Crawford Alumni Center

The Alumnus Logo

Upcoming Events              Tech news              Make a gift

May 2020  

Commencement celebrations springing up around campus

A photo of Dean Shank congratulating a May 2020 graduate in her front yard. There is a sign in the foreground of the photo that reads "Hats off to you 2020 college of Fine Arts Graduate"

The postponement of commencement services at Tennessee Tech has not kept many faculty and students from creating celebrations of their own. Several larger colleges and departments have been honoring graduating seniors on Zoom or Youtube live. In the College of Fine Arts, Dean Jennifer Shank went the extra mile to make her 38 graduating seniors feel special. Shank traveled more than 1,800 miles across the state of Tennessee during an 8-day period to visit each graduate. Dressed in her graduation regalia, she hit the road, visiting the home of each graduate, dropping off a yard sign, goodie bag and a graduation card. She also posed for pictures while practicing social distancing.

Continue Reading

Tech graduates celebrate with video; regular commencement to be held Aug. 8
Photo of a graduate in purple regalia giving thumbs up. There is a table beside the graduate, covered in a purple table cloth, with trays of cupcakes and balloons.

Tennessee Tech graduates had May 9 marked on their calendar as a day to celebrate the accomplishment of earning a degree. But COVID-19 altered that for the time being.

Hearing their family erupt in cheers when their name was called while walking across the stage to shake hands with President Phil Oldham and grab a diploma cover didn’t happen for the Class of 2020 on May 9. But it will.

The Spring 2020 commencement ceremony will occur on Saturday, Aug. 8, in the Hooper Eblen Center. There will be three ceremonies that day, allowing students receiving undergraduate degrees in Spring and Summer 2020 to invite family and friends while still allowing for social distancing. A ceremony honoring master’s degree and doctoral students will be held Friday evening, Aug. 7.  

In lieu of a traditional commencement ceremony, Tech compiled a video celebration which included messages from President Oldham, Governor Bill Lee, Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter, Cookeville Mayor Ricky Shelton, slides of graduates, special moments during their time at Tech, and concluded with a special message from Tech alum Jake Hoot, the winner of season 17 of The Voice. 

Continue Reading

Tech Took Us ThereTech alumna serves more than 100,000 individuals in need at Chattanooga Area Food Bank

Abbey smiles at the camera. She is standing in front of a garden with a building in the background. The building has a greenhouse area and a sign on the front in the shape of an apple.

As a Phonathon student caller, Abbey Markus, '18 communication, served Tennessee Tech by raising funds to help Tech students. Now, Markus continues this desire to help others by serving more than 100,000 individuals who struggle with food security at the Chattanooga Area Food Bank (CAFB). As the event planner and community engagement coordinator for the CAFB, Markus focuses on food drives, third party events, marketing, and serving community members at different mobile food pantries. And she credits her success to many of the skills she acquired at Tech.

"Tech Took Us There" features alumni who credit their Tennessee Tech education for helping them achieve success in their careers. Do you believe your Tech education helped prepare you for a successful career? If so, we'd love to hear about it! Email us at

Continue Reading

more tech took us there stories

#GivingTuesdayNow celebrates Tech alumni and friends

White font on a purple background - the graphic reads "Giving Tuesday Now - Thank You"








Thank you to everyone who supported #GivingTuesdayNow. This international day of giving was established to raise funds for areas affected by COVID-19, and Tech chose to use this day to honor the faculty, staff, alumni, and friends who established and funded the Eagle Assistance Grant, an emergency need-based grant that is helping students who have been financially affected by COVID-19. Thank you for ensuring funds are there when students need help the most.

Alumni Book Club to read Malcolm Gladwell's Talking to Strangers

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 had a great discussion about Tara Westover's Educated: A Memoir this month, and we're excited to read Malcolm Gladwell's newest book, Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know in June. 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 Be sure to join the group today to get to know your fellow book club members, and we'll begin discussing Talking to Strangers within the next couple of weeks!

Crawford Alumni Center to host 90s trivia event on May 29

A bright purplegraphic with 90s design elements. There is a repeating motif of a triangle made of white lines, a yellow squiggle, a pink zig-zag, and a turquoise bar. The graphic reads "Crawford Alumni Center 90s Trivia; May 29, 2020 at 7 PM CDT; Facebook Live /tntechalumni"

The next Crawford Alumni Center Trivia Night will be May 29 at 7 p.m. CDT, and the theme is the 90s! Our host will be dressed in her 90s best, so put on some M.C. Hammer pants and grab a Trapper Keeper to keep score! Be sure to follow us on Facebook for the latest information about upcoming trivia nights.

Follow Crawford Alumni Center on Facebook

Crawford Alumni Center tests alumni knowledge of all things Tech with monthly trivia questions

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

In addition to our Facebook LIVE trivia events, 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: 

The first issue of The Oracle, the Tennessee Tech student newspaper, was published on April 25, 1924, four years after its predecessor. Prior to The Oracle, Tech's newspaper was the Tech Dynamo. Many alumni may not know that Tech had another newspaper, published sometime in between The Oracle and the Tech Dynamo, but only for one issue. The very first issue of The Oracle in 1924 actually had a headline about this newspaper, announcing it had retired after just one issue in favor of The Oracle. To date, a copy of this elusive one-issue-only newspaper cannot be found, and the actual date it was published is unknown. Name that newspaper.   

The answer was the Society Spokesman which retired after just one issue!

The trivia question for this month is as follows:

What Tech institution signed on for the first time in 1972 from the smokestack building and featured Don Caldwell (an advisor) and President Everett Derryberry?

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

Don't forget to check out our Tech-themed coloring sheets and word search. We'd love to see your completed word search or coloring sheet! Send pics to

Tech-themed games and activities

follow us on facebook 

What professor changed your world?

What professor changed your world?

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


Archives with Atkinson Graphic

A tabby cat (with a Tudor bonnet/doctoral hat photoshopped on its head) sits next to a file box.

Most Tech employees have been working remotely for the past few weeks due to COVID-19. So what can archivists do from home since they often work with paper-based materials? As University Archivist Megan Atkinson explains in her blog this month, a lot!

Archives is working on a variety of tasks including assisting with tornado photographs, transcribing historic documents, preserving digital materials, collecting current digital materials on the tornado and COVID-19, and describing historic photograph collections. Thanks to University Archives' work documenting COVID-19, this experience will be preserved for future research interests, much like how many are reviewing the Spanish Flu now.

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

Follow Tech Archives on Facebook

Career Corner with Russ

This month, Career Corner goes LIVE!

Are you looking for career advice? Have you or someone you know had your employment affected by COVID-19? Are you a new graduate who is unsure how to navigate the job market during these uncertain times? On May 28 at noon CDT, Center for Career Development Russ Coughenour will host a special Career Corner LIVE webinar to address these questions. Click the link below to register. Once you register, you'll receive a confirmation email with information about accessing the webinar.

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

Sam Bledsoe, '07 computer science, is running for Tennessee State Representative in District 61 on the Democratic ticket. He lives in Brentwood, TN. Read the full story here.   

Nancy Hamilton, '93 early childhood education, recently received her Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership and Management from Capella University. Nancy serves as director of the College Success program at Roane State Community College.

Will Smith, '71 engineering science, obtained a patent for a multichannel fiber optic connector, adapter, and contact retention method with his son Dan in March of 2020. He credits his Tech education for helping his career in engineering, product development, and market development, subsequent to graduate work in materials science at MIT and an MBA from Harvard.

Charles "Chuck" Cagle, '78 B.S. political science and '80 M.A. educational psychology, has been appointed as Tennessee representative and counsel to the Council of Administrators in Special Education. Read the full story here.

Katie Hayes, '15 multidisciplinary studies, was named Teacher of the Year at East Middle School in Tullahoma, TN. Read the full story here.

Bobby Wilson, '76 B.S. wildlife management and '81 M.A. fisheries management, a 41-year veteran with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), has now been named the head of that agency. Bobby is only the third person to serve as head of TWRA. Read the full story here.

Bob Winegar, '74 chemical engineering, was Program Manager for RSI EnTech, LLC as the company completed an almost 12-year contract providing environmental and technical support to the US Department of Energy at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, Ohio.  The final 10-plus years of the contract were completed with a perfect safety record. 

Christian Earl, '03 M.A. instructional leadership and '04 Ed.S. instructional leadership, will be the new principal at  Airport High School in West Columbia, SC, this fall. Read the full story here.

Courtney Manning, '19 nursing, and Michaella Keyes, '18 nursing, are two former Tennessee Tech soccer teammates and Whitson-Hester School of Nursing classmates who are now working together to help fight COVID-19 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN. Read the full story here

Ina Maxwell, '89 B.S. elementary education, '95 M.A. curriculum and instruction, '07 Ph.D. exceptional learning, has been selected by the Cumberland County Board of Education as the new Director of Schools. Read the full story here.

Eastman Chemical Company IT employees are using their home 3D printers to make ear savers for medical personnel on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eastman employs many Tennessee Tech grads, and we thank Eastman Process Engineer Spencer Tidwell, '11 chemical engineering, for sharing this story with us. 

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

May 22 - July 4: 25% Off Select Emblematic Clearance


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


Giving to Tennessee Tech