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January 2020  

Tennessee Tech Alumnus Jake Hoot wins The Voice, performs concert at the Hoop, and is invited to play at the Grand Ole Opry Jake Hoot is wearing a red flannel shirt and smiling as he play his guitar.

On Jan. 4, thousands of people gathered in Tennessee Tech's Hooper Eblen Center to attend a free concert by Cookeville talent and Tech alumnus Jake Hoot, who recently won season 17 of The Voice. Many fans even drove in from other states to see Hoot perform in front of a hometown crowd. The event was a collaboration of local governmental agencies and businesses, led by Cookeville Mayor Ricky Shelton. Shelton unveiled a "Jake Hoot Drive" road sign that will be placed at the Habitat for Humanity build site in Cookeville. The local Habitat for Humanity was one of three local charitable organizations to receive checks totaling more than $15,000. Funds were generated from the sale of "Jake Hoot" merchandise as the singer progressed on The Voice. Hoot shared the stage with the country band Lonestar, and Cookeville's Judah Akers of Judah and the Lion performed as well.

In many ways, the concert was a thank you to the many fans who have supported Hoot. His fan group on Facebook grew to more than 36,000 members, signs and billboards with the words "We support Jake Hoot" appeared around town, and Tech and other area businesses hosted watch parties each week. Tennessee Tech and the Cookeville community came together in an unprecedented way to support one of their own.

Jake has been invited to play a lot of venues since winning season 17 of The Voice, but there is one place he has always dreamed of playing that he has never had the chance:  the Grand Ole Opry. But on Feb. 4, Jake's dream will come true. He recently received a surprise invitation from Jamie Dailey of Dailey & Vincent to play the Opry, bringing the 6-foot-6 31-year-old to tears. He will join fellow Tech alumni Rodney Atkins and Dottie West who have also played the Opry in Nashville. 

Congratulations, Jake!

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Tech's economic impact on state tops $1 billion
Aerial photo of Derryberry Hall

Tennessee Tech's role in the economic development of the State of Tennessee continues to grow, reaching more than $1 billion in gross domestic product impact. For the Upper Cumberland, Tech's impact is more than $600 million. Each year, Tech conducts a footprint analysis to determine its economic impact across the Upper Cumberland and throughout Tennessee. The 2017-2018 report shows increases with regards to employment, gross domestic product, output, and personal income across the region and state.

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Steve Smith name Tennessee Tech baseball head coach Steve Smith wearing a baseball uniform and talking to a player.

Following an extensive search, Tennessee Tech Director of Athletics Mark Wilson announced on December 20 the hiring of Steve Smith as the 15th head baseball coach in Golden Eagle history. 

"I think it was two things that really sold me on the job," Smith expressed. "First was just the hospitality and the culture of the staff, the nature of family. The thing that touched me the most and impacted me the most were the players."

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Tech celebrates Martin Luther King Day with service activities and silent march, announces Black History Month events for February Omicron Phi marches in honor of Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King, Jr. is known for bringing about change through non-violence. To honor his legacy, Tennessee Tech faculty, staff, administration, and students participated in service activities during the week of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Jan. 20-25. Click the link below to read more.

And each February, Tech celebrates Black History Month with events across campus designed to facilitate constructive conversations about the importance of diversity and to celebrate the contributions of African-Americans to our university and society. Click the link below to view the events scheduled for next month.

Alumni Association President-Elect Brent Waugh invites Tech alumni back to campus for Wings Up Weekend April 2-5

Portrait of Brent WaughHappy 2020, Golden Eagle Alumni!

This year marks two decades since I stepped on campus as a freshman at Tennessee Tech. I still remember that weekend like it was yesterday -- welcome cookouts, icebreakers in Memorial Gym, buying cafeteria punch-cards from upper-classmen, and meeting classmates who are my friends to this day.

Whether it’s been 5 years or 50 since your first day at Tech, there are a number of ways to stay connected with your alma mater.

For starters, make plans to return to campus for Wings Up Weekend April 2-5. To learn more about this celebration of all things purple and gold including tours, reunions, and other events, visit (Additional events will be added to the website as soon as details are finalized.) 

In addition to coming back to campus for Wings Up Weekend, I encourage you to connect with your alma mater in other ways. From volunteering, to participating on an alumni board, to helping recruit incoming students, to donating to scholarships, your support will empower a new generation of Golden Eagle alumni. Learn more at

THANK YOU for all you do in support of your alma mater. I look forward to seeing you at a Tennessee Tech event this year.

Wings Up!

Brent Waugh
President-Elect, TTU Alumni Association


Crawford Alumni Center looks forward to serving you in 2020 A female student stands in the upper part of Hooper Eblen Stadium in a purple graduation robe looking out at the stands packed with onlookers. 

As the Crawford Alumni Center gears up for a new year, we wish to share a new website with our valued Tech alumni! The Golden Eagle Network is a place where alumni can read career development advice, seek new job opportunities, connect with fellow alumni through different social media platforms, and more. Click the link below to visit the Golden Eagle Network.

Also, we'd love to know what alumni events our Tech grads would like to see in 2020 and beyond. Please consider completing a brief survey via the button below. We look forward to (hopefully) hosting an event in your area or seeing you at an event on campus very soon!  

Share your Tennessee Tech love story

Two puple lovebirds have their heads together - Golden Eagle LovebirdsDid you and your significant other meet or get married while you were both attending Tech? Submit your Golden Eagle Lovebirds story, and you will be entered in a drawing to be featured in the 2020 Golden Eagle Lovebirds Showcase and win some Tech SWAG!

Submit your story

View Previous Winners

What professor changed your world?

What professor changed your world?

"Dr. Danny Higdon and Dr. Jerry Ayers. Dr. Higdon knew I was avoiding working for a master's degree because I dreaded taking statistics. He encouraged me relentlessly, and one spring he came to my classroom and suggested I take statistics that summer under Dr. Ayers. He told me Dr. Ayers was the perfect instructor for anyone who felt inadequate in taking statistics. He convinced me that Dr. Ayers would repeat, start over, and do whatever it took for students to understand before moving on. Well, it worked, and I received my M.A. and went on to receive an Ed.S. thanks to these two professors who helped me get past statistics."  --Nancy Fitzpatrick, '68 B.S. secondary education, '91 M.A. curriculum and instruction, '95 Ed.S. administration and supervision

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

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Archives with Atkinson Graphic

A row of archive shelvesTennessee Tech University Archives and Special Collections would like to showcase its new storage facility, located on the first floor of the Angelo and Jennette Volpe Library. The facility's construction was funded by the Tennessee Tech Foundation, Friends of the Volpe Library, and the Angelo and Jennette Volpe Library Support Endowment. Tech Archives houses more than 2,500 cubic feet of materials and is constantly growing, taking in additional physical records and their electronic equivalents every week. Click the link below to read the full story about this expansion and to view additional photos.

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

Are you in a passive job search mode? That is, you aren't actively seeking new employment, you are content (for the most part) with your current career, but you wouldn't be opposed to something new. In this month's Career Corner, Center for Career Development Russ Coughenour focuses on LinkedIn and how to make this social media platform work for you--whether you're in a passive job search mode or actively seeking your next career opportunity.

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

Sharon (Lovett) Nolen, '83 chemical engineering, was recently named the Association of Energy Engineers International Energy Manager of the Year. She is the first woman to receive this honor. Read the full story here

Martia (Patty) Brown; '06 B.S. biology, '07 M.A. instructional leadership, '10 Ed.S. instructional leadership; was featured in the Fall 2019 edition of Equal Opportunity magazine. The article focused on how an internship jump-started her career at Enterprise. Brown is the group rental manager for Enterprise in Mishawaka, IN.  Read the full article here

Jenna Sharp, '10 Ed.S. instructional leadership, has been named one of Knoxville's 40 under 40. Jenna is the principal at Clinton Elementary School and knows the names of all 543 students. She has been named Clinton City Schools' principal of the year twice and was one of nine principals named finalists for the 2019-20 Tennessee Principal of the Year award. Read the full story here

Ashleigh (Sheldon) Chapman, '09 multidisciplinary studies, was recently featured in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ashleigh is the founder of Atlus, a benefit corporation that exists to innovate solutions in education, technology, finance, and business to accelerate the movement to end and prevent human trafficking. Read the full story here.

Jeff Stanley, '90 mechanical engineering, has been named Vice President of Transaxle Manufacturing of America (TMA). TMA is a joint venture between John Deere, Kanzaki, and Yanmar and is located in Rock Hill, SC.  

Rachel (Elkins Denton) Killebrew, '64 math and German, worked for the German Team and IBM on the Apollo/Saturn Project at Kennedy Space Center Checkout and Launch. 

Usha Munukutla-Parker, '90 electrical engineering, has been promoted to Counsel at Cantor Colburn LLP, a patent law firm. Her practice includes all aspects of patent prosecution of electrical and some mechanical technologies. Read the full story here.

Col. Amy (Waters) Holbeck, '97 biology, is the first female wing commander to lead the Georgia Air National Guard's 116th Air Control Wing. 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 Randall WardenRandall Warden, '76 agricultural science, is a 17-year True To Tech member, and while his gifts support a number of areas on campus, the majority of his support has been designated to the Larry S. Click Agriculture Scholarship. So just what is it about Professor Larry S. Click that inspired Warden to give so generously to a scholarship in the professor's name? Click the button below to find out!

Read Donor Spotlight

Upcoming Tennessee Tech University bookstore sales

Two TTU tshirts

February 2: 25% off all sweats and tees

February 3-7: Buy one, get one 50% off women's apparel

February 13-14: 20% off logoed product

February 17-18: 25% off logoed product

The Crawford Alumni Center


Giving to Tennessee Tech