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October 2020  

Tech celebrates Homecoming with a theme of Tech Pride

A purple and white grahic that reads Tech Pride. There is a Tech Logo on one side and the Tennessee Tri-Star on the other.

Join us for Homecoming 2020 Nov. 9-14! The theme is Tech Pride, and while the schedule may look a bit different this year, the week of Homecoming will feature a variety of virtual and on-campus events. Tech alumni and friends can walk through the quad in a "reverse parade," participate in Homecoming Trivia LIVE on Facebook, show their Tech pride via photos on social media, and join students in a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for Tech's Food Pantry. While there will not be a football game nor a traditional parade this year, we hope you'll check out the full schedule of events and participate in as much as you can!

Tech unveils new engineering building designs 
Architectural rendering of proposed engineering building design

Tennessee Tech unveiled initial designs for its new engineering building at the September meeting of the Board of Trustees. Even though construction funding for the project was delayed as the State of Tennessee revised its 2020-2021 budget, Tech had received more than $3 million from the state in a previous fiscal year to begin planning. The building, with an estimated $57 million cost, remains the top priority for higher education construction projects, according to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

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Tech alumnus to command NASA's Boeing Crew Flight Test

Photo of Barry Wimore looking at a computer monitor next to another gentleman.

Tennessee Tech alumnus and Board of Trustees member Barry Wilmore is returning to space. The NASA astronaut will command NASA's Boeing Crew Flight Test, the inaugural crewed flight of the CST-100 Starliner launching to the International Space Station in 2021.

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Tech's racial equity task force works to bridge racial gaps

Students sitting on couches and giving the camera the "wings up" sign.

Tennessee Tech University has accelerated efforts to increase diversity and improve the campus culture of inclusion with President Phil Oldham's call for a special ad hoc task force for racial equity. The group met several times over about an eight-week period. The major recommendation was to assign diversity duties to current employees in each college and academic units who would then work with the chief diversity officer.

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Tech football releases 2021 spring OVC schedule

Football players running on the field

As the Tennessee Tech football team continued to prepare for the 2020-21 campaign, the Ohio Valley Conference took the next step in resuming the sport as it announced the spring 2021 schedule. In all, the Golden Eagles will host three OVC contests and hit the road for four more. Start times will be announced at a later date. As with all dates during the COVID-19 pandemic, all dates and times are subject to change. Teams will play in accordance with local regulations, NCAA medical guidelines and supporting OVC standards.

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Tennessee Tech Alumni apparel available for purchase

A gray and yellow t-shirt with Tennessee Tech 1915 Alumni on the fronts in purple.Are you a proud Tennessee Tech alum? Do you want to show the world you're proud of your alma mater? The Crawford Alumni Center has designed special Tennessee Tech alumni t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, and sweatshirts that you can only find online through our special partnership. Click the link below to view all of the options available and to order online.

This special offer will only be available through Nov.17, and all shirts will be shipped after the order closes on Nov. 17. While we hope to offer additional alumni apparel in the future, we may not be able to offer these specific colors and styles so if you see something you like, be sure to get it now!

Facebook LIVE Trivia returns with a Halloween theme

Crawford Alumni Center Halloween Trivia; Facebooke Live /tntechalumni; Friday, October 30; 7 PM CDT

What famous magician died on Halloween? To find out, join us for Halloween Trivia LIVE on the Crawford Alumni Center Facebook page. Get with some friends or family, dress up in your favorite costume, and grab some candy corn! The fun begins at 7 p.m. CDT on Friday, Oct. 30.

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Are there ghosts on the Tennessee Tech University campus?

Black and white photo of Derryberry Hall with an effect to look "spooky"

If you missed last year's special feature story that explores whether or not Tennessee Tech may be haunted, we've made it available again this year. Click the link below to read some fun Tech and Upper Cumberland ghost stories.

The Tennessee Tech Crawford Alumni Center wishes all of our alumni and friends a safe, happy, and healthy Halloween!

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Last chance to nominate deserving Tech alumni for Alumni Awards

Bronze eagle head alumni awards sit on a table with a cloth reading "Alumni Association, Tennessee Tech"

The Alumni Association annually presents awards to individuals who have demonstrated professional success or recognition among the faculty, staff, students and alumni of Tennessee Tech. The Association recognizes outstanding individuals in the following categories:

  • Distinguished Alumnus Award
  • Outstanding Young Alumnus Award
  • Outstanding Service Award
  • Outstanding Philanthropy Award

The deadline to submit a nomination is Nov. 15, 2020. Please click the button below to read the criteria for each award or to submit a nomination.

submit a nomination

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

scan of mailgram scheduling Elvis to perform at Tech

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: 

On Aug. 16, 1977, Tennessee Tech received a mailgram confirming a big name entertainer's concert on Sept. 27, 1977. The performer's manager accepted our offer of $5,000, and ticket prices were set at $10.25, $12.75 and $15.25. Unfortunately, this concert never took place. Tragedy struck on the very same date we received that mailgram. Who was the performer?

The answer was Elvis Presley!

This question was by far the most popular with our alumni! Dozens of you guessed the right answer, but Mark Lowe was the winner of the drawing and will receive Tech SWAG.

This month's question is as follows:

What professional linebacker, mentioned in the opening scenes of the film Poltergeist, set a record for tackles and was named OVC Defensive Player of the Year twice when he played for Tennessee Tech?

If you know, email We'll randomly select one of the correct answers to win some Tech swag! And if this question puts you in the mood for more spooky trivia, be sure to check out our Halloween Trivia LIVE on Facebook Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. CDT.

Photo top left: Mailgram confirming Elvis Presley would perform a concert at Tech.

Tech-themed games and activities 


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

Late to the Party?

Do you ever wish you had started saving earlier for retirement? Have you thought, "If I'd known how important it was or if I'd known how, I would have invested sooner. It's too late now."

Well, you are not alone. 75% of retirees wish they could tell their younger selves to save more. A shocking 68% of those thinking of retirement have far less saved than they actually need and will be reliant on ever-changing Social Security benefits for financial security. Though it may be tempting to focus on past mistakes, this only gets in the way of creating a plan.

Click the link below for Lofton's tips on creating a retirement plan and suggestions for how to begin saving more money NOW.

"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. 

Taking the Wheel Blog Page

Archives with Atkinson Graphic

Cartoon program cover of a man and woman laying on towels on the beach that reads Caravan of Stars

Archives and Special Collections thanks the many alumni and friends of Tech who have responded favorably to the Big Name Entertainment exhibit! There are always more ways to support the Archives than just through monetary gifts; gifts of stories, photographs, and memorabilia help to capture a student's campus experience.

Since the Big Name Entertainment exhibit made its debut, both through a physical exhibit in the Varsity Building and an online exhibit as well, alumni have shared additional stories of their favorite--and least favorite--concerts and performers. One alumnus shared Weird Al Yankovic show photographs from 1985 and photographs of 1964 the Tribute, a Beatles tribute band and a popular recurring concert at Tech through the 80s and 90s. A few alumni also shared their memories of Lynyrd Skynyrd who played at Tech on April 18, 1974, with the Pure Prairie League and Timberline. And one alumnus shared his memories of seeing the Allman Brothers on May 13, 1971. 

The "Big Name Entertainment" exhibit is in the Varsity Building, 705 N Dixie Ave. The Varsity Building is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Face coverings are required. If you prefer a virtual option, you can view the exhibit online and listen to a big name entertainment playlist online as well. (Spotify required)

online EXHIBIT                                   spotify playlist

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: Dick Clark's "Caravan of Stars" program cover, 1965. Donated by Sandra S. Elliot.

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Career Corner with Russ

Tennessee Tech has partnered with Hire Talent for the HireTennessee Multi-University Virtual Career Fair, to be held on Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST. These multi-university career fairs allow alumni to meet with hiring managers and recruiters from leading employers and network with fellow local alumni as well. With positions ranging from entry level to management, this is your opportunity to find an exciting new career or profession. All majors and degrees are welcome, and all industries will be represented. Register for HireTennessee via the link below.

Also, Tech's Annual Graduate and Professional School Fair will be held virtually this year and is scheduled for Oct. 29 from 11 to 1 p.m. CDT. Interested alumni can download the Career Fair Plus app from the App Store or Google Play Store. Visit to learn more.

And be sure to check out the Career Corner blog for tips and suggestions for participating in these virtual fairs!

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"!

register for hiretennessee

read career corner

Class Notes

Beecher Hunter, '61 English, is retiring after 34 years at Life Care Centers of America, including 14 years as company president. Read more.

Dr. Esra Roan, '98 B.S. mechanical engineering and '00 M.S. mechanical engineering, is one of the 25 Memphis Business Journal Super Women in Business 2020 honorees. She is the co-founder and CEO of SOMAVAC Medical Solutions in Memphis, TN. Read more. And here's an additional article about how Dr. Roan tackles the extreme work-life balance of being a woman in STEM during COVID-19.

Chris Fletcher, '03 chemistry, will soon take over the reins as Master Distiller of the Jack Daniel Distillery. He previously served for six years as Assistant Master Distiller and will be responsible for the overall quality of Jack Daniel's "from grain to glass" innovation and serve as a global ambassador. In addition, he will oversee the distillery's new "Distillers in Training" program which aims to recruit, teach, and mentor the next generation of whiskey makers. Read more.

Mitchell Hill, '14 B.S. exercise science, physical education and wellness and '16 M.A. exercise science, physical education and wellness, has been named director of Basketball Operations at Western Carolina University. Hill was a three-year basketball letter winner at Tech. Read more.

Terra Davis, '11 agriculture, was named the winner of the Tennessee Farm Bureau's 2020 Excellence in Agriculture Award. This award spotlights young Farm Bureau members who are agricultural enthusiasts. Competitors are evaluated on their understanding of agricultural issues, leadership experiences and achievement, and their ability to communicate their agricultural story.  

Dr. Edmund Prater, '86 electrical engineering, was named a Jefferson Science Fellow by the National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine. He will be working for the U.S. State Department and is the first member of the faculty at the University of Texas at Arlington to receive this honor. Read more.

Tony Sanders, '06 M.B.A. business administration, has joined the Board of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga. Sanders is a certified public accountant and certified fraud examiner with more than 30 years of experience in the public and private sectors. He currently works for Unum as a manager in the Benefits Financial Services area. Read more.

Dr. Phyllis Miller, '70 pre-medicine, was recently profiled in a book titled Climbing Mountains. Written by author Lynelle Mason, the book profiles Dr. Miller's humble beginnings in a Polk County farmstead to an outstanding career and her eventual election as the first woman to head the Tennessee Medical Association. Dr. Miller's parents died when she was in high school, but through tenacity and the assistance of some key teachers and mentors, she completed high school and earned a scholarship to Tennessee Tech. Read more.

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

Nov. 2: Daylight Savings Sale - Fall back savings on top sellers

Nov. 2 -15: 25% off Champion brand

Nov. 2-6: 20% off diploma frames

Nov. 9-13: 25% off Adidas, Nike, and Under Armour brands

Nov. 16-20: 25% off fleece

Nov. 16-17: Two-day drinkware and ornament sale (while supplies last)

Nov. 18-19: Door Buster sale

Nov. 20-21: outerwear and cold weather sale

Nov. 22-25: fleece outerwear and cold weather Door Buster sale

Nov. 27-28: Black Friday 25% sitewide

Nov. 29-Dec. 1: Cyber Monday 25% off sitewide

Free shipping on orders of $49 or more

The University Bookstore is now open to serve you. Their hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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