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August 2020  

Spring and Summer graduates celebrate with live commencement

 A photo of three students in graduation robes and masks giving "wings up."

A little more than three months after spring commencement was postponed because of COVID-19, Tennessee Tech students and their family and friends were finally able to celebrate graduation. More than 600 students came to campus to participate in three separate commencement ceremonies on August 8 at the Hooper Eblen Center.

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Tech Pride Days are here
A Purple and Gold Tech Pride sign in front of New South Hall.

It's time to show your Tech pride! Tennessee Tech Pride Days are here and run through Labor Day weekend. Purple and gold yard signs are available that say "Tech Pride" and incorporate the state's notable tri-star symbol. To help the community celebrate, Tech Pride yard signs are free and available for pick up on campus at the Crawford Alumni Center in the Varsity Building and the Campus Information Desk and University Bookstore inside the Roaden University Center. For health and safety, face coverings are required when entering campus buildings. Signs are also available for pick up in the community at the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce in the Leslie Town Centre.

NOTE:  If you wish to pick up your sign at the Crawford Alumni Center in the Varsity Building (705 N Dixie Ave) and prefer a contactless pickup option, simply call us at 931-372-3205 and let us know when you're on your way. We'll place a sign outside the front door for you!

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Tech's old fitness center to become Academic Wellness Center

Photo of someone on a ladder unplugging a neon sign while another person looks on.

With the opening of Tennessee Tech's new Marc L. Burnett Student Recreation and Fitness Center, the old fitness center has a new purpose and a new name. The Academic Wellness Center (AWC), which used to be affectionately known as "the Fit," will now be home to several exercise and physical education classes. Tennessee Tech athletics will also utilize the facility.

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Tech to host 16th Annual Nolan Fowler Constitution Day Sept. 17

A graphic of the Capitol Building - Constitution Day

Tech's 16th Annual Nolan Fowler Constitution Day Celebration will be held virtually on Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. It is free and open to the public, and this year's speaker will be Paula Casey. Casey has dedicated more than 30 years to educating the public about the women's suffrage movement, especially Tennessee's pivotal role in the 19th Amendment's ratification in 1920. She produced a video in 1989 entitled "Generations:  American Women Win the Vote" and helped publish the book The Perfect 36:  Tennessee Delivers Woman Suffrage.

She has been instrumental in getting public art about the suffragists placed across Tennessee. She served on the state committee that selected the bas relief plaque that hangs inside the State Capitol Building in 1998, and the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Monument was unveiled in Nashville's Centennial Park in August 2016 while she was president. She served as fiscal agent for the Sue Shelton White statue unveiled in front of Jackson's City Hall in 2017 and chairs the Memphis Suffrage Monument committee which will unveil its monument "Equality Trailblazers" later this fall. She co-founded the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Heritage Trail, and she speaks about how the 19th Amendment would not have passed in this country without the 1st Amendment.

To register and receive the Zoom login information for the virtual presentation, please click the link below.

Tennessee Woman Suffrage Heritage Trail Website

Alumni Book Club to read An American Marriage in September

The graphic has Volpe Library as a slightly transparent background. A yellow bookworm with a mortarboard sits atop of a pile of books. The graphic reads Tennessee Tech Alumni Book Club along the spines of the books.

If you haven't joined the Tennessee Tech Alumni Book Club, it's not too late! We've had great discussions about Educated: A Memoir, Talking to Strangers, Where the Crawdads Sing, and American Dirt. In September, we'll be reading An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. And for October, we'll dust off an old classic and read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It's the perfect spooky read for October! To join, click the link below to request access to the private Facebook group. If you have any questions or suggestions for books to read in future months, please email

Crawford Alumni Center on Facebook

A graphic that is made to look like a word find. The words Tennesee, Tech, Trivia, Puzzle, Crawford, Quiz, Games, and Alumni are circled.

Photo of the Tech Torpedo II in the water with several people carrying it and walking around.We've added a new monthly feature in The Alumnus to test your knowledge of all things Tech. Last month we asked the following question: 

In 1993, the third annual International Submarine Races were held in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The team from Tennessee Tech took several prizes, including the $5,000 grand prize for its joystick-operated, human-powered (via pedals) submersible vehicle. What was the name of Tech’s 120-pound sub?

The answer was the Tennessee Tech Torpedo--the Tech Torpedo II to be exact!  Several alumni guessed the correct answer, but congratulations to Janice Scarlett who won the drawing for some Tech SWAG!

This month's question is as follows:

Bethel Carrington was a member of Tech’s police force during the 1950s. He was notorious for falling asleep in his cruiser while parked over on the northwest side of campus - so notorious in fact that a Tech landmark has been named with the nickname that Bethel was given by students. What landmark is named for him? 

If you know the answer, email We'll randomly select one of the correct answers to win some Tech swag!

Photo top left: Tech Torpedo II
Credit:  Popular Science, December 1993

Tech-themed games and activities 


A purple graphic with a stock indicator that reads "Taking the Wheel by Lofton Carter"

"The slightest adjustments to your daily routines can dramatically alter the outcomes in your life."  --Darren Hardy

A budget? What? I'm not a penny pincher. I like going out to eat and shopping on Amazon!

Many people believe budgets entail only eating spam, and they assume a budget means a drastic change in lifestyle when in fact, a budget does not mean spend less but rather spend GUILT-less.  Simply, it is a plan for knowing where your money is going.  Give every dollar a purpose.

"Taking the Wheel" is a financial literacy blog written by Lofton Carter, '20 biology, an MBA candidate and graduate assistant in the Crawford Alumni Center. He has a passion for financial independence and investing and is excited to share some investment tips with his fellow alumni through a series of blog posts. 

This month's blog is titled "The Importance of Budgeting." To read the full blog post, click the link below. 

Taking the Wheel Blog Page

Archives with Atkinson Graphic

A black and white photo of Dottie West holding a plaque.

Did you know Elvis's last scheduled concert was at Tech? Or that Garth Brooks got signed to his first major record label after playing at Tech? How did Tennessee Tech book these big-name acts--Creedence Clearwater Revival, Johnny Cash, Jefferson Starship, and The Temptations, just to name a few? Alumni and the community regularly contact archives regarding the many big-name groups that performed at Tech in the past. Some inquire for nostalgia purposes, but others inquire because of a concert's historical significance. University Archives staff have assisted patrons as far away as England and Australia with our big-name entertainment archives. "Big Name Entertainment:  The Exhibit, 1960s-1980s" features all of this, and more!

The "Big Name Entertainment" exhibit is in the Varsity Building, located at 705 N Dixie Ave. The Varsity Building is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Face coverings are required to enter the building. If you prefer a virtual option, the exhibit is available to view online. You can also check out a big-name entertainment playlist. (Spotify required)

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. 

Photo top left: Former Tennessee Tech student Dottie West returns for a performance.

Virtual Big Name Entertainment Exhibit

Spotify Playlist

read archives' blog

Follow Tech Archives on Facebook

Career Corner with Russ


Attention Nashville-area alumni! Are you in search of new job opportunities? If so, check out the Greater Nashville Technology Council VIRTUAL Career Expo on August 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. CDT. This LIVE job fair will utilize an online platform, allowing candidates to visit interactive virtual hiring rooms to learn more about each employer, view job opportunities, and speak live with company recruiters. To register, click the link below.

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

Kent Johnson, '09 interdisciplinary studies, participated in the Retro Division of the NASA grand nationals fitness event last month and will compete in the Southern Powerlifting Federation (SPF) worlds in September in the 50-year-old division.

Stuart W. McGregor, '87 M.S. biology, is the Director of the Ecosystems Investigations Program and an active member of the Alabama Rivers and Streams Network (ARSN). This year, the ARSN was collectively honored with the Governor's Conservation Award as Water Conservationist of the Year, and McGregor was one of three members of ARSN who accepted the award at the Alabama Wildlife Federation Annual Awards Banquet. 

Penny Murray-Au, '98 business management, will take over as the new chief talent officer for Hamilton County Schools. She is currently the director of Human Resource Operations and has been with Hamilton County Schools since 2011. 

J. Thomas Brooks, '04 mechanical engineering, was named to the position of Chief Technology Officer at Bulk Handling Systems (BHS). He will focus on leading new technology and product development efforts across the organization, with an emphasis on bringing new technologies to the market. 

Dr. Duncan Bryant Rushing, '81 MBA, has retired--again--at age 80, this time from The Pentagon where he served as a writer, editor, and lead editor (taking part in the plain language program) for the U.S. Department of Defense, most recently in the Office of the Secretary of the Army.  

Bob Duncan, '69 accounting, was recognized last month for his years of service on the Cookeville Regional Medical Center board. His term ended July 31.

Daniel Beuerlein, '98 industrial engineering, has been appointed chief development officer at Agape Care. In this position, Beuerlein will spearhead Agape Care's business development initiatives for expansion to surrounding states. 

Jimmy Bridges, '58 industrial management, and Nancy Coward Bridges, '58 music education, recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with a "gathering of eagles"--lunch with several family members who attended Tech including Jimmy and Nancy's son Alan and his wife Cindy Nichols, who also met at Tech! The Bridges branch of the family tree began in 1954 when Jimmy and Nancy enrolled at Tech (then known as TPI) for the fall quarter.

Jeff Pate, '89 accounting, is one of eight members who have been appointed to Decode Health's strategic advisory board to aid in COVID-19 tracking efforts. Decode Health is a predictive analytics company focused on early identification of healthcare risk from both chronic diseases and COVID-19. 

Sarah Jowers Page, '08 interdisciplinary studies, has become the face of the School of Law at Griffith University, located in Brisbane QLD, Australia, as she is featured in marketing materials for the school. Page is set to graduate from the law school in January 2021. She was presented with the 2019 Dean's Award for Academic Excellence (Juris Doctor) as the top performing student. 

Dr. Phaneendra Kondapi, '00 Ph.D. engineering, was recently honored with the most prestigious distinction given by the Society of Petroleum Engineers: A Distinguished Membership Award. Dr. Kondapi is a professor of subsea engineering, assistant dean of engineering programs at University of Houston Katy, and a former director of subsea engineering. 

Hunter Hobbs, '19 history, recently joined the Manchester Times editorial team as a sports writer.

Alexis Pope, '04 B.S. secondary education and '08 M.A. instructional leadership, was named associate vice president for Enrollment Management at Augusta University. He previously served as director of admissions at Appalachian State University and Tennessee Tech University. 

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

Upcoming Tennessee Tech University bookstore sales

Two TTU tshirts

Select Performance Apparel 25% off

Free shipping on orders of $49 or more!

The University Bookstore also offers some high-end Tennessee Tech items including Cutter & Buck shirts, jewelry & watches, glassware, and home decor items. These items are exclusively sold online, and most are produced on demand so they take about 2-4 weeks for production and shipping. But these are great options if you are looking for something unique for yourself or a nice gift for someone else. 

NOTE: The University Bookstore is currently closed to visitors but is still open for online purchases.

shop the Tech bookstore online

The Crawford Alumni Center hopes all students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends stay safe and healthy. Please continue to live Wings Up—just keep a six-foot wingspan between you and your fellow Golden Eagles!

The Crawford Alumni Center


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