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September 2021  

Tennessee Tech University breaks ground on new $62M engineering building

A group of people with purple hard hats break ground on the new engineering building.

Tennessee Tech University broke ground on its new $62 million engineering building on Friday, Sept. 10, celebrating the history, legacy and future of the university's flagship engineering programs and showing appreciation for donors and state support.

The 100,000-square-foot Ashraf Islam Engineering Building will anchor Tennessee Tech's engineering corridor and fuse innovation, smart building technology and a living water laboratory to foster interdisciplinary and collaborative learning while inspiring new generations of engineers.

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ROTC 9/11 Memorial Stair Run held at Tucker Stadium

A portrait of ROTC students running up the stairs of Tucker Stadium. The student in front is carrying an American Flag.

Twenty years following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Tennessee Tech University's ROTC Golden Eagle Battalion gathered with members of the campus community to honor the lives lost that day. The event was one of several activities on the first home football game day dedicated to the memory of the lost, while also recognizing military members, first responders and health care workers.

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Derryberry Hall cupola to be replaced this fall

A photo of the weather- and time-worn cupola atop Derryberry Hall.

Stories of eagles gone missing and landing on Tennessee Tech's campus are legendary, but it isn't mischief that will draw the iconic eagle down from the top of Derryberry Hall this fall.

Work has begun on the Derryberry Hall roofing project that will bring with it a new cupola where Tech's famous golden eagle has been perched for more than 50 years.

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Tennessee Tech asks alumni, where are you True?

Billy Lewis stands with his 4 years True To Tech magnet in front of LeConte Lodge.

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!

True To Tech recognizes donors who make a gift of any amount to 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.

Billy Lewis, `82 mechanical engineering, showed his True To Tech pride in front of LeConte Lodge in Gatlinburg, Tennessee! LeConte Lodge is located at 6,593 feet above sea level. We wonder if any True To Tech magnets or decals have been at a higher elevation...?

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

We can't wait to see where Tech Pride shows up next!

A collage of photos around Maryland with a 35 year True to Tech magnet. The center photo is of Marilyn and Michael Garnto.

Michael Garnto, `83 industrial technology, and Marilyn Rockovich Garnto, `82 psychology, are 35 years True To Tech. They recently showed their Tech Pride as they traveled around Maryland! Thank you, Michael and Marilyn, for your 35-year support of Tennessee Tech!

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:  

On Sept. 10, Tech broke ground on the Ashraf Islam Engineering Building, the first new engineering building on campus since Prescott Hall was completed 50 years ago. What was the name of the first engineering building on campus? 

There were several possible answers to this question. Lewis Hall was constructed in 1920 and was originally known as the Engineering and Industrial Arts Shop. It was later renamed Lewis Hall in honor of William H. Lewis, chairperson of the Department of Industrial Arts. Henderson Hall was the first building to officially be called "the Engineering Building." Constructed in 1931, Henderson Hall honors James Manson Henderson, the first director of the School of Engineering. It was originally named the Industrial Arts Building but was designated "the Engineering Building" in 1945. Today, Henderson Hall is home to the College of Arts and Sciences and the Departments of English and History. 

Congratulations to Gwenette Gaddis, `94 M.A English, who won some Tech SWAG!

And now for this month's question:

Which Tennessee Tech building is named for a former department chair and science instructor who also served as a coroner in the 1930s? (Creepy fun fact: He actually performed some examinations on corpses in his Tech lab!)

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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A purple graphic with Friends Remembered and doves in gold

A portrait of Calvin Dickinson.

Tennessee Tech History Professor Michael Birdwell shared fond memories of his colleague and friend, William Calvin Dickinson, in the following article published in the Herald-Citizen on Aug. 31:

Eternally youthful in attitude, infinitely curious about many things, and gracious to a fault, Dr. William Calvin Dickinson died peacefully in his home on Aug. 30, almost four months to the day after his wife Charlene shuffled off this mortal coil. The two of them lived life to the fullest; they loved to travel and to entertain.

Dickinson graduated with his bachelor's and master's degrees from Baylor and completed his doctorate at UNC Chapel Hill. He began his academic career as a scholar of English History and published his first book (based on his dissertation) on the career of Sidney Godolphin, the first Lord of the Treasury. He initially taught at Chowan College before moving to Cookeville in 1973.

At Tech, Dickinson earned a reputation as a beloved lecturer, gifted scholar and mentor to his students. He earned the Outstanding Teaching Award among many other honors. Researching English history at Tech proved more difficult as the years passed and Calvin turned his attention to local history. Together with Homer Kemp of the English Department, they created the Upper Cumberland Institute to conduct research into the history and culture of the plateau region of Kentucky and Tennessee. Dickinson and Kemp worked together to add materials to enrich the Tech Archives and produced a book based on the architectural surveys for the Tennessee Historical Commission entitled "Upper Cumberland Historic Architecture."

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A photo of Don and Carole Jackson.

Donald "Don" Brooks Jackson, `69 music education, passed away on Aug. 30. In 2010, Jackson received Tech's Outstanding Alumnus Award from the College of Education, and a portion of the 2010 awards press release about Jackson is below. We thank his good friend, Paul Shirley, `67 secondary education, for nominating him for the award and for sharing stories of their decades long-friendship.

What do Placido Domingo, the Vienna Boys Choir, Brenda Lee and the London Symphony Orchestra have in common? Well, it's none other than Tennessee Tech music education alumnus Don Jackson.

Jackson studied conducting at Tech under James Wattenbarger and upon graduation, became Hendersonville Junior High's band director for 10 years. He then took a position with Iliad, a Nashville recording and music production studio. That opened the door to a job that extended to 2003, when Iliad moved to New York City. During his tenure at Iliad, Jackson conducted 48 major orchestral albums, all recorded with world-class orchestras: the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Don's full outstanding alumni Story from 2010

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A snapshot of Curtiss Jolley

Curtiss Eugene Jolley, passed away on Aug. 20, 2021, in Concord, Massachusetts.

Curtiss was born on Nov. 29, 1929, in Spring City, Tennessee, and graduated from Spring City High School in 1949. While working for the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Rockwood, his National Guard unit was activated, and he joined the U.S. Army, serving from September 1950 until his honorable discharge as first lieutenant in August 1956. He completed The Infantry School in Fort Benning, Georgia, in December 1952 and married Katy Lou Womack of Spring City that same month.

Following his Army service, Curtiss attended Tennessee Tech and graduated in 1957 with a degree in electrical engineering, becoming the first in his family to attend a university. He joined DuPont de Nemours, Inc. after graduation and worked his entire career for DuPont until his retirement in 1992.

According to his daughter, Karen Jolley-Gates, Curtiss always said his Tech education was life-changing. It allowed him to be the first member of his family to pursue a career in industry, and he often spoke fondly of his Tech courses and professors.

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Friends Remembered honors the memories of the Tennessee Tech alumni and friends we have lost. If you would like to include someone in Friends Remembered, please email

A purple and gold graphic reading "donor spotlight."

Reece family's ties to Upper Cumberland, belief in farming inspire gift to Tennessee Tech School of Agriculture 

A photo of the red and black side by side vehicle being driven by a gentleman on the Oakley Farm.

Joyce Glasscock Reece says her family's history with the Upper Cumberland area dates back several hundred years. When she and her son, Edward, decided to sell their Cookeville home and use the proceeds to help others, Tennessee Tech was the first place that came to mind.

"We hope this gift supports the community and Tech's School of Agriculture because we think this is a place that can grow to accommodate the excellence that has already been established here," said Edward. "Tech can continue to produce agriculture leaders of the future."

Joyce enjoyed a successful career as a real estate broker and spent the majority of her later years in Ohio. Edward is professor and chief of the division of adult plastic surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Neither Joyce nor Edward attended Tech, but they still consider this area home and wanted to give back to a university that gives so much to the people of the Upper Cumberland. Because of their family's background and strong belief in farming, they chose to designate their gift to Tech's College of Agriculture and Human Ecology.

Photo top left: Senior agriculture major Rhett Willis on the School of Agriculture's new vehicle. A portion of the Reeces' gift was used to purchase the vehicle which allows students to use satellites to lay out field grids and set boundaries of crop land. 

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Archives with Atkinson Graphic

A photo of the Cookeville Mall circa 1977.

In this month's Archives with Atkinson, Megan takes us on a walk down memory lane with a special blog about the Cookeville Mall. So many Tech alumni have fond memories of the Mouse Trap, Pirate's Cove, Fun Tunnel and more! 

Planning for the Cookeville Mall began three years prior to its opening, and construction began in late 1976. The Cookeville Mall's grand opening occurred Oct. 5-7, 1977, and the event sparked a huge celebration in the Cookeville area, with three days of special opening events. 

Click the link below to read Megan's full blog post titled "Cookeville Mall Revisited" and to see additional photos.

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 Cookeville mall revisited blog

view university archives' digital collections

learn more about archives and special collections

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Class Notes

Haywood Barry, `59 industrial management, will retire effective Dec. 31 as the General Sessions Division II judge in Wilson County, TN, after nearly five decades in courtrooms and public service. Read more.

Sherry Browder, `88 civil engineering, was profiled in the Oak Ridger in an article titled "DOE has had a big impact on the area, the state — and her life." Read more.

Brian Copenhaver, '96 computer science, was named chief technology officer at FIntegrate Technology. Read more.

Katie Dillon, `14 agriculture, was featured in The Wilson Post in an article titled "Woman of Wilson: Katie Dillon." Read more.

Jeffrey Emge, `83 music education, was inducted into the Halls High Alumni Association Hall of Fame on Sept. 18 at its annual dinner. Read more.

Chester Goad, `98 secondary education and `02 M.A., was elected to the board of the International Association on Higher Education and Disability. Goad is the director of Tennessee Tech's Accessible Education Center. Read more.

Vant Hardaway, `07 Ed.S., was featured in the Daily Post Athenian in an article titled "Museum Matters: Vant Hardaway." Last month, the McMinn County Living Heritage Museum History for Lunch series featured Hardaway, and he discussed his life and accomplishments growing up in Athens, TN. Read more.

Leann Long, `06 mathematics, received the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Long is an associate professor at UAB. Read more.

Amanda Loshbough, `18 English, has joined the Herald-Citizen newsroom. Read more.

Jeremy Martin, `97 music, had some of his arrangements nominated for a Mid-America EMMY Award for his work with the United States Air Force Band of Mid-America. 

Tate McMillan, `10 exercise science, physical education and wellness, is the new Pulaski High School varsity baseball coach in Pulaski, WI. 

Karen Petty, `91 health and physical education, `95 M.A. and `05 Ed.S., announced her intent to seek election to the Twin Lakes Telephone Cooperative Board of Directors. Read more.

J.B. Smiley has entered the Democratic race for Tennessee Governor. Smiley attended Tennessee Tech from 2005-08 and played basketball for the Golden Eagles. Read more.

Diane Vaughan, `82 accounting, retired this month from Public Accounting where she was a senior tax manager. She worked as a CPA for 40 years in governmental auditing, private industry and public accounting and was CFO for a non-profit organization.

Taylor Waldrop, `18 exercise science, physical education and wellness, is the new assistant softball coach at Elon University in North Carolina. 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! 

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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 open Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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