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January 2022  

Alumni Association announces award winners for 2022

Four golden eagle head awards sit on a table with a purple table cloth that reads "Alumni Association Tennessee Tech"

The Tennessee Tech Alumni Association is pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Alumni Awards.

Outstanding Young Alumnus Award
Ron Johnson, `08 English

Outstanding Service Award
Frank Omiyale, `14 marketing

Outstanding Philanthropy Award
Elizabeth Hendrix, `64 administration and supervision

Distinguished Alumna Award
Ellen Neufeldt, `91 marketing

The 2022 award winners will be honored at an Evening of Excellence on Homecoming. (Homecoming date TBA.)

view previous winners

Fourth annual "I Heart Tech Students" fundraising initiative highlights more than 20 areas on campus

I Heart Tech Students

The fourth annual "I Heart Tech Students" initiative kicks off on Feb. 14, and this year's fundraising event is bigger than ever!

This year, we are highlighting more than 20 areas on campus that need your support. Whether you have a heart for food insecurity, veterans, student-athletes or simply want to help students in the department you majored in, there's a cause for you!

Watch Tech's social media and your inbox on Feb. 14 for more information about how you can be a part of a fundraising initiative that puts students first.

Any gift of any amount to any area on campus counts, so please, show your heart for Tech students on Feb. 14.

Tennessee Tech announces Harper Scholars Program for female engineering students

A student wearing a purple hard hat observes a clear liquid in a graduated cylinder.

A new scholarship will allow Tennessee Tech to recruit the best and brightest female engineering students.

The Trudy A. Harper Engineering Scholarship will be awarded to students majoring in electrical engineering, computer engineering or mechanical engineering. Incoming freshmen must have a 3.75 high school GPA and a 27 ACT composite score, and preference will be given to female students from Tennessee. The scholarship may be renewed for up to eight semesters.

Recipients of the scholarship will be known as "Harper Scholars" and will have the opportunity each semester to meet with the Tech alumna who established the scholarship. The Trudy A. Harper Engineering Scholarship will be available beginning Fall 2022.

Golden Eagle football alumni look to honor Don Wade with memorial in Football Operations Center

A black and white photo of Don Wade.

Ever since Tennessee Tech announced plans for a Football Operations Center, dozens of former players have stepped forward to say, "I want to be a part of this."

One of those former players is Sam Smith, `83 geology. When Smith saw that the new facility included opportunities to name spaces both inside and outside, he knew he wanted to do something to honor Don Wade. Wade served as Tech's head football coach from 1968 to 1982, and as athletic director from 1974 to 1980.

"In my four years at Tech, I learned that Coach Wade was genuine," said Smith. "He was tough, sarcastically funny, loyal and giving - albeit tough love. Coach Wade's impact continues to influence my life today."

Smith began making phone calls to former teammates, and soon he had organized a group of dedicated football alumni who plan to raise $500,000 for a Don Wade Memorial inside the Football Operations Center.

read more

Learn more about the football operations center

Alumni who worked for NASA invited to NASA Celebration Event

An image of the moon on a black field. It reads NASA Celebration Event. There is a small drawing of Awesome Eagle in a space helmet.

Save the date! All Tennessee Tech alumni who worked for NASA are invited to a NASA Celebration event during Wings Up Weekend, April 8 and 9. There will also be a virtual option on April 14.

If you'd like to submit your NASA story and/or if you are interested in attending the event, please submit the form below! And help us spread the word. If you know a Tech alum who worked for NASA, please make sure they know about this event, and make sure we know about them!

Wings Up Weekend is a celebration of all things purple and gold, with a weekend full of events and something for everyone. This year's Wings Up Weekend will be April 8-10. As events are announced, they will be added to the Crawford Alumni Center Events webpage.

Tech alumni and friends invited to explore Utah this summer

A photo of a sandstone arch in Arches National Park.

Are you ready to travel in 2022?!

All Tennessee Tech alumni and friends are invited to join us on a seven-day adventure to explore Utah's Mighty National Parks this summer! The trip will depart on June 5, 2022, and we will explore Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, Dead Horse Point State Park, Monument Valley and much more! Visit the Golden Eagle Travel website to learn more, view a brochure, see the full itinerary or sign up! Wings Up Across America!

This trip is in partnership with Premier World Discovery.

visit golden eagle travel website

Alumni invited to share their Tennessee Tech love story

Two purple lovebirds

Did you and your significant other meet at Tennessee Tech?

Submit your Golden Eagle Lovebirds story for a chance to win some Tech SWAG and be featured on the Golden Eagle Lovebirds website!

On Valentine's Day (Feb. 14), we will randomly select one entry to win some great Tech prizes!

Click the link below to enter.

submit your golden eagle lovebirds story

view previous winners

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:  

One of the newest Tech traditions, Lighting the Quad, is an annual event to celebrate the holiday season. The historic Quad is decorated with hundreds of lights, which are turned on every evening during the month of December. In what year did this Tech holiday tradition begin? 

The correct answer was 2017. Congratulations to Robert Gann, `86 computer science, who was selected for some Tech SWAG! 

And now for this month's question, which was actually submitted by Tennessee Tech alumnus Eugene Wilmore, `58 industrial management! Thank you, Mr. Wilmore, for following our trivia section each month and for sharing this bit of trivia with us.

Which dean wanted to ban kissing on campus? (Hint: Mr. Wilmore's graduation year.)

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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Tech Took Us There

Pediatric cardiologist at Stanford credits alma mater Tennessee Tech for giving him an opportunity

A photo of Tom Collins

Tom Collins, `98 chemistry, says a person with his background is more likely to move to the moon than become a pediatric cardiologist at Stanford's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. But that's exactly what he did, and he credits Tennessee Tech for giving him the opportunity.

Collins grew up in Morgan County, one of the perennially lowest-income, least educated counties in Tennessee. His father dropped out of high school, and his mother worked at a local prison.

"I don't know that it ever occurred to me that guys like me, from where I'm from, aren't supposed to do the things that I've done," said Collins. "But here I am, a doctor on the faculty at Stanford."

Now, Collins has chosen to give back to his alma mater. He and his wife, Missy, established the Future Leader in Healthcare Scholarship for students majoring in a healthcare field. Collins says he wants students considering Tech to know that they can do anything and go anywhere with a Tech education.

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.

read more

more tech took us there stories

Donor Spotlight

Geoprofessional community establishes scholarship in memory of Tennessee Tech alumnus Ed Wilson

A picture of Mr. Wilson

For more than 40 years, L. Edward ("Ed") Wilson, P.E. was a colleague, mentor, leader and friend to many within the geoprofessional community. As a thank you to Wilson and to encourage the next generation of young earth sciences and civil engineering geoprofessionals, the Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA), with support from Wilson's family, friends and colleagues, established the L. Edward Wilson Endowed Scholarship at Tennessee Tech.

GBA credits the scholarship tribute concept to Dr. Gary Raba, a longtime GBA member and close friend to Wilson.

"Many of us owe a lot to Ed," said Raba. "Ed was about sharing his success and his challenges. He was always available and generously shared his experiences and regularly provided service. Regardless of the need, Ed was always a valuable and willing resource."

read more

more development news stories

Friends Remembered

A photo of Tracy Luna

Tracy Monroe Luna passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021, at the age of 48 after a 17 month battle with pancreatic cancer. He first attended college at Tennessee Tech University, where he played with the internationally-known Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble (TTTE), directed by Mr. Winston Morris. He then returned to Tech to complete his masters.

Tech's School of music will host a free concert to celebrate the life and music of Tracy M. Luna on Saturday, Feb. 19. For those able to join in person, please enjoy a casual reception starting at 6 p.m. and a concert at 7 p.m. in Wattenbarger Auditorium in Bryan Fine Arts Building. The concert will also be livestreamed and will highlight groups that were particularly important to Tracy.

read full obituary

Cindy Mathis

Cynthia "Cindy" Mathis passed away on January 2, 2022.

Cindy graduated from Tech in 2012 with a degree in business management and worked at Tennessee Tech for more than 30 years. She enjoyed reading, traveling with friends, playing dominoes, sewing and spending time with her family.

Most recently she served as a financial associate in Tech's School of Agriculture. Cindy, along with College of Agriculture and Human Ecology (CAHE) colleagues Tawnya Robinson-Moss and Lisa Rice, formed a college team known as "TLC" -- a trio of Tech employees who took pride in helping others. The CAHE team says they will always cherish and remember their "C."

A snapshot of Dr. Neufeldt

Dr. Harvey Neufeldt passed away on December 28, 2021, at the age of 85.

After receiving his Ph.D. in history from Michigan State University, Harvey and his family moved to Cookeville, where he was a professor in the College of Education at Tennessee Tech for almost 40 years.

Harvey was always an avid researcher and co-authored many books which not only delved into subjects that helped shape his life but also those that were deeply important to him such as educational equity, his Mennonite heritage and Tennessee Tech's institutional history. In honor of Tech's 75th anniversary in 1991, Harvey co-authored The Search for Identify: A History of Tennessee Technological University, 1915-1985 (Neufeldt & Dickinson, 1991).

In lieu of flowers, the family invites friends of Harvey to make a contribution in his memory to the Neufeldt Electrical Engineering Scholarship or the Phi Delta Kappa Neufeldt Scholarship Endowment at Tennessee Tech.

full obituary

Dr. Throckmorton

Dr. H. Bruce Throckmorton passed away on January 5, 2022, at the age of 85.

Dr. Throckmorton was a kind, sincere and giving person who loved his family, friends, and community. Having served College of Business students and the university for 47 years, Dr. Throckmorton was passionate about teaching, especially in areas related to macroeconomics, money and banking, and financial institutions. He was a huge Golden Eagles fan, and his service to the community was exemplary and included leadership roles in the Cookeville Kiwanis Club.

Dr. Throckmorton’s generosity extended to his college, and many have enjoyed teaching and learning in the Virginia and Bruce Throckmorton classroom.  

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 monotone red 50 cent stamp from Hong Kong featuring Queen Elizabeth II

From Ben Franklin, to Beethoven, to the Belgian King Baudouin and more, see how stamps memorialize some of the world's most important figures in our newest exhibit "Around the World in 40 Stamps."

Invented by Sir Rowland of England in 1840, stamps were first made to verify that mail sent to someone had already been paid for by an addressor. The first stamp, known as the Penny Black, depicted a portrait bust of England's reigning monarch at the time, Queen Victoria. As stamp usage began to spread across the world, other countries continued the trend of putting their leaders on stamps, over time causing them to evolve from a simple postage marker to a means of communication and a symbol of a country's national pride.

A sample of the project, curated by intern Leah Davis, can be viewed on the second floor of Tech's Volpe Library, while the project can be viewed in its entirety online.

This project was made possible by the Eleanor and Ora Eads Collection and Internship Fund.

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. 

around the world in 40 stamps online exhibit

view university archives' digital collections

learn more about archives and special collections

Follow Tech Archives on Facebook


Class Notes

Charity Bowie, `12 secondary education, was named Middle School Teacher of the Year. She teaches English language arts at Upperman Middle School in Baxter, Tennessee. Read more.

Hollie Childress, `05 human ecology, was named Teacher of the Year at Monterey High School in Monterey, Tennessee.

Amy Elliott, `09 mechanical engineering, was named one of Knoxville's 40 under 40. Read more.

Charlotte Farmer, `97 chemical engineering, was named senior vice president and chief operating officer of Underwriters Laboratories. Read more.

Barbara Fenlon, `21 interdisciplinary studies, was featured in a Tennessee Tech article titled "Fall graduate experiences Tech as parent, employee, student and now graduate." On Dec. 17, 2021, Fenlon finished a degree she started nearly 50 years ago. Read more.

Max Geary, `67 accounting, announced the relocation of his accounting firm, Max Geary, CPA, PLLC, to the offices of Stone, Rudolph & Henry, CPAs, PLC in Brentwood. Read more.

Tom Grooms, `70 secondary education, released his latest book titled The Musician's Song. Read more.

Taylor Hennigan, `13 exercise science, physical education and wellness, was named the new head football coach at Cookeville High School. Read more.

Taylor Gore Key, `14 human ecology, was named High School Teacher of the Year. She is the family and consumer sciences teacher for grades 9-12 at Upperman High School in Baxter, Tennessee. Read more.

Craig LeFevre, `96 journalism and `03 MBA, was named station manager for WCTE PBS in Cookeville. Read more.

Jeff Lashlee, `85 civil engineering, is the newest member of the Commonwealth Engineers Inc. project management team. Read more.

Usha Munukutla-Parker, `90 electrical engineering, has been promoted to partner at Cantor Colburn. Her practice focuses on patent drafting and prosecution. Read more.

Thomas H. Neal, Jr., `53 industrial management, was elected to the board of directors at Volunteer State Community College. Read more.

Jennifer Peek, `03 special education, was named Elementary School Teacher of the Year. She is a special education pre-k teacher at Sycamore Elementary School in Cookeville, Tennessee. Read more.

Troy Smith, `04 history, was featured in an article titled "TTU professors offer advice for other aspiring novelists." Smith, an associate professor of history at Tech, has written a number of novels and short stories. Read more.

Michael Stooksbury, `18 economics, published an article in the Lincoln Memorial Law Review titled "You Are the Father! An Argument for Court-Ordered Prenatal Paternity Testing and Child Support in Tennessee." Stooksbury is a third year law student at LMU's Duncan School of Law.

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.


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