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July 2022  

The Alumnus: Special NASA Edition highlights Tech alumni who advanced space exploration

The Alumnus Special NASA Edition

On April 9, Tennessee Tech's Crawford Alumni Center hosted a NASA Celebration to honor Tech alumni who have worked for NASA and NASA contractors. We asked alumni to share their NASA stories, and we compiled those stories into a special edition of The Alumnus newsletter.

Lt. Gen. Don Rodgers, `57 electrical engineering, and Dr. June Scobee Rodgers served as our keynote speakers. Sadly, Don Rodgers passed away on June 8, while the newsletter was being printed. We dedicate this special edition to General Rodgers and his family.

We are in awe of how far alumni have gone -- literally to the moon and back -- since graduating from Tennessee Tech. We hope you enjoy The Alumnus: Special NASA Edition. Click the link below to read the newsletter online. We also have a few print copies available. If you prefer a print copy, email and we'll put one in the mail for you.

read the alumnus: special nasa edition

Friends of Tennessee Tech adopt university as their own

portraits of Bill and Sandy Miller and Tim and Debbie Panther

Bill and Sandy Miller and Tim and Debbie Panther love Tennessee Tech. They support Golden Eagle athletics, make philanthropic gifts to Tech and come to events on campus. So, what sets them apart?

Tennessee Tech is not their alma mater. They visited Tech and Cookeville and fell in love with the Golden Eagle community.

Read more about these remarkable friends of Tech in this year's Gratitude magazine (story begins on page 6).

read full story in gratitude magazine

Agriculture alumnus funds renovations to Tech's Agriculture Engineering Technology Lab

A portrait of Randall Warden

Randall Warden, `76 agriculture, says his first experience with Tennessee Tech's Agriculture Engineering Technology Laboratory was as a work study student. Now, almost 50 years later, he still remembers the experience and knowledge he gained in the lab and wants to give back to his alma mater. Thanks to Warden's generosity, Tech's School of Agriculture will renovate the lab this summer, providing an upgraded space for future generations of agriculture students.

"I have a great appreciation for the School of Agriculture, particularly the faculty members who were there when I was a student," said Warden. "I've become acquainted with a few current faculty, and I can tell that they continue the tradition of caring and showing interest in their students."

Read more about Warden's Tech experience, career and gift to the lab in this year's Gratitude magazine (story begins on page 13).

read full story in gratitude magazine

Tennessee Tech alumna reflects on establishing first sorority
A group portrait from the 60s - young women with formal dresses and corsages smile behind banquet tables

On November 15, 1956, approximately 200 male students attended a meeting in Derryberry Hall to discuss establishing a fraternity system at Tennessee Tech. It would be another 13 years before Tech students would see official Greek organizations on campus. And thanks to one trailblazing young woman, female students would be represented as well.

Anna Howard, `68 elementary education, says she wanted female students at Tech to have an opportunity to get involved on campus and in their community, develop leadership skills and experience comradery with other women.

Read more about how Howard brought sororities to Tennessee Tech in this year's Gratitude magazine (story starts on page 10).

read full story in gratitude magazine

Alumni Association Board seeks new members

Tennessee Tech Alumni Association sealDo you love Tennessee Tech? Do you enjoy staying connected with the university and with your fellow alumni? Do you recognize the value in sharing the story of Tech with others?

If so, you might be the perfect candidate for the Alumni Association Board! The Association is in search of a few energetic new members who can act as a liaison between alumni and the university, plan and host events for alumni across the country and on campus, help alumni connect with classmates and assist alumni who have questions about Tech.

The Board meets four times a year and assists the Crawford Alumni Center in keeping alumni engaged with Tech. It's a great way to meet new people, plan and attend fun events around the country and learn more about your alma mater!

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please submit the application linked below by August 31. If you have any questions, email

Complete Alumni Association Board application

Tech Football celebrates 100 years

A collage of two gentlemen holding an award in a black and white photo and a man in a football uniform.

When the Tennessee Tech football team takes to the field to open the 2022 campaign, it will be the 100th anniversary of the first varsity game played by the Golden Eagles.

Read the series of Tech Football's 100th Anniversary articles by clicking the links below. (The first three articles were shared in last month's edition of The Alumnus as well.)

Part 1: The pre-varsity years 1916-21

Part 2: Early years mark search for identity 1921-29


part 4: 1940s become time for transition

part 5: tragedy creates spark toward first ovc title


Tennessee Tech, OVC release 2022-23 men's and women's basketball conference schedules

The court at Hooper Eblen Center

In conjunction with the Ohio Valley Conference, the Tennessee Tech men's and women's basketball teams released their conference schedules for the 2022-23 season this month.

This year marks the 75th year of competition in the OVC.

The Golden Eagles kick off the 2022-23 league campaign with a road trip to Edwardsville, Illinois, and meetings at SIUE on Dec. 29. Visit at the link below to view the full schedule.

view full schedule

Tennessee Tech alumni share True To Tech pride

Brent Brown holds a 20 year True To Tech magnet with his wife and two daughters at a Grand Canyon overlook.

Where are you True?

Are you traveling this summer? Snap a photo of your True To Tech magnet or decal in front of a landmark, monument or beautiful landscape! 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

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.

Thank you to Brent Brown (`97 finance) and his family for showing their True To Tech pride at the Grand Canyon this month! And if the Brown family's beautiful photo has you dreaming of future travel, check out our Golden Eagle travel opportunities below.

learn more about true to tech

watch a video about where are you true

Alumni to explore Southern California and attend Rose Parade

A light house on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Have you always wanted to visit beautiful Southern California? 

From Dec. 30, 2022 to Jan. 4, 2023, a group of Tennessee Tech alumni and friends will visit San Diego and the historic Gaslamp District, the Embarcadero, Balboa Park, Mission San Juan Capistrano, Laguna Beach and more. We'll see the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Rodeo Drive and the Richard Nixon Library & Museum. Have you always wanted to drive up Highway 1 for spectacular coastal views? And has seeing the Rose Parade in person been on your bucket list? We'll do all of this -- and more -- on this five-night adventure. The best part: There's still time to sign up!

Visit our Golden Eagle Travel website for more information. And be sure to read our Utah travel blog to see what a day in the life of a Golden Eagle traveler is like. We also have a Black Hills, Badlands & Mt. Rushmore trip planned for Summer 2023. Email if you have any questions about either trip or if you'd like a brochure. Wings Up Across America!

visit golden eagle travel website

read utah travel blog

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

The administration building of TPI.

Last month we asked the following trivia question:  

What were the original names of Derryberry Hall, Bartoo Hall, Kittrell Hall and Henderson Hall?

Derryberry Hall was known as the Administration Building, Bartoo was West Hall, Kittrell was East Hall and Henderson was the Industrial Arts Building (later called the Engineering Building). 

Congratulations to Michael Fleenor, `85 English-journalism and `87 M.A., who won this month! And thank you to Dr. Allison Ensor, `57 English, for submitting this bit of trivia. 

And now for this month's question:

Gordon Pennebaker was hired at Tennessee Tech (known as TPI at the time) in 1946, served as chair of the biology department and was the first dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. When he taught his genetics class, what campus critter did he use to illustrate inherited traits?

Photo: Administration Building, Dixie College
Source: University Archives

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 

follow the Crawford alumni center on facebook

Donor Spotlight

100-year-old Tennessee Tech alumna gives Steinway piano to School of Music

Ms. Spicer sits at the bench to play her piano one last time before giving it to Tennessee Tech

Billye Spicer says an article about Tennessee Tech's All-Steinway Initiative inspired her to give her beloved Steinway piano to Tech's School of Music.

"I can't think of a better place for my piano to go than to the school that I attended when I graduated from high school," she said.

Spicer celebrated her 100th birthday on July 20 and has played piano longer than most people have been alive. She began taking piano lessons when she was just four years old.

In order to join the ranks of other top-rated fine arts programs in the region, Tech is working to complete the requirements to become an All-Steinway School.

"Of course, Steinway is the very best piano that is made," said Spicer. "And since I had one I thought, 'Well, I can just give it to Tech.' It was my pleasure to give. I was very fortunate to have that piano. I had many years to enjoy it."

read full story

Archives with Atkinson Graphic

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. 

view university archives' digital collections

learn more about archives and special collections

Follow Tech Archives on Facebook

Class Notes

David Johnson stands at a lecturn in front of a Tennessee Tech backdrop.

Joey Agee, `03 health and physical education and `10 M.A., is DeKalb County High's new boys basketball coach. Read more.

Ethan Bernhardt, `00 industrial technology, has been promoted to automation segment president and Cookeville location general manager of ATC Automation. Read more.

Tim Berry, `96 Ed.S., has been appointed federal programs supervisor for Knox County Schools. Read more.

Joe Blair, `97 secondary education, is the new assistant executive director with the TSSAA. Read more.

Sherry Lankford Browder, `88 civil engineering, was appointed chief executive officer and president of Pro2Serve, a national security engineering and information solutions firm.

Britt Clubb, `06 civil engineering, was appointed to Principal with Professional Engineering Consultants PA. Read more.

Biskie Duncan, `14 communication, is the new morning show anchor for KSLA in Louisiana. Read more.

Brandon Eden, `06 history, is the new assistant football coach at Trousdale County High School. Read more.

Dr. Tom Grooms, `70 secondary education, published his latest book titled "China New World Order Alliance." Read more.

Lee Harrell, `02 history, was appointed chief of staff for Montgomery County Government. Read more.

Caleb Hemmer, `10 MBA, is seeking election for Tennessee state representative. Read more.

Melvin Holland, Jr. will appear on The Challenge USA on CBS. Holland was a member of the Golden Eagle football team football and later founded The Tough Fitness, which offers online coaching and in-person sessions for clients. Read more.

Cody Huddleston, `10 business management, has been named vice president of Veloture Development Group. Read more.

David Johnson, `98 civil engineering and `02 M.S., was featured in a Tennessee Tech article outlining Johnson's 20-year career with Nissan North America and his current position as senior vice president of manufacturing and supply chain management. Read more.

Keith Keisling, `75 business management, published a book titled "Personal Tru$t" using the pseudonym William Reston Hunt. Read more.

Karen Loy, `80 secondary education, is the new director of special education for Knox County Schools. Read more.

Laura McGregor, `08 accounting and `09 MBA, was named a new shareholder of audit with LBMC. Read more.

Jeffrey Moran, `96 computer science, is Northwest Kentucky's new Fellowship of Christian Athletes area director. Read more.

Kevin Murphy, `12 interdisciplinary studies, leads the BIG3 basketball league with the most points in week 4 of the 2022 season. In 2016, Murphy became just the 16th player in OVC history to score 2,000 career points. Read more about Murphy's BIG3 success here and Tennessee Tech success here.

Lauren Neal, `98 business management, was featured in a university article titled "Tennessee Tech staff member memorializes tree that saved her life in the 2020 tornado." Read more.

Lamar Rogers, `74 agricultural science, received the Lifetime Achievement Award after eight state titles and 1,289 wins. Rogers is the winningest high school girls basketball coach in Tennessee history. Read more.

Erik Sabel was featured in an All Sports Tucson article titled "Former D'Backs pitcher Erik Sabel impacts Sun Belt League's Speedway Gamblers in many ways." Sabel was a member of Tech's baseball team for three seasons. Read more and check out a 2009 article about Sabel's pitching career.

Dr. Subrata Saha, `69 engineering mechanics, received the Evan Ferguson Award for Service to the Society from Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Honor Society.

Lisa Spencer, `16 M.P.S., has been named Interim Chief of Human Resources for Metro Nashville Public Schools. Read more.  

Rusty Thompson, `09 wildlife and fisheries science, was promoted to the rank of sergeant by the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency. Read more.

Jennifer Winfree, `99 industrial technology, joined Tesla as a quality engineering manager where she oversees vehicle quality, specializing in body fits, exterior and closures for models S, 3, X and Y.

Linda Winn, `65 health and physical education, published a book titled "The Road to Glory." Read more.

Photo top left: David Johnson, `98 civil engineering and `02 M.S., serves as senior vice president of manufacturing and supply chain management with Nissan North America

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

Check out the bookstore's Tennessee Tech University Spirit Shop featuring apparel, accessories and Tech-themed items for students and alumni.  

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


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