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October 2022  

Alumni invited to celebrate Tech's 91st Homecoming Nov. 5

Tennessee Tech marching band

Tennessee Tech will celebrate its 91st Homecoming on Nov. 5, and this year's theme is Hollywood Homecoming!

The Crawford Alumni Center will host its annual parade watch party at 9:30 a.m. with coffee, donuts and fun giveaways, and the parade kicks off at 10:30 a.m. on Dixie Avenue. The Tennessee Tech Alumni Association will have a tailgate tent in Tailgate Park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Come meet fellow alumni and your Alumni Association Board of Directors! At 1:30 p.m., the Golden Eagle football team will take on Lindenwood at Tucker Stadium. And at 6 p.m., the Alumni Association will host its annual Evening of Excellence to honor four outstanding alumni.

Colleges, departments and organizations are hosting events throughout Homecoming weekend as well! Click the link below to view the full schedule. We hope to see you on campus next weekend!

list of events

2022 Distinguished Alumna Award recipient Ellen J. Neufeldt to serve as homecoming parade grand marshal

Ellen J. Neufeldt

Two-time Tennessee Tech graduate, 2022 Distinguished Alumna Award recipient and California State University San Marcos President Ellen J. Neufeldt will lead Tech's homecoming parade as grand marshal on Saturday, Nov. 5.

"I don't know that words can express what this means to me," Neufeldt said. "I'm really honored that Tennessee Tech would think of me, and it means even more because I grew up on that campus. Tech has been a part of me all of my life, and the honor really goes to my parents and the life they lived and created for Tech students. Anything I have accomplished started with them."

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2022 Outstanding Alumni Awards to honor four

Photos of the four winners

There are four Tennessee Tech University alumni who will join the more than 200 award recipients since this alumni recognition program began in 1975.

Tennessee Tech's Alumni Association solicits and evaluates nominations in four categories. The 2022 recipients are global cyber and technology executive Ron H. R. Johnson, Outstanding Young Alumni Award; former Golden Eagle and NFL player Frank T. Omiyale, Outstanding Service Award; former mathematics teacher J. Elizabeth Hendrix, Outstanding Philanthropy Award; and the president of California State University San Marcos Ellen J. Neufeldt, Distinguished Alumna Award.

This year's alumni award recipients will be honored during the Evening of Excellence ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 5, that coincides with the university's annual homecoming festivities. Tickets are still available and can be purchased via the link below.

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Nominate a deserving individual for a 2023 alumni award 

A row of alumni awards - golden eagle heads on wooden bases

The Tennessee Tech Alumni Association annually presents awards to individuals who have demonstrated great professional success. The Association recognizes outstanding individuals in the following categories:

Distinguished Alumnus Award
Outstanding Young Alumnus Award
Outstanding Service Award
Outstanding Philanthropy Award
The deadline to submit a nomination for a 2023 award is Nov. 15, 2022.

Please click the link below to read the criteria for each award or to submit a nomination in one of the four categories. Contact the Crawford Alumni Center if you have any questions.

nominate an individual for a 2023 alumni award

2022 alumni award winners

Alumni Association to host tailgate event at Titans game Dec. 29 

T-rac and Awesome at Nissan Stadium

On Thursday, Dec. 29, the Tennessee Tech Alumni Association will host a Tennessee Titans tailgate event in Titan Town prior to the 7:15 p.m. kickoff when the Titans take on the Dallas Cowboys at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. The cost is $50 per person and includes access to Titan Town, a buffet dinner from Martin's BBQ, two drink tickets and attendance to the game.

There are only 100 tickets available, so if you are interested, please register via the link below as soon as possible.


Tennessee Tech soccer team clinches OVC regular-season title 

Members of the Tennessee Tech soccer team embrace on the field.

A dramatic second-half score and another lights out defensive showing proved to be just the trick to lead the Tennessee Tech soccer team to a title. By virtue of a 1-0 win Thursday night against Morehead State, the Golden Eagles will hoist the regular-season crown for just the second time in program history and first since 1998.

By clinching the regular-season championship, the Golden Eagles (7-4-4, 5-0-2 OVC) picked up the OVC Tournament No. 1 seed and will receive a double bye straight to the semifinals, which will now be hosted by Tennessee Tech.


Former student of world-renowned Tech tuba professor Winston Morris named his successor

Preston Light poses with a tuba

When Tennessee Tech alumnus Preston Light of Kingsport returned to the university to teach in the School of Music, he found himself among familiar faces. Many of the professors who taught him while he was a student in the music education program are still around today, and this semester he has stepped into the shoes of his old mentor and tuba professor, Winston Morris.

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Tennessee Tech alumnus named NYC Chief Medical Examiner

Jason Graham

Jason Graham, M.D., a graduate of Tennessee Tech with a bachelor's degree in chemistry, has recently been named Chief Medical Examiner in New York City. He says that attending Tech gave him the solid groundwork for academic success.

"Academics at Tech prepared me well for medical school, particularly Tech's physical and life sciences education," Graham said. "Having much support and a solid undergraduate foundation enabled me to go on to considerable academic success in medical school at the University of Tennessee-Memphis, before securing highly-competitive residency and fellowship training."

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Alumnus Shawn Ratner visits favorite professor, Curtis Armstrong

Armstrong and Ratner

Shawn Ratner, `00 business management, recently visited campus to catch up with his favorite professor, Dr. Curtis Armstrong.

Armstrong is a professor of decision sciences and management in Tennessee Tech's College of Business. You can read more about why Armstrong is Ratner's favorite professor in a 2017 article linked below.

Homecoming is a great time to reconnect with the people who made your college experience great! Make plans to join us on Saturday, Nov. 5, and reach out to former professors, advisors and classmates to see if you can meet up with them while you're here.

And if you can't make it to campus next month, consider sending your favorite professor a letter or email. If you don't have their contact information, email and we'll be happy to help connect you.

Check out the full list of Homecoming and other events via the link below.

Shawn Ratner's Donor Spotlight

homecoming events

Alumni invited to share favorite holiday recipes 

Holiday Recipe Exchange

Does your family have a special holiday dish they look forward to every year? Does everyone ask for your pumpkin pie recipe? Is your fruitcake edible? The Crawford Alumni Center wants to see your best special occasion recipes!

Use the submission form below and submit your recipe by Nov. 18, 2022. Be sure to tell us why the recipe is special to you! We will compile all the recipes submitted into a virtual cookbook and share the link in the November edition of The Alumnus and on the Crawford Alumni Center Facebook page.

We look forward to seeing all of the delicious recipes you share!

submit a recipe


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

Alumni invited to participate in monthly Tech Trivia

Doc McGee in a gas mask after WWI

Last month we asked the following trivia question:  

What street on Tennessee Tech's campus is named for a WWI veteran, former chair of the foreign languages department and Tech's first "unofficial" sports information director?

The answer was McGee Boulevard (located between Hooper Eblen Center and the Tech tennis courts), which was named for Dr. Sidney "Doc" McGee. Learn more about Doc in the University Archives blog post titled "Roads were made for journeys, not destinations." 

Congratulations to Michael Dyer, `12 accounting, who answered correctly and won some Tech SWAG! 

And now for this month's question (and it's a Halloween-themed question this time!):

Charles Faulkner Bryan, for whom the Bryan Fine Arts Building is named, was one of Tennessee's most distinguished classical composers. During his time studying with German composer Paul Hindemith, he began composing a folk cantata about the evening that Tennessee's most famous ghost descended on the family it haunted for years. What is the name of that cantata? 

Photo top left: Dr. Sidney "Doc" McGee, following World War I, in 1919. (Source: University Archives and Special Collections)

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! And if you have an idea for a trivia question, send it to us! You may see it in a future edition of The Alumnus.

Tech-themed games and activities 

follow the Crawford alumni center on facebook

Alumnus shows Tech Pride in Duck Key, Florida 

The Bilbrey family

AJ Bilbrey, `10 marketing, shared a photo of himself and his family at Hawks Cay in Duck Key, Florida. AJ was in Duck Key for the Southeastern Maritime Law Institute's Fall Meeting last month. Thank you, AJ, for wearing your Tennessee Tech shirt proudly and for representing your alma mater so well!

If you're traveling this fall, take a photo of yourself wearing a Tech shirt or hat or holding your True To Tech magnet or decal. Hashtag your photo #WhereAreYouTrue on Facebook or Instagram or send your photos to We can't wait to see where Tech shows up next! 

Donor SpotlightCouple's estate gift for Tennessee Tech highlights plans for astronomy program and observatory

The Palmers with a few members of University Advancement staffAn interest in astronomy inspired Tennessee Tech alumni Gene and Jo Palmer to give back to a university that gave so much to them. They recently committed a significant planned gift for the College of Education, Athletics and Department of Physics, with the majority of the gift designated for an astronomy program and observatory they believe will have long-lasting impact on the Upper Cumberland.

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Student Spotlight

Tech student places first in Rubik's Cube competition 

Eli Parker and a Rubik's Cube

Tennessee Tech computer science senior Eli Parker recently placed first in the Pittsburgh Summer A Competition for solving a Rubik's Cube one-handed, averaging 9.75 seconds. The win brought his World Cube Association ranking to ninth in the world for the 3x3x3 one-handed event.

Parker's hobby began in his hometown of Jackson, Tennessee, in the eighth grade. One day, a friend of his brought a Rubik's Cube to school, and Parker started racing him to see who could solve puzzles the fastest.

"I've been 'cubing' for seven and a half years," said Parker.

His first major speed cubing competition took place in January 2016. He made it to the second round of the 3x3 division on his first try, and he has improved significantly since then.

The cubing community has changed Parker's life, and he wishes to spread his love of the cubing hobby to anyone else who wants to join.

What does it mean to live Wings Up? Read additional stories about Tech students and our bold, fearless, confident and kind community on the Tennessee Tech Stories page linked below.

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more Tennessee Tech student stories

Tech student wins Distinguished Citizen Award from Cookeville Police Department 

Evans and Thompson

Tennessee Tech student Jamaal "JT" Thompson of Hendersonville was awarded the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Cookeville Police Department at the September Cookeville City Council meeting.

Police Chief Randy Evans presented the award, explaining that he and Thompson, a graduate assistant in the College of Education, met in late 2020 when the death of George Floyd spurred conversations about police officers and their relationships with communities of color.

"I met this young man and he asked smart questions, and I knew those questions deserved answers," said Chief Evans during the award presentation. "We talked about community policing, and what I really found out through conversations with him and others is that there was a demographic that we were not reaching, and that was some of our student population."

Their discussions led to the idea of turning the Cookeville Police Department's Citizen's Academy into a for-credit college course at Tech. The goal for the class would be to attract students who are culturally different from most members of the Cookeville Police Department.

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Archives with Atkinson Graphic


October is American Archives Month!

In honor of Archives Month, Tennessee Tech University Archivist Megan Atkinson recorded a video about preserving basic paper documents. She discusses how to care for paper documents and shows viewers the tools and tasks involved in basic paper preservation. Click the link below to view the 17-minute video.

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. 

watch video

view university archives' digital collections

learn more about archives and special collections

Follow Tech Archives on Facebook

Class Notes

Rachel Baker Richard with her Congressional Award Gold Medal

Linda Adcock, `83 civil engineering, received the Distinguished Civilian Employee Recognition Award, highlighting her exceptional achievements with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District. Adcock managed the Center Hill Dam Safety Rehabilitation Project before retiring in 2019. Read more.

Renee Austin, `91 accounting and `92 MBA, was named executive vice president of Business and Finance at Motlow State Community College. Read more.

Ali Bagci, `97 business management, was featured in a Herald-Citizen article titled "'I hope to make a positive difference,' new councilman talks expectations and challenges." Read more.

Chris Blair, `21 mechanical engineering, recently developed and marketed the Z1 Heavy Duty Hatch Popper for Nissan Z1 cars. Blair works for Z1 Motorsports in Carrollton, Georgia, and is featured in a promotional YouTube video about the product. View more.

Corey Chamblin was named defensive backs coach for the yet-to-be-named San Antonio team of the XFL. Chamblin played defensive back for the Golden Eagles from 1995-98. Read more and check out a 2014 TTU Sports article titled "Tech alumnus Corey Chamblin named CFL Coach of the Year.

Mallory Christian, `21 human ecology, is the new family & consumer science agent in White County. Read more.

Lincoln Davis, `66 agriculture, was honored with a section of State Highway 111 in Pickett County. Davis is a former U.S. Congressman, serving as a member of the House of Representatives from 2003 to 2011. Read more.

Harold DePriest, `71 electrical engineering, announced his retirement last month following 20 years as EPB's CEO. A 45-year veteran of the electric utility, DePriest began his career at EPB in 1971, following his graduation from Tech. Read more.

Chad Gilbert, `97 civil engineering, was featured in a Herald-Citizen article titled "New councilman sees challenges and opportunities in Cookeville." Read more.

Jim Greeson, `68 health and physical education, `71 M.A. and `76 Ed.S., wrote a book titled "A Collection of Life Stories" and was featured in a Herald-Citizen article titled "Greeson hopes memoir will be inspirational." Read more.

Jennifer LaBar, `05 secondary education, will participate in the 2023 Iditarod. The Iditarod is an annual long-distance sled dog race, run in early March, that travels from Anchorage to Nome, AK. She and her husband, Andrew LaBar, `06 industrial technology, own Rockin' Ridge Kennel in Healy, AK. Read more.

Elle Lisic, the daughter of Alex Lisic, `08 professional studies, and Elizabeth Lisic, `15 Ph.D. exceptional learning, stars in the new true crime miniseries "A Friend of the Family," which airs on Peacock. Read more.

Tim Martin, `91 secondary education and `98 M.A., received the "I Make A Difference" Award. Martin is a longtime Putnam County educator who has served as a teacher, assistant principal and supervisor and is now deputy of schools. Read more.

Steve McDonald, `09 professional studies, was promoted to vice president of Integrated Services at Averitt. Read more.

Gary O'Brien, `86 civil engineering, joined engineering firm S&ME as senior engineer/project manager.

Juliet Ohemeng-Ntiamoah, `20 Ph.D. engineering, received the Technology Rising Star Award at the Women of Color STEM Conference.

Rachel Payne, `20 finance, was promoted to bank officer and assistant manager at the Algood office of First Freedom Bank. Read more.

Rachel Baker Richard, `21 chemistry, was awarded the Congressional Award Gold Medal, the U.S. Congress's highest honor for youth. Read more.

Cassi Slagle, `18 marketing, won the World Championship in the Amateur Two Year Old Mares and Geldings division at the 84th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. Read more.

Seth Willoughby, `15 wildlife and fisheries science, was named vice principal at DeKalb West School. Read more.

Photo top left: Rachel Baker Richard, `21 chemistry, wins Congressional Award Gold Medal.

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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