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July 2019  

Tech Alumnus shares story of Parthenon Record Company and recording of the Tech Hymn

Photo of 45 rpm record of Tennessee Tech Hymn

Alumnus Ken Cooper, '58, recently shared with the Crawford Alumni Center his contribution to the infamous 45 rpm record on display in the Alumni Building and on file with University Archives and Special Collections:

"During the 1957-58 school year, I established the Parthenon Record Company and designed the label for 45 rpm records. I got a short term local bank loan to fund the project, hired a Nashville recording company to come record the Tennessee Tech Hymn with the Tech Choir and a jazzy number by the Tech Orchestra called “Mutton Leg.” The Tech Hymn was sung by the Tech Choir on the stage in the back part of what was, at that time, the Tech Library (today known as Jere Whitson). We had the stage drapes closed to kill outside noise, and the recording studio people had to try several times to get a perfect session because the student playing the pipes would hit a wrong note (pipe), forcing a restart. The Choir became very hot and agitated but we finally completed an acceptable session. Later, in the band room of the Administrative Building (now Derryberry Hall), the Tech Band decided to record “Mutton Leg” for the record’s flipside. This particular song allowed almost every player to have a solo hit in the session which caused the recording folks to position their microphones in a manner that picked up each instrument, thereby getting the song in one session. The band was very proud of the 45 rpm record because it became the only one they ever recorded by which to remember their group. Once the stock of records were delivered, a copy was put on almost every jukebox in town, especially the restaurant just across the railroad tracks where most students would hang out.  Incoming freshmen were required to purchase, along with the infamous freshman beanie, a copy of the record. More than 1,500 records were sold, and the net proceeds, after the bank loan was paid back, went to the Tech Pep Club to help fund their activities. Tech owns the record company name and its Purple and Gold label, the Parthenon Record Company."

Do you have a fond memory of Tech you wish to share? We'd love to hear it! Please email us your Tech stories, questions, photos, and more. 


President Oldham recognized by regional organization

Phil Oldham

Tennessee Tech President Phil Oldham received the Tennessee Valley Corridor's highest honor, the Corridor Champion Award, at the organization's 24th Annual National Summit recently held on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The Corridor Champion Award is presented to individuals and organizations who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in advancing the objectives of the TVC.

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Tech names first Chief Diversity Officer

Marc Burnett

For more than 40 years, Marc Burnett has worked diligently to bring diversity to Tennessee Tech. It came as no surprise, then, that he has been named the university's first Chief Diversity Officer, in addition to his role as vice president of Student Affairs.

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Tech launches new vehicle engineering concentration

Baja vehicle and students

This fall, Tennessee Tech will launch its newest engineering curriculum to help prepare students for careers as leaders in the automotive industry, one of Tennessee's fastest growing fields. The vehicle engineering concentration at Tech is the only such undergraduate program in the state and will prepare engineers who know cutting-edge automotive technologies and are ready to develop innovative automotive products to address societal needs.


Tech hosts Agriculture Leadership Summit

Agriculture Leadership Summit

Last month, Tech held its first-ever Agriculture Leadership Summit. More than 60 rising high school juniors and seniors had the opportunity to build leadership skills and learn methods for effectively addressing issues of agricultural policy and food security on a global and local level.

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 What professor changed your world?

What professor changed your world?

Two alumni identified Dr. James Akenson as the professor who changed their world.

Nancy Hamilton ('93 BS and '14 EdS) said, "In 1992, Dr. James Akenson in the College of Education truly changed my world. Not only did he present his education experience with wisdom and insight, but Dr. Akenson also demonstrated his passion for helping young teachers know the realities of working in the school system. His style of teaching, engagement with students, and creativity set the high standard for the teacher I would become. He enlarged the worldview of this mediocre student who came from a rural county in East Tennessee and became the first in her family to graduate from college."

Cynthia Boyd ('74 BS, '81 MA, and '05 EdS) added, "The professor who opened my eyes to the world was Dr. James Akenson. I came from Jamestown, TN, and had never really been out of the county before. Dr. Akenson was my advisor in undergraduate. During my student teaching, he had me using Coca-Cola products (something all kids are familiar with) to teach all of the subjects. I participated in a workshop at Peabody University and shared my ideas and strategies. I also did this in a county-wide in-service for teachers in Fentress County. During my years at Tech, Dr. Akenson and his wife graciously invited me to their home to meet friends and attend meetings in Nashville where I got to meet Tom Hall. He definitely opened my eyes to the world through his classes, his family, and his love for teaching."


Join fellow Tech alumni for the University's first-ever Upper Cumberland Brew Hop

Tour the UC Logo


Saturday, August 17, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Food Lion Parking Lot
1245 E Spring St, Cookeville, TN 38501

$59.95 per person (discount offered if you purchase more than one ticket)

The fun starts at Northfield Vineyard, then it's off to Calfkiller Brewery, Happy Trails Brewery, Red Silo Brewery, and TN Legends Distillery. The tour concludes back at the pickup location. The cost of your ticket includes one beer at each brewery, lunch at Happy Trails, and entry to Northfield Vineyard's "Wine and Woodstock" concert the evening after the tour. Refreshments and live music will be provided on the bus along the way. Spots are limited so register ASAP via the button below! 

Tech Alumnus creates crossword puzzle

The Alumnus Puzzles Graphic

Ken Cooper, the alumnus who shared the 45 rpm record story above, also shared with the Crawford Alumni Center a crossword puzzle he created that incorporates Tennessee, Cookeville, and Tech questions. Links to the puzzle, questions, and answers are below. Good luck!

Crossword Puzzle

Crossword Puzzle Key

 University Archives showcases Joe L. Evins office

Archives with Atkinson Graphic

Joe L Evins Office items

Joseph Landon Evins (October 24, 1910 - March 31, 1984) was a Democratic U.S. Representative from Tennessee from 1947 to 1977. He was a DeKalb County native and secured a $5 million federal grant that helped establish Tennessee Tech's Appalachian Center for Craft in Smithville. His father, James Edgar Evins, is the namesake of Edgar Evins State Park near Smithville, and his nephew, Dan Evins, was the founder of the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store restaurant chain. The Joe L. Evins exhibit can be viewed in room 104 of the Volpe Library Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

University Archivist Megan Atkinson is responsible for collecting, preserving, and making accessible materials of historical significance to the University and the Upper Cumberland. Follow Archives and Special Collections on Facebook, email Megan's office with questions, and watch for more "Archives with Atkinson" in future editions of The Alumnus. 

Career Corner with Russ

If you're facing a merger, corporate relocation, the threat of artificial intelligence, or just plain old burnout, you might be ready for a new career path. But where do you begin? In this month's Career Corner, Center for Career Development Director Russ Coughenour gives advice on how (or even if) you should begin the transition to a new career. 

Do you have a question about resume writing, interviewing, or career planning? Email Russ, and you might just see your question answered in a future edition of "Career Corner"!

read career corner


Class Notes

Dr. Marjorie (Runyon) Jenkins has been named the new dean of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville. Jenkins is a 1989 chemical engineering graduate. Read the full article here

Richard W. Hill ('81 accounting), a partner with Mitchell Emert & Hill Certified Public Accountants and Consultants in Knoxville, Tennessee, was selected to participate in a new initiative with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The new initiative adds a public accounting practitioner to the accreditation peer review teams to lend his expertise to the accreditation process. Richard was one of the first 20 practitioners selected for this new collaboration; the AACSB has a goal of 75 practitioners participating. The AACSB accreditation is held by just 570 business schools in the United States. 

Email us your promotions, awards, and other achievements, and we'll share in the next edition of The Alumnus!


student spotlight graphic

Said Mohamed

Mechanical engineering student Said Mohamed says scholarships have given him the freedom to put all of his effort into being the best engineer he can be. He has been able to focus on his classes and maintain a good GPA while gaining relevant experience through serving as a College of Engineering Ambassador and working on projects for engineering competitions. Click the link below to learn why Said decided to major in engineering, and discover who on campus encouraged him to be an ambassador for his college.

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