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May 2022 Issue of the Alumnus

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May 2022  


Remembering the name Dr. Angelo Volpe

Dr. Angelo Volpe stands with his arms crossed leaning against a column

He always remembered your name. Whether you knew Dr. Angelo Volpe for years or minutes, he remembered you. 

Dr. Volpe led Tennessee Tech University as its seventh president, serving from 1987 to 2000. Under Dr. Volpe, Tech saw its endowment grow from $1 million to $27 million, drew acclaim for its academic and athletic programs and developed a sense of community. During his tenure, the campus Fitness Center, Hyder-Burks Agricultural Pavilion and library, named for Dr. Volpe and his wife Jennette, were built. Dr. Volpe also fought to keep the Appalachian Center for Craft open for education, created two chairs of excellence and established the Women's Center and Leona Lusk Officer Black Cultural Center.

Dr. Volpe died on May 8 at his home. On May 12, the Tech campus and Cookeville communities attended his visitation in Volpe Library, and campus flags were flown at half staff on May 12 and 13 in his honor.

read more

Tech Sports Tribute to Dr. Volpe


Tennessee Tech celebrates more than 1,500 spring graduates

Awesome Eagle walks down the center aisle at commencement wearing graduation regalia. On either side of the aisles are students seated in regalia.

More than 1,500 graduates received degrees on May 6 at Tennessee Tech's Spring Commencement ceremonies, plus heard encouragement and congratulations from a major league baseball player, a cancer survivor and a student leader.

Former Tech baseball player Ethan Roberts of Sparta, who made his major league pitching debut for the Chicago Cubs just a few weeks ago, sent a video message. Cesar Espinoza, a nursing graduate, talked about having overcome a serious health issue. Braden Hammer, a graduating biochemistry and molecular biology major, represented the Trailblazers, student ambassadors who give personal tours and make perspective students feel welcome. And Governor Bill Lee spoke to graduates at the afternoon ceremony, as his family also celebrated a student earning a degree.

read more


Tennessee Tech hosts international Baja competition

A baja vehicle splashes through mud on a track.

Baja teams from around the world gathered at Tennessee Tech's Hyder-Burks Agricultural Pavilion to compete in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Collegiate Design Series competition held May 12-13.

The Baja SAE competition consists of students designing and building small off-road vehicles to be a prototype for a reliable, maintainable, ergonomic and economic production vehicle.

read more


Alumni group to attend Rose Parade January 2023a float with palm trees and hills surrounding it at the tournament of roses parade

If seeing the Tournament of Roses Parade in person is on your bucket list, you'll want to check out the trip we have planned for Tennessee Tech alumni and friends Dec. 30, 2022-Jan. 4, 2023. The itinerary includes San Diego, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, a New Year's Eve dinner party and more. It also includes grandstand seating for the Tournament of Roses Parade!

Visit the Golden Eagle Travel website to view the full itinerary, and use web code 157556 to register.

Wing Up Across America!

golden eagle travel site


Alumni invited to share best friends stories

Two golden eagles "Birds of a Feather"

Did you meet your best friend at Tennessee Tech? How and where did you meet? Do you still keep in touch? The Crawford Alumni Center wants to hear your stories!

In honor of National Best Friend Day on June 8, we are hosting our second annual "Birds of a Feather" contest. The winner will be featured in our "Birds of a Feather" showcase and win some Tech SWAG! Click the link below to submit your story and enter this year's contest.

Birds of a feather flock together, and Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles form friendships that last a lifetime!

Submit birds of a feather story

last year's submissions


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

Bill Dupes, Wilburn Tucker, and Mutt Quillen

Last month we asked the following trivia question:  

Who was the first individual to take a Tennessee Tech team to an NCAA tournament in the 1950s? Hint: Raised in Columbia, Tennessee, this 1954 business management graduate became a beloved dean and considered Coach Putty Overall his second dad. 

The correct answer was Malcolm "Mutt" Quillen. Quillen, for whom the Tech baseball field is named, was a baseball coach at Tennessee Polytechnic Institute (now Tennessee Tech) from 1954-1958, winning two Ohio Valley Conference championships in four years. He was also an assistant in the TPI physical education department and an assistant football coach, serving under Head Football Coach Wilburn Tucker. In 1958, Quillen was appointed Dean of Men at Tech and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1975. During his tenure, he also served as director of men's housing, director of campus police and traffic, director of student insurance and director of student activities, organizations, concerts, lectures and public programs.

Congratulations to Daniel Hines, `21 biology, who won this month!

And now for this month's question:

Which professor, who taught at Tech from 1929 until his death in 1961, was a founding member of the Tennessee Folklore Society in 1934. Hint: This same professor has a campus building named for him. This building was the first on campus to be solely dedicated to academics.

Photo, from left: Bill Dupes, Wilburn Tucker and Malcolm "Mutt" Quillen
Source: 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 alumni@tntech.edu. 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


Tech Took Us There

Former Secret Service agent says Tennessee Tech prepared him to serve and protect

Bob Babilino

From majoring in pre-law at Tennessee Tech to protecting the president of the United States, Bob Babilino, `68 history/pre-law, says a Tech education showed him that he could be anything he wanted to be.

"Tech gave me, a young man with a mediocre academic background, a chance to achieve a goal that no other young man in my family had ever achieved: a college degree," said Babilino. "Without the opportunity to attend Tech, I am not sure I would have had the vision and direction to achieve what many call a successful career. I am very thankful to Tech for taking a chance on me."

After graduating from Tech, Babilino applied for a position with the Secret Service, but he didn't expect to be hired. The application process is extremely competitive; only one in 500 is selected.

"They may have made a mistake with me," Babilino joked. "But I was very fortunate to get in."

Babilino started out as a criminal investigator in the forgery unit, investigating counterfeit checks, bonds and U.S. currency. He was then promoted to White House detail where he was assigned to protect Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and President Gerald Ford.

Tech Took Us There features outstanding Tech alumni who credit their successes in their careers to the education they received at Tennessee Tech.

bob babilino's full story

more tech took us there stories


Friends Remembered

Ronald Mezime

Ronald Mezime, 40, of Baxter, Tennessee, passed away on Thursday, May 5, 2022.

Ronald worked at Tennessee Tech for 16 years and was the assistant director of Residential Life and co-advisor for the Residence Hall Association.

He was loved by Tech staff and students, and his Residential Life colleagues say there will forever be a hole in the heart of Res Life. They described him as a beautiful soul, an amazing colleague and a wonderful mentor with an amazing smile and kind demeanor.

Ronald was the youth pastor for Gordonsville Church of the Nazarene and the assistant soccer coach for White County High School. He also loved Florida State Football.

read full obituary

Richard PapesRichard J. Papes, 81, passed away on Saturday, May 7, 2022.

Richard graduated from Tennessee Tech in 1963 with a degree in mechanical engineering. It was there that he met and married his wife of 58 years, Marion Ann Papes. The two had four children and four grandchildren. Richard retired from General Electric Aviation in Evendale, Ohio.

In 2014, Richard's wife submitted their love story for Tech's annual Golden Eagle Lovebirds contest held every Valentine's Day:

"I was walking across the quad when I saw Richard walking toward me. I knew who he was because he played basketball, so I batted my baby blues and used my very best southern drawl to say 'Hi, Richard,' We both continued on our way. Later that day, I was on the tennis courts playing with a friend who lived in my dorm. She was one of the freshman class beauties so when I saw Rich outside the fence watching us, I assumed he was there to see her. At the end of the match, he called me over and asked for a date. Our first date was at the drive-in movie. We were married in April 1964."

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 alumni@tntech.edu.


Archives with Atkinson Graphic

a black and white photo of a basketball gameOn April 13, 2022, Tech Archives participated in a film screening series with 63 other institutions airing and discussing the documentary "The Loyola Project." The film documents the 1963 NCAA championship win of the Loyola Ramblers of Chicago. The film was offered to Tech Archives due to our providing archival resources for the documentary and because of our participation in the 1963 NCAA championship. Tennessee Tech won against Morehead under Coach Oldham in the OVC playoffs on March 8, 1963, putting them in the NCAA playoffs against one of the tournament's top teams in the nation, Loyola. The Loyola win against Tennessee Tech remains the largest victory in the tournament's history.

Photo top left: Loyola vs. Tennessee Tech, March 11, 1963

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

Mark Wilson, Frank Omiyale, and Phil Oldham

Dr. W. Dale Blair, `85 electrical engineering and `87 M.S., was appointed to serve as the founding editor-in-chief for the new IEEE Open Journal of Systems Engineering (OJSE). Dr. Blair is a principal research engineer at Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). Read more.

Tim Bulow, `87 accounting, was appointed president and chief operating officer of Mission Produce.

Paul Davis, `85 secondary education and `92 M.A., is the new president of Father Ryan High School. Read more.

Judy Flatt Delk, `78 physical education, `81 M.A. and `88 Ed.S., was named Title IX Trailblazer of the Week. Judy played basketball for the Golden Eagles and was on Tech's first volleyball team. After graduating from Tech, she taught and coached softball at Monterey High School for 20 years and Upperman High School for 15 years. In 2018, Monterey High School named their new softball facility Delk Field in her honor. Read more.

Rick Duffer, `07 Ed.S. instructional leadership, was selected to be the next Director of Schools for Macon County. Read more.

Kyle Fuller, `07 political science, joined the Miller & Martin law firm's commercial group as Of Counsel. Read more.

John Mark Hackney, `11 MBA, was promoted to chief executive officer, Medicare, Georgia & South Carolina at United Health Group. Read more.

Shane Harwood, `01 M.A. instructional leadership, is the new Rock Point Community Superintendent for Hamilton County Schools. Read more.

Tersheia Hayes, `08 M.A. instructional leadership and `14 Ed.S., is the new principal of DuPont Elementary School. Read more.

Ryan K. Keel, `97 electrical engineering, was promoted to senior vice president of technical operations for EPB. Read more.

Stuart McGregor, `87 M.S. biology, co-authored a scientific book titled Crayfishes of Alabama. McGregor met one of the co-authors, Guenter Schuster, in 1986 when Schuster came to Tech Aqua (a biology station that Tech ran on Center Hill Lake) from Eastern Kentucky University. McGregor took one of Schuster's classes, and the two have kept in touch ever since!

David Murrell, `02 Ed.S. instructional leadership, was selected to be the next director of schools in Blount County, Tennessee. Read more.

Frank Omiyale, `14 marketing, was recently honored at T.W. Hunter Middle School's awards ceremony for receiving Tennessee Tech's 2022 Athletics Outstanding Alumni and Alumni Outstanding Service Awards. Omiyale teaches and coaches at T. W. Hunter. Read more.

Stephen Robbins, `93 M.A. health and physical education and `97 Ed.S., will be the next principal of Upperman High School in Baxter, Tennessee. Read more.

Dr. Subrata Saha, `69 M.S. mechanical engineering, was awarded an Honorary Fellowship in the American College of Dentists. Dr. Saha organized a Symposium on Ethical Issues in Biomedical Engineering which will be held as part of the World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering June 12-16 in Singapore.

Aaron Walker, `19 civil engineering, joined The Christman Company as a project engineer at the construction management and real estate development firm's office in Knoxville, Tennessee. Read more.

Ryan Wigner, `16 civil engineering, was featured in a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers article titled "Corps completes Cumberland Gap Flood Plain Management Services Study." Read more.

Quen Williams, `96 multidisciplinary studies, is the new principal at Creekside Elementary School. Read more.

Photo top left: Tennessee Tech Athletic Director Mark Wilson, Tennessee Tech alumnus and Alumni Award recipient Frank Omiyale (`14 marketing), and Tennessee Tech President Phil Oldham at T. W. Hunter Middle School's awards ceremony.  

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.

SHOP THE new Tech BOOKSTORE ONLINE

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