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July 2021  

Tech hits $2 million endowed diversity scholarship goal

A group of students sitting on couches in the BCC giving the wings up and smiling to the camera.

Throughout decades, Tennessee Tech leaders have labored to establish a legacy of inclusiveness for Black students, and those passionate leaders now lead the celebration of a major milestone.

Diversity endowments have now reached $2 million, and endowment monies continue to climb as donors realize their impact can be significant and soon. For the first time this fall, 13 students will attend Tech supported by money generated from two major endowments.

READ more

Alumni Association to host pre-game breakfast at Tech vs UT game

An action photo of a Tech football player holding off a UT football player on the field.

The Tennessee Tech Alumni Association invites all alumni and friends to join us for a pre-game breakfast in Knoxville on Saturday, Sept. 18. Prior to the Golden Eagles taking on the UT Volunteers at Neyland Stadium, we'll host a breakfast at the Knoxville Convention Center. The registration fee includes a full breakfast, non-alcoholic beverages (alcoholic beverages will be available for an additional cost), and a Tennessee Tech t-shirt. Click the link below to register or to learn more about this event. Please note that you will purchase your ticket to the Tech versus UT football game separately. Click the link below for details.

If you don't plan to join us for breakfast but would like to purchase a t-shirt, you can! Just click the appropriate link.

We hope to see you in Knoxville!

Tennessee Tech to celebrate Homecoming Nov. 13

A graphic of Awesome Eagle dressed for the early 90s that reads Tech Back In Time - Homecoming Throught the Decades

Save the date! Tennessee Tech's Homecoming will be November 13, and the theme is Tech Back in Time: Homecoming Through the Decades. We invite all alumni and friends back to campus to celebrate with us and watch the Golden Eagles face off against UT Martin at Tucker Stadium at 1:30 p.m.

Click the link below for more information, and be sure to visit the Crawford Alumni Center events page often as additional events are planned for Homecoming weekend and throughout the fall. We have missed seeing our alumni and can't wait to have you back on campus!

visit the Crawford alumni center events page

Alumni and friends invited to explore Utah in June 2022

A photo of an arch in Arches National Park.

Who's ready to start traveling again?!

On June 5, 2022, we will head out on a seven-day adventure to explore Utah! We'll visit Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, Dead Horse Point State Park, Monument Valley and much more! Visit our Golden Eagle Travel website to learn more, or contact us at if you'd like a brochure mailed to you. The Utah's Mighty National Parks adventure is offered in partnership with Premier World Discovery, a leader in worldwide guided travel. Wings Up Across America!

visit golden eagle travel webpage

Tennessee Tech asks alumni, where are you True?

a hand holding a 27 years True To Tech magnet in front of the Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago

Where are you True?

Are you traveling this summer? We want to see your photos! Snap a photo of your True To Tech magnet or decal in front of a landmark, monument or "Welcome to the State of ___" sign!

Don't have a magnet or decal? No problem! Just take a photo of yourself wearing a Tech shirt or hat. Hashtag your photo #TrueToTech on Facebook or Instagram, or send your photos to us at

True To Tech recognizes donors who make a gift (of any amount) to Tennessee Tech each year. Once you have made gifts two years in a row, you will receive a True To Tech magnet and decal displaying the number of years you have supported Tech.

Last month, Associate Vice President of University Development John W. Smith, `94 computer science and `98 MBA, displayed his 27-year True To Tech magnet with pride at the Cloud Gate sculpture (often referred to as "The Bean") in Chicago!

We can't wait to see where True To Tech magnets and decals show up next!

Watch a video about where are you true

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.

Last month we asked the following trivia question: 

Tennessee Polytechnic Institute was founded in 1915, and the first 50 students to enroll in the industrial arts program helped construct its academic building in 1916. Every student at TPI was expected to complete five hours of what each week? (Hint: two words) 

The answer was practical work. Congratulations to Benjamim Louchart, `94 business management, who guessed correctly and won some Tech SWAG. Check out the story below to learn more about Tech's practical work requirement. 

And now for this month's question: 

The Summer Olympics are underway in Tokyo, Japan! In what year did a Tennessee Tech student carry the Olympic torch?

Monthly trivia questions in The Alumnus are designed to test your knowledge of all things Tech! 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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Culture of "practical work" at Tennessee Tech remains

A black and white photo with a group of gentlemen standing around a workbench with 20s cars behind them.

From the beginning, Tech's curriculum has included practical work. In the early years of Dixie College and Tennessee Polytechnic Institute, students worked in the school garden and kitchen, growing and canning their own food. They helped build the campus's first halls and maintain the grounds. They prepared to be rural citizens skilled in industry and agriculture. Page 12 of Tech's first first catalog outlined this requirement: "Five hours a week of practical work may be required of all students. In this way, living expenses can be reduced and dormitories and campus kept in attractive condition."

When TPI opened in 1916, it was comprised of only three small buildings located in a daisy field: the Administration Building, East Hall and West Hall. Tech needed a shop for its industrial arts department, and about 50 practical work students who were registered for courses in the industrial arts department immediately began to construct the Old Wooden Shop Building. Unfortunately, the Old Wooden Shop Building was destroyed by fire in 1935, but practical work remained an important part of Tech's culture.

While today's students have more options than in 1916, many do continue the practical work of their predecessors. Whether through a co-op, service learning or the hands-on study Tech is known for, students continue to gain real-life experience in the value of practical work, both in and out of the classroom.

Practical Work: 100 Years of Dixie College & Tennessee Tech University, edited by Robert R. Bell, W. Calvin Dickinson, Susan A. Elkins and Laura E. Clemons, 2009. 
The Story of Tennessee Tech, Austin Wheeler Smith, 1957.

A purple and gold graphic reading "donor spotlight."

A group of people in lab coats working in an electrical engineering laboratory.

The Terracon Foundation recently announced a grant for Tennessee Tech to support students pursuing a degree in one of the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) fields. This grant will be used to establish the Terracon Foundation Annual STEAM Scholarship for Diversity and Inclusion and will be awarded to students representing diverse populations.

The Terracon Scholarship awards one scholarship to each ethnic population represented at Tech: American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian, Black/African American, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, Hispanic and White.

read full story

Archives with Atkinson Graphic

Yearbooks and Tech items on a bookshelf.

The Eagle is online!

This summer, Tech Archives had yearbooks dating from 1926 to 2003 digitized and made text searchable. As mentioned in a previous Archives with Atkinson, scanning is time consuming and tedious. As a result, Archives used a vendor for the physical scanning, while cataloging the yearbooks was performed in house. The work performed by the qualified vendor sped up the digitization process and expedited making the yearbooks available to you!

Megan's blog includes step by step instructions for how to access a yearbook online. Click the link below to learn more.

University Archivist Megan Atkinson, Assistant Archivist Hannah O'Daniel McCallon 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 how to view the digitized eagle yearbooks online

view university archives' digital collections

learn more about archives and special collections

Follow Tech Archives on Facebook

Class Notes

Marcie Ackerman, `03 journalism, was named assistant director of the Upper Cumberland Development District's Planning and Community Development department. Read more.

Gail Vaughn Ashworth, `77 music education and `79 M.A., has been named 2021 Best of the Bar Lifetime Achievement winner. Read more.

Ardo Ba, `09 electrical engineering, was named the new Oak Ridge electric director. Read more.

Renee Cantrell, `98 early childhood education and `09 M.A., is the new principal at Capshaw Elementary School in Cookeville. Read more.

Daniel Cook, `04 secondary education and `06 M.A., is the new principal at Macon County High School. Read more.

Brandon Dowdy, `06 wildlife and fisheries science, was featured in an article in the Hendersonville Standard. Dowdy is the host of the Southern Woods & Waters television show. Read more.

Leslie Eldridge, `11 M.A., has been named the new Career and Technical Education Program Supervisor for the Putnam County School System. Read more.

Donald Elledge, `71 political science, retired last month after 16 years as the seventh judicial district circuit court judge serving Anderson County, Tennessee. Read more.

Dale Flatt, `87 health and physical education and `17 M.A., is the new head football coach at Livingston Academy. Read more.

Matt Geer, `17 exercise science, physical education and wellness, is the interim head women's volleyball coach at Webber International University in Babson Park, Florida. Read more.

Chuck Hoskins, `79 physical education, was recently inducted into the East Tennessee Baseball Coach Hall of Fame. Read more.

Erin Howard, `03 foreign language, was named Associate Dean of Global Learning at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. Read more.

Ray Alton Jones, `63 electrical engineering, received the William C. Jordan Award for excellence in electrical safety from the IEEE/IAS. Jones is an internationally-recognized expert in electrical industrial safety and retired from the DuPont Company after a 35-year career.

Andy Landers, `74 health and physical education and `75 M.A., will be inducted into the University of Georgia's 2021 Circle of Honor. Read more.

Becky Magura, `80 curriculum and instruction and `81 M.A., has been named President and CEO of Nashville Public Television. Magura previously served as president and CEO of WCTE in Cookeville. Read more.

Kelsey Meadows, `17 agriculture, received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree from Lincoln Memorial University. Read more.

Michael "Patrick" O'Hagan, `14 M.A., was featured in a Chattanooga Times Free Press article titled "Rising Star: Marion County native Patrick O'Hagan returns home to help residents find careers." Read more.

Shannon Pirtle, `97 music and `04 M.A., has been named the Putnam County School System's new Virtual Instruction to Accentuate Learning (VITAL) principal. Read more.

Nadia Saint-Louis, `07 secondary education and `Ed.S., is the new principal at North Little Rock High School. Read more.

Randall Savely, `05 professional studies, was named co-executive director of the South Carolina Press Association. Read more.

Darrell Scarlett, `84 business management, is the new secretary for the Tennessee Judicial Conference. The TJC is comprised of Tennessee's state court judges, and Scarlett serves Rutherford and Cannon counties in the 16th judicial district. Read more.

Nicholas Solomon, `02 special education, was named principal of Franklin High School in Franklin, New Jersey. Read more.

Arnetta Thompson, `90 secondary education, will serve as the next superintendent of the Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System in Muskegon, Michigan. Read more.

Penny Thompson, `00 M.A. and `03 Ed.S., was recently profiled in the Wilson Post in an article titled "Woman of Wilson." Thompson currently serves in the Lebanon Special School District's central office as Instructional Coordinator and Pre-K Director. Read more.

Tom Tipps, `83 computer science, achieved a lifelong dream when he competed on Jeopardy! this month. The episode aired on July 9 with Sanjay Gupta as the guest host.

Don Viar, `92 business management and `94 MBA, was featured in an article about EpiOn, a Tennessee IT company where Viar serves as the managing partner. EpiOn was selected as one of the technology industry's top-performing providers of managed services, and Viar accepted the award on behalf of his team. Read more.

Rhiannon Wilson, `07 Ed.S., is the new principal at Ivanetta H. Davis Early Learning Center in Nashville. Read more.

Diana Wood, `93 elementary education and `10 M.A., has been chosen as the new Pre-K - 4th Grade Instructional Supervisor for the Putnam County School System. Read more.

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

20% off diploma frames through July 28

Free shipping on online orders of $75 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

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