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September 2022  

Alumni Association to honor four outstanding alumni Nov. 5

Collage of Alumni Award winner

On Nov. 5, the Tennessee Tech Alumni Association will present awards to four outstanding alumni who have demonstrated professional success and instilled great pride in the university. The Evening of Excellence will be held on Homecoming, and all alumni and friends are invited. The Association will recognize the following individuals:

Outstanding Young Alumnus Award
Ron H. R. Johnson, `08 English

Outstanding Service Award
Frank T. Omiyale, `14 marketing

Outstanding Philanthropy Award
J. Elizabeth Hendrix, `63 secondary education

Distinguished Alumna Award
Dr. Ellen J. Neufeldt, `91 marketing and `94 M.A.

This event will be held in the Roaden University Center Multipurpose Room and will begin at 6 p.m. Click the link below to register. The cost is $50 and the deadline to register is Oct. 21.

If you'd like to nominate someone for a 2023 award, click the link below. Nominations are due Nov. 15.

register to attend

nominate an individual for a 2023 alumni award

Tech's Whitson-Hester School of Nursing celebrates 40 years of graduates

A nursing student checks the vitals of a sim patient.From its start in a four-room building adjacent to the main campus to today's placement in a 65,500-square-foot building bookending the historic academic quad, Tennessee Tech's Whitson-Hester School of Nursing has had a story of continuous growth. This year marks the school's 40th year of graduates.

"In 40 years, the Whitson-Hester School of Nursing has graduated over 2,700 nurses and/or advanced practice nurses with baccalaureate, master's or doctorate of nursing practice degrees," Kim Hanna, dean and professor of nursing at Tech said. "This 40-year milestone represents the thousands of patients who have been impacted by their care. The graduates of our program have drastically changed the accessibility and quality of healthcare in the Upper Cumberland region."

To mark this milestone, the school held a 40th anniversary celebration on Sept. 23 in Robert and Gloria Bell Hall. Alumni, current students, clinical partners and members of the Upper Cumberland community attended.

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9/11 Memorial Stair Run honors memory of those lost 21 years ago

ROTC students running on Overall Field with packs. One student carries the American Flag.

On a rainy Saturday morning in Tennessee Tech University's Tucker Stadium, the day before the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, members of the university's Army ROTC Golden Eagle Battalion gathered with members of the campus community to honor the lives lost that day.

"I personally do this event to honor the men and women who paid the sacrifice," said John Dowd, operations officer for Tech's ROTC program. "This small amount of sacrifice of us being out here in the rain climbing 110 flights of stairs pales in comparison to what they did on 9/11, but it is something that we can give back to them in honor and remembrance of them."

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Second Tech alumnus wins "Forged in Fire"

Josh Foran

A second Tennessee Tech University alumnus has won the History Channel's reality show, "Forged in Fire." Josh Foran, a 2012 manufacturing and industrial technology major, followed fellow alumnus Jay Replogle.

Foran's journey to the show, however, was not a traditional one. The opportunity to be on "Forged in Fire" was one Foran participated in as a learning experience and a chance to improve his blacksmithing skills. Before the show, he could be found showing his skills at smithing events and family gatherings.

Foran is originally from outside Detroit, Michigan, but moved to Tennessee for college. His family has roots in Morgan County in East Tennessee.  

The manufacturing and industrial technology program, now known as engineering technology, has continued to grow at Tech since Foran's time as a student.

"I've always been interested in metal fabrication," Foran said. "While at Tech, I took welding, machining and metal casting."

Foran works as a lead design engineer at Fields Auto Works where he makes production level CAD models for their vehicles and designs reverse engineer components.


Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame announces five inductees for Class of 2022

Photos of the five inductees

Five individuals whose impact on Tennessee Tech Athletics will never be forgotten will be honored for their contributions to the university, their respective teams and the community, as the 48th class for induction into the Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame has been selected.

The Class of 2022 honors a quintet of phenomenal athletes, supporters and overall human beings, including David Collett (football), Tacarra Hayes Barnes (women's basketball), Kevin Murphy (men's basketball), Ottis Phillips (football/supporter) and Dave Pratt (baseball).

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Tennessee Tech asks alumni, where are you True?

Where Are You True?

If you have plans to travel this fall, be sure to 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 Tennessee Tech shows up next!

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Eric and Angie Hyche show True To Tech pride in remote Alaska

Eric and Angie Hyche

Eric Hyche, `87 electrical engineering, and Angie Hyche, `87 biology, spent the month of August in Alaska! And they took their True To Tech magnet along with them on their travels.

The photo on the left shows Angie at the Northwestern Fjord in Kenai Fjords National Park, and the photo on the right shows Eric and Angie in Gates of the Arctic National Park.

"We took a sightseeing flight out of Kotzebue, Alaska, and flew into the two most northernmost national parks: Kobuk Valley National Park and Gates of the Arctic National Park," Eric said. "Both of these parks are so remote -- there are no visitor centers, no facilities of any sort, no trails, nothing man-made -- just thousands of square miles of mountains and wilderness."

This may be the most remote place we've seen a True To Tech magnet show up! Thanks, Eric and Angie, for sharing your travels with us!

Alumnus David Bible displays Tech Pride in Greece

The Bible family smiling in front of the Acropolis.

David Bible, `87 civil engineering, and his family traveled to Greece last month to visit his daughter who was working there. David, Sonia, Luke and Rachel visited the Acropolis in Athens and snapped a photo of themselves in front of the Parthenon, where David proudly wore a Tennessee Tech shirt.

Thank you, David, for showing your Tech Pride internationally!

Shawn Ratner meets fellow Tech alumnus Roger Crouch at Kennedy Space Center

Dr. Roger Crouch poses with a signed photo of himself and Shawn Ratner

Shawn Ratner, `00 business administration, recently had the opportunity to meet a fellow Tech alumnus, astronaut Roger Crouch, `62 physics and `12 honorary doctorate in science.

Crouch flew as a payload specialist on two NASA Space Shuttle missions in 1997.

Ratner visited Kennedy Space Center this month and was grateful to get Crouch's autograph. He even asked Crouch to sign his picture with "Wings Up"!

Thank you, Shawn, for sharing this photo with us and for wearing your Tennessee Tech Alumni shirt proudly.

We've loved seeing everyone's travel photos this summer, and hope you'll continue to send them if you're planning to travel this fall!

Hashtag your photo #WhereAreYouTrue on Facebook or Instagram or send your photos to

We can't wait to see where Tennessee Tech shows up next!

Alumni invited to learn more about Golden Eagle Travel program

A purpe suitcase that reads Golden Eagle Travel

If the photos above have inspired you to plan your next vacation, be sure to check out our Golden Eagle Travel website for more information about upcoming Tennessee Tech alumni trips. Anyone with a connection to Tech is welcome. The next adventure on the schedule is a Rose Parade trip in December 2022/January 2023. And next summer we'll spend a week exploring South Dakota, the Black Hills and the Badlands.

We are also putting together a holiday-themed Canada trip for December 2023, and a once-in-a-lifetime international bucket list trip for next fall will be shared very soon! Email if you would like more information about any of our Golden Eagle Travel experiences.

Wings Up Across America...and the world!

golden eagle travel website

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

Crawford Alumni Center encourages alumni to participate in monthly Tech trivia

Matthews HallLast month we asked the following trivia question:  

Four buildings on campus have had the word "south" in their names at some point in time. The most recent South Hall was also known as the student union and library annex at different points in time. It is now Oakley Hall, home of the College of Agriculture and Human Ecology. New Hall South is a residence hall. And Southwest Hall is the home of the College of Interdisciplinary Studies. What fourth building, now called by a different name, was called South Hall when it was first built in the 1950s? 

We really stumped our alumni this month. No one guessed the correct answer, which was Matthews Hall. Named for Mary Matthews Daniel, wife of dean and registrar Charles Denson Daniel, this building was originally known as South Hall when it was first built. 

And now for this month's 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? Hint: You never know what amazing things you will learn by reading the University Archives blog "Archives with Atkinson" each month! 

Photo top left: Matthews Hall (also known as Matthews-Daniel Hall)

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.

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Donor Spotlight

Mildred Lynch Ellison and Dixie Sharp Pugh Memorial Scholarship honors love for grandmothers

Greta Day and Robert Pugh

When Tennessee Tech alumni Greta Day, `99 accounting, and Robert Pugh, `99 history, decided to establish a scholarship at their alma mater, they knew they wanted to name it in memory of two of the most important people in their lives: their grandmothers.

The Mildred Lynch Ellison and Dixie Sharp Pugh Memorial Scholarship is awarded to incoming freshmen in any major. The only requirement is that the student must have financial need.

"I personally have always felt like an underdog, so I'm always rooting for the underdog," Day said. "I want students who may not have the financial means their peers have to know that we are rooting for them. Tech did that for me, so maybe I can do that for somebody else. It's paying it forward."

Pugh added, "Higher education is expensive. The decisions students and families have to make are stressful. We hope in some small way that this scholarship relieves a burden and a little bit of stress. This scholarship gives an opportunity to get a great education at a great school -- it's an opportunity that someone might not otherwise have."

Dixie Sharp Pugh passed away in 2013 and Mildred Lynch Ellison in 2015, but Pugh and Day know their memories will live on through this scholarship.

"We want to honor them because they had such an influence on our lives," Day said. "My grandmother was always amazed at the big dreams I had, but it was thanks to her that I could have those big dreams. I think if she knew that I established this scholarship for her, it would blow her mind. She would be so proud."

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Tech Took Us There

Tennessee Tech alumnus to participate in Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer cycling event

Joe Brown on his bicycle.

Tennessee Tech alumnus Joe Brown, `91 marketing, will participate in Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer (C2C4C) next month.

Brown is one of more than 126 Bristol Myers Squibb employees selected to participate in C2C4C, where he and his fellow cyclists will pedal across the country to raise money for cancer research.

"At Bristol Myers Squibb, we are riding for the patients who suffer from cancer," Brown said. "There are many, many out there who are fighting, will fight or have fought the good fight against the disease."

And for Brown, the ride is personal.

"My mother passed away from ovarian cancer when I was just 12 years old," Brown said. "It wasn't a pretty battle. It was a long, stressful, devastating loss that you don't wish on anyone."

The ride began on Sept. 7 in Cannon Beach, Oregon, and will conclude on Oct. 3 in Long Brach, New Jersey. Brown and his team will anchor the relay on the ninth and final leg and will pedal for up to 80 miles each day for three days, from Pittsburgh to the Atlantic Ocean.

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Archives with Atkinson Graphic

Photo from left: Leonard Crawford, Maurice Haste, John Oldham, Preston Overall, Malcolm Quillen, 1967. (Source: Tennessee Tech Archives)

Tech Archives recently received a scrapbook owned by Malcolm P. "Mutt" Quillen (1910-1995), a Tennessee Tech football and basketball player, and later coach and administrator. Malcolm Patterson "Pat" Quillen, his son, donated the scrapbook to Tech Archives. For Tech Archives, the scrapbook filled a gap in a smaller collection of scrapbooks it held, highlighting the career and retirement celebration of the famed Coach P. V. (Putty) Overall. The scrapbooks, created presumably by Overall, contain news clippings, correspondence, photographs, and various Tennessee Polytechnic Institute football ephemera such as programs and schedules dating from 1934-1974. Overall gave the one scrapbook to Malcolm P "Mutt" Quillen because the scrapbook highlighted Malcolm's years when he played for Tennessee Tech.

Click the link below to read the full blog.

Photo from left: Leonard Crawford, Maurice Haste, John Oldham, Preston Overall, Malcolm Quillen, 1967. (Source: Tennessee Tech Archives)

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. 

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Class Notes

Larry Taylor's artwork currently on display in Tech's Accessible Education Center.

Eric Altom, `91 agriculture, received the American Feed Industry Association's 2022 Member of the Year Award. Read more.

Spencer Belcher, `20 wildlife and fisheries, joined Tioga Environmental Consultants as an environmental scientist. Read more.

Jason Carder, `01 civil engineering, was appointed by Governor Bill Lee to serve on the Tennessee Board of Architectural and Engineering Examiners. Carder will serve as an associate engineer member, as a representative from Tennessee. Read more.

Erin Curry, `01 civil engineering, was re-elected to her second term as a Giles County, Tennessee commissioner on August 4.

Dr. Tom Grooms, `70 secondary education, published his latest book titled "Eye on China." Read more.

Clayton Dowell, `09 electrical engineering, was named chief executive officer of Bristol Tennessee Essential Services. He will take the role of interim CEO on Nov. 11 and will assume the role of CEO on Jan. 1, 2023.

Anna Fancher, `18 agriculture, is the new manager for the Tennessee Tech University Oakley Farm Greenhouse Research Complex. Read more.

Skip Rohde, `77 engineering, was featured in an Asheville, North Carolina, Mountain Xpress article titled "New art exhibit raises heavy questions about the future." The article features Skip's painting titled "Pleasantville (A Modern Family)." Read more.

Mary Shelton, `92 music therapy, is the new executive director of Tennessee's Opioid Abatement Council. Read more.

Larry Taylor, `80 mechanical engineering, is featured in "Art Around Tennessee," and his paintings are currently on display in Tech's Accessible Education Center, located in the Roaden University Center. Read more

Photo top left: Larry Taylor's artwork currently on display in Tech's Accessible Education Center. Larry is a 1980 mechanical engineering graduate. (View more paintings on the AEC Facebook page.)

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.


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