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January 2021  

Tech's new lab science building now open

a drone photo of the courtyard and facade of the lab sciences building

Tech's new lab science building is officially open! Faculty and staff moved in a few weeks ago in preparation for spring 2021 classes, which began on Jan. 19. The 160,000-square-foot facility is the largest academic building at Tech and its first LEED certified building. It houses the chemistry department, a portion of the biology department and has lab space for earth sciences, physics and environmental sciences. Design features focus on collaborative space, active learning and "Science on Display." 

Tech unveils new engineering building features and floor plans
an architectural rendering of the proposed facade of the engineering building

Tennessee Tech's new engineering building will be the first new engineering facility on campus in 50 years, since Prescott Hall was completed in 1971. It will be a showcase for Tech's flagship College of Engineering and will be a student-centered interdisciplinary smart building used by all departments in the college. This 100,000-square-foot building is an investment in Tech's future and will allow the university to continue to provide a quality engineering education. Tech hopes to break ground on this new facility this summer. Click the link below to read about the different features of the new building, view floor plans, learn about naming opportunities and more!

Tech students honor Martin Luther King, Jr. with service

members of Alpha Phi Alpha marching down Dixie Ave. in front of the RUC

Tennessee Tech students, faculty and staff marched from the lawn of Walton House to the steps of Derryberry Hall to honor the late Martin Luther King, Jr. on Jan. 19. Members of the fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha led the annual silent march, kicking off a week of celebration for the civil rights leader.

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Siraj named Cybersecurity Person of the Year

A portrait of Dr. Siraj in a CEROC lab.

Ambareen Siraj continues to be recognized for her efforts in cybersecurity. The Tennessee Tech computer science professor has been named the 2020 Cybersecurity Person of the Year by Cybersecurity Ventures.

Siraj is the founding director of Tech's Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center. She is also founder of WiCys (Women in Cybersecurity), the only nonprofit membership organization with international reach that is dedicated to bringing together women in cybersecurity from academia, research and industry to share knowledge, experience, networking and mentoring.

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Share your Tennessee Tech love story

a graphic of two purple lovebirds that reads "Golden Eagle Lovebirds"

Did 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 on the 2021 Golden Eagle Lovebirds website and win some Tech SWAG!

share your lovebirds story

previous winners

Third annual "I Heart Tech Students" campaign begins Feb. 12

A graphic reading I Heart Tech Students

Who could have predicted the challenges students would face in 2020? On Mar. 3, tornadoes devastated Middle Tennessee, and just a few weeks later, COVID-19 changed how we all live, work and learn. But thanks to donor support, Tech students persevered.

From Feb. 12 through Mar. 25, you will have the opportunity to make a gift to the third annual "I Heart Tech Students" campaign and support the areas who help students facing unforeseen obstacles: Tech's Accessible Education Center, Counseling Center, Eagle Assistance Grant, Food Pantry and Health Services. Watch for emails and follow us on social media to learn more about how to be a part of this year's campaign.

follow CRAWFORD alumni center on facebook

Tech Took Us There

Internationally renowned violinist credits Tech with providing strong background for future success
A portrait of Paulo Torres

Paulo Sergio Da Graca Torres Pereira, '78 music education, is an internationally renowned violinist, conductor and teacher. He has performed more than 4,000 concerts as a concertmaster, soloist and conductor of numerous professional orchestras in the Americas and Europe and has participated in several university and international music festivals. But while Torres has played in concerts all over the world, his journey to Tennessee Tech reminds us that sometimes, it is a small world after all.

"I was participating in an international music festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where I met Dr. James Wattenbarger, head of the School of Music at Tennessee Tech," said Torres. "He was participating as well, as a guest conductor. After hearing me play the violin, he invited me to come study at Tech."

The Tech Took Us There series features outstanding Tech alumni who credit their successes in their careers to the education they received at Tennessee Tech.

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More tech took us there stories

True To Tech donors share why they support Tech every year

True To Tech Stories

"I am True To Tech because I believe in the power of postsecondary education -- a degree from Tennessee Tech changed my life," said Brent Waugh, '04 psychology and 11 years True To Tech. "I know that my support makes that life-changing experience possible for a new generation of Eagles, and annual donations from alumni show how much we care about Tech, including its students, programs and campus."

Waugh supports the diversity scholarship initiative, Eagle Assistance Grant and True To Tech Fund because he wants to provide a college education for students who might not otherwise be able to attend.

"Scholarship funds made it possible for me to attend Tech and complete my degree," said Waugh. "I know that my family's annual support of Tech, even at a small level, has great collective impact alongside the donations of thousands of other alumni."

To learn more about Brent Waugh, be sure to check out the article in Class Notes below!

True To Tech recognizes donors who consistently give each year, regardless of the area they support or the amount of the gift. Once a donor has given to Tech for two consecutive years, s/he is recognized as True To Tech. Each year, True To Tech donors receive a True To Tech magnet and decal displaying the number of consecutive years they have given. Decals and magnets can be seen across the state on filing cabinets, doors, refrigerators and vehicles. We love to see True To Tech donors show their Tech pride. 

read Brent's full story

learn more about true to tech

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

A photo of a small, crocheted Awesome Eagle posed beside Tech memorabilia.

Monthly trivia questions in The Alumnus are designed to test your knowledge of all things Tech! Last month we asked the following question: 

In what year was the Tech mascot officially named "Awesome Eagle"? 

The answer was 1985. Congrats to Sonny Webb who won the drawing for some Tech SWAG! 

Last month the Crawford Alumni Center's little Awesome Eagle drew some inspiration from Elf on the Shelf and became Eagle on a Teagle! Each day leading up to Dec. 25, Awesome appeared in a new place on campus. Follow the Crawford Alumni Center on Facebook or Instagram to see his adventures. The post on Dec. 14 was the clue to last month's question: Awesome held a 35-year True To Tech magnet, hinting that he's been True To Tech as long as he's been Awesome. To learn more about True To Tech, be sure to check out the preceding story.  

We don't see a lot of heavy snow in Middle Tennessee, so this month's trivia question is about that other kind of "blizzard."

In 1985, the very first blizzard took place during an NCAA National Invitation Tournament men's basketball game. What school did Tech play in this game?

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

Tech-themed games and activities 

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Taking the Wheel by Lofton Carter

A New Beginning

What does wealth mean to you? Is it a house in the hills and a private yet? Or is it working 35 hours a week and having time for family and travel? As we begin a new year, it's a good time to define your financial goals.

This month, Lofton talks about short- and long-term financial goals as well as what motivates happiness. Spoiler alert (and contrary to what you may think): For most of us, it's not money! Click the link below to read Lofton's blog.

"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. Lofton 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. 

read lofton's financial literacy blog

 Archives with Atkinson Graphic

A photo of the archives' research room

From University Archivist Megan Atkinson:

"The students are back, and Tennessee Tech Archives is ready with some new initiatives this semester including an online introduction to the archives class and a new history class - HIS 3420 Archives Management and Research! 

"The online class resulted from the need to socially distance and restrict classroom sizes. Archives still wanted to reach new students and introduce them to the archives, even during the pandemic. This online program shares the in-person experience of the archives and includes a tour, a lecture on what the archives is and explores some of the treasures the archives holds.

"HIS 3420 Archives Management and Research is being offered for the first time ever this semester. This course was written in response to a number of students finding the archives late in their college years and expressing how they wish they found this earlier. The course is intended to give students actual experience in the archives, discuss various theories and concepts, and offer firsthand experience performing research. I hope this creates lifelong researchers and builds an understanding of the importance of cultural institutions. I also know this means I will have a small army of eager archive students helping this semester! One of the projects for this semester is to work on preservation of a historic collection and make it accessible to patrons. The project will be a great lesson in preservation, research and information access. I look forward to to sharing what we complete this semester!"

Photo top left: Archives classroom

University Archivist Megan Atkinson and the University Archives staff are 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 their office with questions, and watch for more "Archives with Atkinson" in future editions of The Alumnus. 

read archives' blog

Follow Tech Archives on Facebook

Friends Remembered with drawings of 2 doves

A portrait of Dr. Ventrice

Dr. Carl A. Ventrice, Sr. passed away on Dec. 27, 2020, at the age of 90. He had served as a faculty member at Tennessee Tech for more than 45 years, retiring from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2011.

Ventrice graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in electrical engineering, M.S. in physics and Ph.D. in nuclear physics. While studying at Penn State, he met his future wife, Marie Busck. Tech alumni know Marie Busck Ventrice as Tech's first Ph.D. graduate. She graduated in 1974 with a Ph.D. in engineering and went on to be the associate dean of Tech's College of Engineering.

After obtaining his Ph.D., Ventrice began working for the defense contractor Analytic Services in Washington, D.C., before moving to Cookeville in 1964 and joining the faculty of the Physics Department at Tech (then known as Tennessee Polytechnic Institute). The family then moved to Auburn, AL, but Wallace Prescott soon recruited Ventrice back to Tech, where he had a long career teaching electrical engineering and physics and doing research in the areas of plasma science, laser technology and electromagnetic field propagation and scattering.

Click the link below to read the full story about Dr. Carl Ventrice, Sr., written by his son Dr. Carl Ventrice, Jr, a 1985 Tennessee Tech mechanical engineering graduate.

Friends Remembered is a new section of The Alumnus to honor the memories of members of the Golden Eagle family who have passed away. If you would like to include someone in Friends Remembered, email us at

friends remembered

Class Notes

A portrait of Tylor Luellen in his uniform.Richard "Tylor" Luellen, '16 sociology, is being called a hero. Luellen was the first officer on the scene of the downtown Nashville bombing on Christmas morning. Thanks to the actions of Luellen and five other officers, the bomb injured only a handful of people, none critically. 

Janey Camp, '02 B.S. civil engineering and '04 M.S. civil engineering, has partnered with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) to seek ways to mitigate the opioid epidemic. Camp is an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Vanderbilt University. Read more.

Jake Hoot, '13 interdisciplinary studies, reflects on the past year -- a year in which his dreams came true -- in an article in the Upper Cumberland Business Journal. One year ago, Hoot won "The Voice," a reality singing competition on ABC. Read more.

Brent Waugh, '04 psychology, was featured in Ledger for his work with Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, where he serves as CEO. 

Holly Bischoff, '96 accounting, was appointed Chief Financial Officer for EMJ Construction. As CFO, she is responsible for the overall fiscal functions of EMJ and its subsidiaries and related companies.

Michael Caruthers, '70 industrial technology, was re-elected to his fourth term as Alderman in Millington, TN.

Roger Nutt, '89 mechanical engineering, was sworn in to the South Carolina House of Representatives (District 34-Spartanburg) in November. Nutt served as the Representative for County Council District 5 from 2011-2020.

Angie (Duncan) Hyche, '87 biology, published her first book: Unholy Mess: What the Bible Says about Clutter. Hyche is a certified professional organizer and the owner of Shipshape Solutions, a professional organizing company in Kingsport, TN. Read more

Bryon Harrington, '20 mechanical engineering, was featured in a Wright-Patterson Air Force Base article. Harrington is putting past knowledge and experience as a crew chief in the U.S. Air Force to use in his position as a test engineer for the Propulsion Test Branch at Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee. Read more.

James "Jay" McClellan III, '85 business management and '95 civil engineering, has been named the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) Engineering Division Chief. McClellan is responsible for the planning, scheduling and design of projects for TWRA boating access, wildlife management areas and hatcheries. Read more.  

Sharon Nolen, '83 chemical engineering, received the 2020 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) award for Energy and Sustainability. She was recognized for leading the implementation of a world-class energy management program recognized by the Department of Energy's (DOE) Better Plants and the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) ENERGY STAR programs. Read more.

Matthew Boss, '16 political science, is DeKalb County's newest attorney. His office will be located in the Hendrix Law Building in Smithville, TN. Read more.

Teddy Murphy, '19 professional studies, was named Chief Deputy by the Dickson County Sheriff's Office. Murphy has worked in law enforcement for 25 years, most recently as a member of the Belle Meade Police Department. Read more.

Christy Drewry, '08 chemical engineering, won the Society of Women Engineers WE Local Engaged Advocate Award. This award recognizes individuals who have significantly contributed to the advancement or acceptance of women in engineering at a regional level.

Kevin Murphy, '12 interdisciplinary studies, a former Tech basketball player, is now making his presence known professionally in the Middle East where he plays for the Al Arabi Club Doha of the Qatari Basketball League. Read more.

Tonya Blanchford, '91 finance, recently started her own business. Tonya's Teas & Quiet Connections creates custom gift baskets that include a mug, premium teas, cookie, stress reduction crystal and candle. Each basket also includes an invitation to connect over a cup of tea on Zoom.

Thomas "Mike" Hennigan, '73 health and physical education, was featured in a New York Jets story titled "Where are they now: Mike Hennigan." Read more.

Several Whitson-Hester School of Nursing faculty received grants recently. Mary Lou Fornehed, '86 nursing, received a $200,000 grant for her work in conjunction with the University of Tennessee on the "Effectiveness of concurrent care to improve pediatric and family outcomes at end of life." Ann Hellman, '93 nursing, received a $500,000 grant to certify Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) for the Upper Cumberland area. Shelia Hurley, '94 nursing, received a $600,000 grant to introduce art therapy to help dementia/Alzheimer's patients in Tennessee nursing homes.

Photo top left: Tylor Luellen
Source: Metro Nashville Police Department

We love hearing about the successes of Tennessee Tech alumni. 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

Tennessee Tech apparel and teddy bears

 Jan. 26-28: 25% off Under Armour, Nike & Adidas and up to 50% off auto accessories 

Jan. 26-29: Up to 50% off gifts & accessories

Free shipping on online orders of $49 or more! 

The bookstore offers some high-end items including 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. These are great options if you are looking for something unique for yourself or a nice gift for someone else. 

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