best friend. We met on a day when Sharon was preparing canvases for painting. The smell of turpentine was almost unbearable for me. My migraine had taken two days away from me. I went looking for the turpentine smell but I could not find it until our housekeeper directed me to a broom closet and introduced me to Sharon Kay Atchley. I found the canvases but no Sharon.

Sharon was home with her family and left the canvases to dry. When she returned I was ready to plead for the turpentine to be gone immediately. Sharon was the kindest person I had ever met in my college years. We became instant friends and her family accepted me and my now husband (Bill Austin, `75) immediately on the first visit. My family accepted and loved Sharon. We are birds of a feather, and we have stuck together through thick and thin."

Photo from left: Verlene Atchley (Sharon's sister), Charlotte (Dunn) Austin and Sharon Atchley recreated their first photo together (taken in 1977) during Christmas 2021.

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