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February 2020  

Alumni invited to campus for Wings Up Weekend April 2-5Awesome Eagle is giving a "wings up" sign with his left hand. The graphic reads "Tennessee Tech Wings Up Weekend: April 2-5, 2020

Wings Up Weekend, a celebration of all things purple and gold, is scheduled for April 2-5! From the annual alumni awards banquet to Window on the World to a wine and waterfalls tour, there truly is something for everyone. Check out the schedule of events via the link below. We will continue to add new events as details are finalized, so check back often!

Varsity Building honors Black History Month with display dedicated to distinguished black alumni
Photo of glass display cases with photographs and text and a canvas photo display on the purple wall behind it.

To celebrate Black History Month, the Crawford Alumni Center currently has on display an exhibit honoring many of Tech's African American alumni and faculty members. The display focuses on the black organizations that enhanced the student experience on campus, African Americans who were the first on campus (e.g. first student, first faculty member, first administrator, first student-athlete), alumni who achieved great success in their professional careers, and the faculty members who inspired students to become the alumni they are today. The display was curated by Whitney Cunningham, an English graduate student and graduate assistant in the Crawford Alumni Center. The Varsity Building is located at 705 N Dixie Ave and is open to the public Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

And on April 4, Intercultural Affairs will host the 2nd Annual Legacy Gala to benefit the Diversity Scholarship Initiative. This event will also serve to induct the 2020 Intercultural Affairs Hall of Distinguished Achievers Honoree. The Legacy Gala is part of Wings Up Weekend.

Tech alumnus wins Grammy

Craig Terry, wearing a dark blue damask suit jacket and smiling, stands beside a large replica of a grammy award

Craig Terry has performed with the world's leading singers and instrumentalists since he graduated from Tennessee Tech with a bachelor in music education in 1996, but nothing compares to winning a Grammy Award. Terry is one of five people who won the Best Classical Solo Vocal Album Grammy, his first nomination and win, during the 62nd annual Grammy Awards on Jan. 26 in Los Angeles.    

Terry is not the only Tech alumnus to win a Grammy. Blanton Alspaugh, who earned a bachelor's in music education in 1981, has received eight Grammys since 2008 including Producer of the Year, Best Opera Recording, Best Choral Performance, and Best Ensemble Performance.

Homecoming, Family Weekend dates set for 2020 seasonFootball players run onto the field in Tucker Stadium. The stands behind them are full of onlookers wearing gold and purple.

If there's one day during the football season that any college or university looks forward to the most, it's Homecoming. The pageantry, parade, and football game for Homecoming 2020 will take place on Saturday, Nov. 14, as Tennessee Tech will host defending Ohio Valley Conference co-champion Austin Peay in the 90th annual Homecoming game. 

Just as important to the campus community is Family Weekend. That event will be held on Saturday, Sept. 19, as the Golden Eagles entertain North Carolina Central.


Governor's budget proposal includes $110 million for Tech

Aerial view of Derryberry Hall with a bright blue sky and white clouds. The American flag is in the foreground of the photo.

Gov. Bill Lee's proposed 2020-2021 budget includes more than $64 million for Tennessee Tech's annual appropriation, along with $48 million in capital appropriations. The university's new engineering building, which was the Tennessee Higher Education Committee's top capital project recommendation this year, received its full state funding of $43.5 million.


Alumni Association Board to honor six outstanding individuals at Evening of Excellence April 3 A purple graphic with light gold Alumni Association seal and lettering: Tennessee Tech Alumni Association presents An Evening of Excellence April 3, 2020. 

Join Tennessee Tech alumni and friends for an Evening of Excellence as the Alumni Association recognizes the 2020 award recipients:

Outstanding Young Alumnus Award
Jake Hoot, '13 interdisciplinary studies

Outstanding Service Award
Maggie R. Smith, '82 animal science

Outstanding Philanthropy Award
Leanna Garrick, '86 business management
H. Ray Sells, '57 mechanical engineering
J. Michael Winchester, '75 history

Distinguished Alumnus Award
V. Leon Davis, '69 electrical engineering

The Evening of Excellence is part of Wings Up Weekend. 

Tennessee Tech Alumni Association to host alumni event at Talladega Superspeedway April 26

A fisheye view of the finish line at Talladega Superspeedway. The number 9 car crosses the checkered finish line just ahead of car number 88. The checkered flag waves in the left foreground of the photo.

Join fellow Tech alumni at Talladega Superspeedway on April 26! The cost to register is $60 per adult and $35 per child (12 or under) and includes food and beverages, a ticket to the GEICO 500 in a reserved section (Turn 1) for alumni and friends of Tech, access to The Compound (exclusive tailgate area), and access to a free Saturday night infield concert (artist TBA). Separate tickets and Talladega Garage Experience passes for Friday and Saturday are also available for purchase. To register, contact Collin Jones at Talladega Superspeedway at (256) 315-4528 or and mention Tennessee Tech by April 19.

Tech's 2nd Annual "I Heart Tech Students" Campaign focuses on keeping students enrolled

The graphic has an I Heart Tech Students Logo, 19 hours and 15 minutes, March 27, 2020, How much of an impact will you make? Tennessee Tech Day of Giving

On Mar. 27, the Golden Eagle community will raise as much money as possible for five programs on campus. Why Mar. 27? And why 19 hours and 15 minutes? Because on Mar. 27, 1915, a group of local businessmen and civic leaders established an institution of higher education in Cookeville. More than 100 years later, Tech still offers a quality education at an affordable cost. But sometimes life happens and students face obstacles--whether they be financial, emotional, or physical. From Feb. 14 to Mar. 27, Tech faculty and staff will participate in the "I Heart Tech Students" campaign to ensure that funding will be there when students need it the most. And on Mar. 27, we'll ask you to join them in supporting one or more of the following areas dedicated to keeping students enrolled:

  • Accessible Education Center

  • Counseling Center

  • Eagle Assistance Grant

  • Food Pantry

  • Veterans Center

More information will be shared via email and social media in the coming weeks. How much of an impact will you make on Mar. 27?

Tom Moore and Jackie Wall Moore win Lovebirds contest

Portrait of Tom and Jackie MooreTom Moore and Jackie Wall Moore met in 1962 in Tech's student government office. Tom asked Leonard Crawford, director of Tech's alumni, job placement, and student recruitment offices, if he knew a service scholarship student who could do some clerical work for the ASB (student government). 

Tom recalls, "He sent this beautiful young coed. The rest is history. We married in December of 1962. Fifty-seven years later, we're still married and enjoying retirement." 

The Moores aren't the only couple who have Leonard Crawford to thank for their love story. Last year, Harry Nickens shared the story of how Leonard and Gladys Crawford brought him and his wife Alicia together. You can read the Nickens' story here. The Crawford Alumni Center also has Leonard and Gladys to thank for its name, and you can read more about the Crawford's here.

Thank you to everyone who submitted a Golden Eagle lovebirds story! We have enjoyed reading about how so many alumni met and fell in love at Tech. Some awesome Tech SWAG is on its way to Tom and Jackie, and we hope you'll check out all of the stories submitted via the link below.

view all 2020 submissions and previous winners

Tech to host alumni events across the country in 2020

A blue Verde Canyon Railroad train with the number 1512 goes across a bridge with an outcrop of red and brown sandstone behind it.

From race cars to wine, from Upper Cumberland waterfalls to the Grand Canyon, and everything in between, we have an alumni event for you! In addition to our annual Wings Up Weekend, we offer unique travel and networking opportunities for alumni year-round. Be sure to check out our Tennessee Tech Alumni events website often, as new events are always being added! And if you haven't checked out our alumni travel adventure called Great Trains & Grand Canyons, be sure to do so via the link below. Wings Up Across America!

What professor changed your world?

What professor changed your world?

"I took Dr. Carl Ventrice's physical electronics courses in 1976. I had been on a co-op assignment with NASA the year prior and had gotten a heavy dose of both real and theoretical physics. Dr. Ventrice always related difficult electronics concepts to practical applications. The pocket calculator was brand new in 1975. The HP35 & 45 engineering calculators were somewhat limited, yet very expensive status symbols. Dr. Ventrice included a problem on a final exam worth 30% of the grade. It involved calculating the probability of finding an electron in a specific place in its orbit around the atom's nucleus. The math was simple enough to do in one's head if one understood the concept. But the non-zero percent probability was extremely tiny (less than a 1 preceded by a hundred zeros). Those that chose to use their pocket calculators discovered that, when the answer was less than 99 zeros before the 1, it underflowed and registered zero. Some put 0% on the exam as their answer only to find that it cost them several letter grades. Dr. Ventrice's point was that if the answer was zero, the universe could not exist, and we must use common sense when studying the world around us. This stayed with me my entire career." --Dave Samsel, '77 electrical engineering

What professor changed your world? Email us at, and you might see your favorite professor story in a future edition of The Alumnus!

read more "world-changing" professor stories

Archives with Atkinson Graphic

A Western Union Valentine Greeting telegram with a bard on one side of the top and a man down on one knee presenting a woman with a valentine on the other side. It reads NA116 9 GTG=HB Nashville Tenn 14 325P. Miss Edith Hillis=, East Dormitory Peabody College Nashville Tenn=, Every Valentine Day I love you more and more=, Chas.One of University Archivist Megan Atkinson's favorite formats in the archives are love letters. Tennessee Tech has many love letters but the largest collection are between Charles Faulkner Bryan and Edith Inez Hillis from the 1930s. Alumni and friends of Tech know Charles as the namesake of the Bryan Fine Arts Building and the Bryan Symphony Orchestra. Charles was an American composer and musician and the director of Tech's Music Department. Edith taught in the public schools until her retirement in 1976. The letters represent their courtship--both before they were married in 1935 and after--and include two boxes of materials including hundreds of letters. While separated, the couple wrote back and forth regularly, sometimes more than once a day, and occasionally just sent a telegram with a simple "I love you." Click the button below to read the full story.

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. 

read archives' blog

Career Corner with Russ

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

Kalie Poston, '16 B.S. civil engineering and '18 M.S. civil engineering, was selected to serve as the Dam Safety Endowed Chair for the next six months at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Headquarters in Washington, D.C. She currently works for the Water Resource area of the USACE in Nashville and will contribute to the Dam and Levee Safety Branch Program. Kalie is excited to use the knowledge she gained from her undergraduate and graduate research with Dr. Dan VandenBerge.

Marla Frantz Mulliniks, '92 early childhood education, was named Rutland Elementary School's Teacher of the Year. Rutland Elementary is located in Mount Juliet, TN. Read the full story here.

John Pearson, '92 B.S. civil engineering and '94 M.S. civil engineering, has been named Director of Technical Services for the Tennessee Concrete Association. John was Tech Professor L. K. Crouch's first graduate student.

Elois Grooms, '76 health and physical education, was inducted into the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020 last month. Grooms played football at Monroe County High School and Tennessee Tech before playing professionally for the New Orleans Saints from 1975-81, St. Louis Cardinals from 1982-85, and Philadelphia Eagles in 1987. Read the full story here.

Frank Taylor, '84 geology, was promoted to Chief Photogrammetrist at G-Squared LLC. G-Squared is a Fayetteville-based photogrammetry firm providing aerial photography, cartography, digital terrain modeling, engineering-grade topographic mapping, LIDAR, and geographic information systems for civil engineering firms, counties, municipalities, utilities, state Departments of Transportation, and airports. Read the full story here.

Neal Whitten, '97 B.S. civil engineering and '98 M.S. civil engineering, was appointed to the Tennessee Board of Water Quality, Oil, and Gas by Governor Bill Lee.

Chris Privon, '79 mechanical engineering, and Terry Boston, '72 civil engineering, have been chosen as Significant Sigs by Sigma Chi International Fraternity. The Significant Sig Award recognizes alumni members whose exemplary achievements in their fields of endeavor have brought great honor and prestige to the name of Sigma Chi. Chris and Terry will receive their awards at the Sigma Chi Eta Delta Chapter 50th anniversary event in April.

Samuel Mathews, '18 civil engineering, is pursuing a Master of Science Degree in civil engineering at Tech. He and Professor L. K. Crouch recently wrote a paper for the Tennessee Concrete Association (TCA). The TCA took their research and created a handout and video for the TCA website to warn homeowners about the hazards of using de-icer on concrete surfaces.

Nathan Tudor, '02 political science, received the Pioneer Award from the Texas Hospital Association for his success in financial operations and expanding El Campo Memorial Hospital's services to the community. Tudor is the hospital's Chief Executive Officer. Read the full story here.

Stephen Salaman, '14 B.S. civil engineering and '16 M.S. civil engineering, was recognized by the Nashville District as one of its newest professional engineers. Salaman works in the Structural Section of the Civil Design Branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Read the full story here.

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

Donor Spotlight


Portrait of Michael and Marilyn Garnto

Michael ('83 industrial technology) and Marilyn Rockovich Garnto ('82 psychology) have supported Tennessee Tech for more than 30 years, and their most recent gift will establish a scholarship for legally blind or visually impaired students pursuing an engineering degree. Chester Goad, director of Tech's Accessible Education Center (AEC), says he is especially grateful for the opportunities the scholarship and partnership will afford visually impaired students.

The AEC will be one of five areas of focus for Tech's 2nd Annual "I Heart Tech Students" campaign and is committed to providing equal access to Tech's academic and physical environments.

Click the button below to read the full story or to submit a thank you message to the Garntos. And keep an eye out for more information about the "I Heart Tech Students" Campaign!

Read Donor Spotlight

Upcoming Tennessee Tech University bookstore sales

Two TTU tshirts

March 2-6:  25% off entire stock of fleece

March 9:  25% off emblematic items (online only)

March 11-12:  25% off Champion (online only)

March 23-27:  Buy one get one 50% off entire stock of tees and hats

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. 

The Crawford Alumni Center


Giving to Tennessee Tech