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February 2022  

Alumni and friends invited to Wings Up Weekend April 8-10

A graphic with comic book Awesome giving the wings up that reads Wings Up Weekend April 8-10, 2022

There is something for everyone at Wings Up Weekend! Scheduled for April 8-10, Wings Up Weekend is a celebration of all things purple and gold. There will be softball games, Backdoor Playhouse productions, a Purple and Gold football scrimmage, Legacy Gala, Window on the World, a golf outing and much more!

On Saturday, April 9, the Crawford Alumni Center will host a NASA Celebration Event where you can hear the stories and experiences of Tech alumni and faculty who worked for NASA. You don't want to miss this!

Click the link below to view the full schedule of events. We hope to see you on campus in April. Wings Up!

Fourth annual "I Heart Tech Students" initiative puts students first

I Heart Tech Students

The fourth annual "I Heart Tech Students" fundraising initiative kicked off on Feb. 14, and it's bigger than ever this year! This year's initiative highlights more than 15 areas on campus. Whether you have a heart for food insecurity, veterans, student-athletes or simply want to support students in the department you majored in, there's a cause for you.

Any gift of any amount to any area on campus counts, so please help us make this year's "I Heart Tech Students" initiative the best one yet! Click the link below to learn more.

learn more and make a gift

Tech alumnus Carter Crutchfield goes from OVC champ to Super Bowl LVI success

Football players and staff stand and talk on the field

Tennessee Tech congratulates Carter Crutchfield, `13 marketing, on the Los Angeles Rams Super Bowl win! Crutchfield currently serves as an assistant for LA Rams head coach Sean McVay. 

In 2011, Crutchfield was a sophomore member of the Tennessee Tech football team that won the Ohio Valley Conference championship.

Crutchfield isn't the first Tennessee Tech connection to the Super Bowl. Lonnie Warwick played for the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV against the Kansas City Chiefs and Jim Youngblood for the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XIV against the Steelers.

It's proof that anyone can go from Tennessee Tech to working at the highest levels in their career fields. To support the future of Tech Football, make a gift to the Football Program or the Football Operations Center. And if you make your gift by March 28, it will count in this year's I Heart Tech Students fundraising total!

read more

learn more about the football operations center

Derryberry Hall gets new cupola

a drone photo of the new cupola from above

An iconic piece of architecture returned to campus this week. A new cupola now sits atop Derryberry Hall and is home to the university's legendary golden eagle.

In August, work began on the Derryberry Hall roofing project that brought with it a new cupola where Tech's famous golden eagle has been perched for more than 50 years. The old cupola and the eagle that sat atop it were removed from the building in mid-October. Despite being repainted regularly, the wood that made up the old cupola and clock tower were in need of replacement and could no longer be repainted. The aluminum materials of the new structure will have a longer lifespan.

read more

watch video of cupola installation

Tennessee Tech celebrates Black History Month

a gold image that reads "black history month" in black

Each February, Tennessee Tech celebrates Black History Month with events across campus designed to facilitate constructive conversations about the importance of diversity and to celebrate the contributions of African Americans to our university and society. Throughout the university's history, black students and administrators have continuously shown their resilience and determination to make positive strides in the campus community and beyond.

Allen sees opportunities for students in diversity initiative

a portrait of DeWayne Allen

During his time as a student at Tennessee Tech, DeWayne Allen, `99 industrial and manufacturing engineering, valued the education he was receiving and the lifelong friendships he was making.

In appreciation for all that Tech gave to him, Allen includes the university in his philanthropy in hopes of making a difference for future generations of underrepresented students. He gives to the Tennessee Tech Diversity Scholarship Fund to ensure that underrepresented students will have the opportunity to join the Tech family, regardless of their financial situation.

"I wanted to support this initiative because, frankly, Tech needed this effort to ensure that it meets its mission, vision and core principles for all students, particularly those of color and African-American descent," he said. "As someone who participated in various early DE&I (diversity, equity and inclusion) efforts as a student, it has always been a part of my plan to give back to things that directly support those efforts."

read more

Brown credits experience at Tech for preparing her to be a leader

a selife of Martia Brown

Martia Brown, `06 microbiology and immunology and `07 M.A., has combined her leadership skills and the education she received at Tennessee Tech to build a career she loves.

Currently, Brown is the assistant vice president for Enterprise Holdings in St. Louis, Missouri. She works closely with Enterprise rental operators located across 16 states in the north central part of the United States.

"Tech played a major role in my current career and the successes I have been a part of," she said. "Specifically, my leadership style and ability to connect and communicate with people were fostered during my graduate and undergraduate years at the university."

A key factor in her success, she says, is having a president and CEO that leads by example. Brown's boss is also a female and Brown says that seeing someone that looks like her and can help relate to being a mom, wife and career woman helps her continue working towards her next goal.

read more

Baines gives back with service on Intercultural Affairs Alumni Advisory Council and Alumni Association Board of Directors

a portrait of dontrell bainesDontrell Baines, `09 accounting, loved his time at Tennessee Tech so much that he decided to give back to his alma mater by serving on the Intercultural Affairs Alumni Council (MAAAC) and the Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Originally from Dover, Delaware, a full scholarship brought Baines to Tech. After graduation, he started his career as a staff accountant at the Intercontinental Exchange, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange. He is now a business transformation manager for Capgemini in Atlanta, Georgia. He specializes in training, optimization and implementation of BlackLine, an accounting software. He credits Tech for teaching him how to excel and how to prepare for an environment that is fast-paced, diverse and competitive.

"Tennessee Tech is a family that will change you for the better," said Baines. "It helped me grow into an adult who is ready for the world and teaches qualities needed for leadership."

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Costume Society of America adds Tech's Historic Costume Collection to its records

Colorful costumes on display

The Costume Society of America will soon add Tennessee Tech's Historic Costume Collection to their records! The Costume Society of America is the authority on all things related to historic costume and dress, so this is a significant achievement for the School of Human Ecology's collection.

The Cookeville History Museum recently partnered with Human Ecology and Hannah Upole, assistant professor of merchandising and design, to curate an exhibit titled "What We Were Wearing: A Timeline of Cookeville Fashions." The exhibit is on display at the Cookeville History Museum through April 16. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free. The exhibit is one of many events going on during Wings Up Weekend (April 8-10), so be sure to check out the full schedule.

Tech's Historic Costume Collection was featured in the 2021 edition of Gratitude

learn more about tech's historical costume collection

Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble celebrates 55 years 

A 1967 photo of the tuba ensemble seated with their instrumentsOn Saturday, April 16, the Crawford Alumni Center and Professor Winston Morris will host a Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble 55th Anniversary Celebration. The day kicks off with an open house in the R. Winston Morris Tuba Room in the Roaden University Center, followed by a tuba performance in the Bryan Fine Arts Building. The evening will conclude with a banquet (including full buffet) and a "late night hang" at Vinnie T's. 


Tennessee Tech alumnus nominated for Grammy

a portrait of Blanton Alspaugh holding a Grammy

Tennessee Tech University alumnus Blanton Alspaugh hopes to be in Las Vegas this spring when his name will be called as one of the nominees during the 64th annual Grammy Awards. He has been nominated with four others in the category of Producer's Award.

This is far from being Alspaugh's first nomination. The producer has been nominated a total of 25 other times and has won 11 of those in categories such as Best Classical Solo Vocal Album, Producer of the Year - Classical, Best Choral Performance and Best Opera Recording.

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Tennessee Tech director of bands emeritus inducted into National Band Association Hall of Fame

a photo of Joseph Hermann with a conductor's baton

When the National Band Association announced Joseph Hermann, Tennessee Tech University director of bands emeritus, as one of three people to be inducted into their Hall of Fame Distinguished Conductors this past December, the first thing Hermann felt was shock.

"It was an overwhelming thing," he said. "Including the three of us who were being added this year, there are 63 people in this hall of fame. The people on that list are just unbelievable, like John Philip Sousa: the March King, known for 'The Stars and Stripes Forever.' And then there's people like Edwin Franko Goldman, Karl King and Henry Fillmore - people who are really amazing. Then you look at this and hear that your name is going in there with them. It's just so unbelievable."

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Love letters offer glimpse into life on Tech's campus in the `50s 

The Hixsons's wedding portraitStephanie McQueen, `09 communication, recently discovered love letters written from her grandfather, Lynn Hixson, to her grandmother, Kathleen Moody Hixson. The letters, written while Lynn was a student at Tennessee Tech (then known as Tennessee Polytechnic Institute), are dated 1952, and several are even on TPI letterhead!

In 1952, Lynn was a student at TPI, while Kathleen was still in high school and lived in Chattanooga. In the letters, Lynn tells Kathleen that he and his friends liked to see how fast they could drive from Cookeville to Chattanooga.

Stephanie says it's funny for her family to imagine Lynn in those days. They knew Lynn as a responsible father and grandfather, not a love-sick, fast-car-driving college student!

Lynn and Kathleen married in 1954, just two years after the letters were written. Lynn lived on Dixie Avenue and was president of Tech's Industrial Arts Club. He even saved his Industrial Arts Club card! Stephanie discovered it with the letters.

The Crawford Alumni Center thanks Stephanie for sharing these letters with us - just in time forone of the scanned love letters from Lynn to Kathleen Valentine's Day - and for giving us a glimpse into the Tennessee Tech of the past.

We also shared the letters with University Archives so Tech's history can be preserved for future generations.

If you come across old letters or other Tech memorabilia, please consider sharing them with us. We love to learn more about Tech's history, and University Archivist Megan Atkinson says one of her favorite formats in the archives is old love letters. University Archives can preserve original materials using archival best practices, but if you prefer to keep the originals, we would still enjoy receiving a scanned copy. You can share as much or as little as you are comfortable with.

Last year, in honor of Valentine's Day, University Archives published a blog about the Charles Faulkner Bryan and Edith Bryan love letters. If this has inspired you to read more, check out that blog post and visit the University Archives website for more information about Tech's unique history.

Jilandra Williams Coffin and Kaelin Coffin named 2022 Golden Eagle Lovebirds

A photo of Jilandra and Kaelin holding each other and standing on a wooden bridge"Jilandra Williams Coffin and Kaelin Coffin have been named the 2022 winners of Tennessee Tech's annual Golden Eagle Lovebirds contest! Below is the story Jilandra shared with the Crawford Alumni Center. Some Tech SWAG is on its way to these lovebirds. Congrats, you two!

"Kaelin and I were introduced by a mutual friend at a Tennessee Tech Homecoming party. We talked briefly on and off after that. We had our first date at the Chili's on Interstate Drive when there was a power outage on campus. I was living in Maddux/McCord at the time, and Kaelin lived in Jobe. Our first official first date was on Valentine's Day 2017. Kaelin picked me up from my dorm room after his evening class and brought me flowers. He asked me to be his girlfriend a few weeks after that, and we have been together ever since! We were both active members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. I graduated summer 2009 with a degree in interdisciplinary studies-biology/psychology. Kaelin graduated in fall 2009 with a degree in exercise science and wellness. We were married on May 19, 2012. We have one daughter and another on the way this month!"

Each year, Tennessee Tech asks alumni who met their significant other on campus to share their Golden Eagle Lovebirds story. On Feb. 14, we randomly select one of the stories submitted to win some Tech SWAG. Thanks to everyone who participated this year!

previous winners

Dale Crawford Hensley shows Tech Pride in Costa Rica 

a selfie of Dale in the forestDale Crawford Hensley shows her Tennessee Tech pride in the rainforests of Costa Rica!

Dale is 20 years True To Tech and is the sponsor of the William G. Crawford and Lillian T. Crawford Endowed Scholarship, established in memory of her parents. Will Glen and Lillian met at Tech (then known as Tennessee Polytechnic Institute) in 1942. All three of the couple's children attended Tech and continue to support the university.

The Crawford Alumni Center encourages alumni and friends to share pictures of themselves wearing Tech shirts and hats or proudly displaying their True To Tech magnet or decal.

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. If you aren't a member of True To Tech but would like to learn more, click the link below.

Thank you, Dale, for being True To Tech and for showing your Tech Pride in Costa Rica!

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.

Annie White Marshall in 1956Last month we asked the following trivia question:  

Which dean wanted to ban kissing on campus?

The answer was Annie White Marshall, dean of women and art professor at Tech. She tried to ban kissing on campus in 1957 and as you can imagine, it didn't go over too well. The Oracle called the ban "contrary to the laws of human nature." Perhaps as a result of the ban, students began talking about going to the "submarine races," a code for couples who did not want to be disturbed. 

Charles Sullivan, `59 industrial management, guessed correctly and won some Tech SWAG! 

And now for this month's question: 

What actor, who was born and raised in Chattanooga, known for roles in the television series Hearts Afire, Will & Grace, and Call Me Kat, and beloved for his comical social media presence, has a close tie to Tennessee Tech? Hint: His father is a Tech alumnus. 

Photo Top Left: Dean Annie White Marshall
Photo Credit: 1957 Eagle Yearbook

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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Friends Remembered

A photo of Dr. Harris

Dr. John Wallace Harris passed away on Feb. 1, 2022.

Dr. Harris taught and mentored hundreds of students over his 49 years at Tech and spent his career serving others.

After receiving his bachelor's degree at Western Illinois University and his master's and doctorate from Indiana University, he moved to Cookeville in 1968. He was a professor of biology for 45 years and then served in the College of Interdisciplinary Studies for four years. He served for many years as the director of Tech's Honors Program and was awarded the Tennessee Academy of Science and Distinguished Service Award.

His community service included active membership in Toastmasters International and the Lions Club. While he was a 1991 Fulbright Scholar, he loved being known as a Chicago Cubs fan even more.

read full obituary

Dustin Pegram

Dustin Pegram, a current music major at Tennessee Tech, passed away on Feb. 4.

Dustin had a special love for the music of Bach. He was a gifted musician, excellent performer and a voracious student of jazz and improvisation. He was a member of the jazz ensemble Troubadours and Trouveres. He was also a history buff.

Dustin was the grandson of the late Dr. Wayne Pegram, a 1959 Tech graduate who served on Tech's faculty for 35 years as director of bands and director of the Music Education Program.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Tennessee Tech Jazz Program. Checks should be mailed to Tennessee Tech University, Campus Box 1915, Cookeville, TN 38505, or gifts can be made online at Please note the Jazz Program on the check or in the space provided on the online giving form.

full obituary

A photo of Rebecca Violet

Rebecca Violet, a current Tennessee Tech student and an administrative associate for the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, passed away on Feb. 2. Rebecca had worked in Curriculum & Instruction since 2013 and was pursuing a degree in exercise science.

Her colleagues say she was always a kind, welcoming face in Matthews-Daniel Hall.

"Faculty and students knew her well for her smile, contagious laugh and sweet disposition," said Jeremy Wendt, chair of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction and professor of Educational Technology. "Her attention to the needs of the students was always her first priority, regardless if they were education majors or not. She was also a lifelong learner and was recently working toward completing a degree in exercise science."

full obituary

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


Archives with Atkinson Graphic

A photo of President Derryberry in a vehicle

 University Archives recently digitized some reel film from the William Everett Derryberry collection. "Tennessee Technological University: A Prologue" discusses Tech's history and future at the time of its 50th anniversary. Archives has made this video and several others available for alumni to view on the University Archives YouTube Channel. Click the link below to view these videos.

In their May 2021 blog post, University Archives discussed utilizing vendors for digitization in the archives. Thanks to a professional digitization service in Atlanta, Georgia, recordings from William Everett Derryberry, William Brinker, Dave Johnson, the Upper Cumberland Institute, Tennessee Tech faculty, Putnam Countians and Charles Faulkner Bryan have been digitized. The audio assets contain veteran oral histories and local oral histories and interviews. The film assets document William Everett Derryberry's tenure as President of the University.

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. 

blog post and videos

view university archives' digital collections

learn more about archives and special collections

Follow Tech Archives on Facebook


Class Notes

Julie RuesewaldRenay Adams was inducted into the Gallatin High School Hall of Fame. Adams attended Tech from 1987-92 and was a member of the women's basketball team. Read more.

Michael Berger, `20 finance, was hired as a client specialist by the Trust Company of Tennessee and will be based in the firm's Knoxville office. He is currently studying to become a Chartered Financial Analyst. Read more.

Jon Callies, `89 mechanical engineering, has been named president of DENSO Manufacturing North Carolina.

Chris Cochran, `01 accounting, was featured in the Nashville Business Journal in an article titled "The Boss: Chris Cochran learned the value of a dollar at age 13." Read more.

Lloyd E. "Pete" Fleming, `66 English and `68 M.A., wrote "Duluth First United Methodist Church, A Sesquicentennial History, 1871-2021." Fleming worked on the project for three years, and it was published in connection with the church's sesquicentennial event on Sept. 19, 2021.

Regina Hall, `85 health and physical education, is the new pastor at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Read more.

Randal Harrell, `07 finance and `10 MBA, has been appointed market president at Synovus Bank. Read more.

Ina Maxwell, `89 elementary education, `95 M.A. and `07 Ph.D., announced her retirement effective June 30. She currently serves as the director of schools for the Cumberland County Board of Education. Read more.

Vincent Mazzei, `85 mechanical engineering, was promoted to vice president at CROFT & Associates, Inc. Read more.

Brandon Perry, `16 civil engineering, received a Student Innovation Fellowship from Thornton Tomasetti Foundation to fund a research project that furthers innovation in structural engineering and applied mechanics. Perry is a Ph.D. student in Colorado State University's Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Read more.

Julie Ruesewald, `96 business management, received the Business Woman of the Year Award, presented by the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce. Ruesewald owns two local businesses, The Basement Marketplace and Merit Insurance Agency.

Kay Sanborn, `82 civil engineering, was recently featured in an American Water Works Association Member Spotlight article. She is the executive director of AWWA Kentucky/Tennessee Section.

La'Ken Shattuck, `17 English and `18 political science, has been named field representative in the Chattanooga office for Senator Bill Hagerty. Read more.

Roy West, `13 political science and `15 MBA, is the new chief of staff for State Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr. with the Tennessee Treasury. Read more.

PHOTO TOP LEFT: Julie Ruesewald with 2021 Business Woman of the Year Award  

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

Tech apparel

The new Tennessee Tech University Spirit Shop is now open! Check out the bookstore's new website featuring additional apparel, accessories and Tech-themed items for students and alumni. And even more items will be added in the coming months, so check back often! 

The original bookstore website is still available and will focus mainly on textbooks and school supplies, while the Spirit Shop focuses more on Tech-themed gear.

The University Bookstore is open Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


The Crawford Alumni Center


Giving to Tennessee Tech