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April 2023

Family Weekend, Homecoming dates, times set for 2023 football schedule

Cheerleaders running with flags

With spring football in full swing, it's not too early to look ahead to fall football events as the Tennessee Tech football team has a couple of scheduled dates to mark on the calendar.

Family Weekend is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 23, at 6 p.m. as the Golden Eagles host Kennesaw State. Family Weekend is traditionally a chance for the parents and families of Tech students to visit the campus community.

The annual Homecoming game will be held on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 1:30 p.m. as Tech hosts UT Martin. The game is the cornerstone of the week's Homecoming festivities with multiple campus activities, including the annual Homecoming parade, the TTU Sports Hall of Fame induction and the coronation of the Homecoming court, among many other events.

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Tennessee Tech alumni representing seven decades attend Student Government Association reunion

The SGA reunion

On April 14, 2023, Tennessee Tech’s Crawford Alumni Center and the Tennessee Tech Alumni Association hosted a Student Government Association reunion. SGA alumni from every decade from the 1950s through the 2020s attended and shared their stories with one another and with current SGA members.

Addison Dorris, the 2022-23 Student Government Association President, spoke to the alumni in attendance.

"Tennessee Tech has changed a lot of ways over the years," Dorris said. "There are a lot of new buildings and student spaces and construction, but regardless of how many changes have been made on campus, one thing has remained constant. And that constant is Tennessee Tech’s sense of community. Students, faculty, staff and Cookevillians hold a strong bond with one another, and that bond is still unique to our campus. Another constant is the nature of our work as the Student Government Association. When you were involved in SGA, I’m sure you were all very passionate about advocating for changes to improve the student experience, and that passion for advocacy and change is still present and flourishing in today’s SGA."

Alumni invited to Dear Evan Hansen Broadway musical and pre-show event in Chattanooga May 25

Dear Evan Hansen

On Thursday, May 25, the Tennessee Tech Alumni Association will host a pre-show reception at 6 p.m. EDT at the Tivoli Theatre in Chattanooga, Tennessee, prior to a performance of the musical Dear Evan Hansen, which begins at 7 p.m. EDT. The cost is $60 which includes a pre-show reception featuring hors d'oeuvres and non-alcoholic beverages (alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase) and a ticket to the musical.

Tickets are limited, so register via the link below as soon as possible if you are interested in this event.

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Alumni Association to host Atlanta Braves event May 26

Truist Park

On Friday, May 26, the Tennessee Tech Alumni Association will host an alumni event at Truist Park in Atlanta, Georgia, when the Atlanta Braves take on the Philadelphia Phillies. Game time is 7:20 p.m. EDT with a pre-game event beginning at 5:30 p.m. EDT. The cost is $86 which includes the pre-game event, meal and ticket to the game. The menu includes hot dogs, hamburgers, salads, desserts, soft drinks, popcorn, kettle chips and peanuts.

This is one of our most popular alumni events! It sells out every year so if you are interested, please purchase your tickets as soon as possible via the link below.

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Tech to offer B.S. in music with live audio concentration

students watch a professor at a digital mixing board

Starting this fall, Tennessee Tech will offer a bachelor of science in music with a degree option that focuses on live audio. The new program is designed specifically to train audio engineers for future careers in the live performance industry -- mixing sound for live events which might include concerts for touring musicians, theatrical productions and services for large houses of worship.

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James Wilson recognized as 2023 Athletics Outstanding Alumni Award winner

President Phil Oldham, Kari Oldham, James Wilson, and Mark Wilson

James Wilson was recently honored as the 2023 recipient of the Tennessee Tech Athletics Outstanding Alumni Award, choosing to accept his honor at the Golden Eagle baseball team's inaugural First Pitch Banquet at the Salt Box Inn. On hand to present the annual award to Wilson were President Dr. Phil Oldham, First Lady Kari Oldham and Director of Athletics Mark Wilson.

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Tech alumna touches lives of Cookeville High students

Lori Strode

When Lori Strode came to Tennessee Tech University, she found herself overwhelmed within her first semester. She was dealing with an illness in her family, she wasn't sure what career she wanted to work toward and her grades had fallen so much that she was in danger of losing her scholarships.

When she visited the academics office to talk about her impending academic probation, she was on the verge of quitting college completely. However, the woman sitting across from her in that office listened carefully to her struggles and helped her figure out how to get back on track.

"I did fine from there on out," Strode said. "She had probably had, I don't know, 50 to 100 of those interactions that day, and I just happened to be one of them, but it totally shifted my trajectory back to where it needed to be. You know how a pebble can change the direction of a stream? You don't know when you are that pebble for someone -- when you're that person or that interaction that sends someone on a new path."

Strode had this in the back of her mind when she graduated from Tech with a degree in elementary education and headed out into the world to teach math and language arts to seventh and fifth graders. Though she loved this kind of teaching, she soon realized that she wanted to provide another kind of help -- the help she had been given back when she had been an overwhelmed college student.

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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

Awesome Eagle with his award

Last month we asked the following trivia question:  

Our beloved mascot was named Awesome Eagle in 1985. What names was he known by before he became Awesome? Bonus question: How many times has Awesome Eagle won the UCA Open Mascot National Championship?

Tech's mascot was originally known as Golden Eagle, followed by Evel Eagle. In the late 1970s, he was known as Tommy Tech or just Tommy, but this was actually the logo rather than a suited mascot. Awesome has won the UCA Open Mascot National Championship an impressive THREE times -- in 2014, 2015 and 2018. 

Congratulations to Jake Judd, `76 physical education, who won some Tech SWAG! 

And now for this month's question: 

This month, the Crawford Alumni Center hosted a reunion for Student Government Association alumni. But this student organization wasn't always known as SGA. It actually had two previous names. What were they? If you know BOTH previous names (one is a bit tricky and wasn't an official student organization), you'll be entered into the drawing TWICE!

Photo top left: Awesome Eagle wins 2018 UCA Open Mascot National Championship

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

Donor Spotlight

Retired U.S. Army Colonel, MBA grad establishes scholarship for transfer and readmitted students

On his last day as an Army Senior Executive, Rickey Smith and his wife Margaret participated in a Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Rickey Smith, `87 MBA, dedicated his career -- including three years as an assistant professor of military science and enrollment officer with Tennessee Tech -- to serving his country. Now, he wants to give back and has established a scholarship to help students who have a gap in their enrollment finish their degree.

"I had a gap in my education because of Army assignments, almost to where I couldn't use some of my original credits," Smith said. "I want to allow someone else to get a leg up and go back to school."

The Rickey E. Smith Return for Degree Scholarship is awarded to College of Business transfer or readmitted students who earned their last college credit at least three years prior. Preference will be given to students currently serving in the military or honorably discharged veterans and their spouses.

Photo Description: On his last day as an Army Senior Executive, Rickey Smith and his wife Margaret participated in a Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.

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Archives with Atkinson Graphic

Recreating campus scenes: Tech's campus then and now

The university center then and nowOur latest exhibit, "Recreating Campus Scenes: Tennessee Tech's Campus Then and Now," showcases archival photographs from the Photo Services collection dating from 1919 to the 1980s and places them next to their updated versions for visual comparison.

The exhibit was created by Archives Assistant Jenny Huffman using historic photographs and photographs of campus created by students in the HIST 3420: Archive Management and Research class. Students were provided historic pictures of buildings from Photo Services with the instruction to take pictures from the same angle and place as the historic photographs. Students then scanned the historic images and dated the pictures using resources in the archives.

Jenny used the historic photographs and the students' pictures to create the digital exhibit showing how Tech's campus has grown exponentially since its inception as the University of Dixie in 1909. Documented in this exhibit are some of the buildings on campus and a brief history of those buildings, including name changes. Like the ever-changing scenery at Tech, the exhibit will grow as more photographs are digitized from our collection.

Many of the images are without people, and the students found that recreating those campus scenes was relatively simple. Other building images included former Tech students in various situations, like participating in a fire drill, sitting on the Quad or walking in front of buildings. The students improvised and recreated some of those scenes to the best of their abilities. Of particular note is a recreated image of a student laying on the railing outside of the Roaden University Center.

Image description: Image on the left is of the University Center, circa 1975. Image on the right is of Roaden University Center, 2023. Both photos are taken from the steps next to Henderson Hall.

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.

Then and Now Exhibit Online

Friends Remembered

Bro. Hardy "Jack" Evans

Bro. Jack EvansBro. Hardy "Jack" Evans was born in Hamilton, OH, on Aug. 20, 1947, and was raised in Gallatin, TN. He graduated from Gallatin High School and attended Tennessee Tech where he was drafted by the U.S. Army. He served two years active duty including a year on the ground in Vietnam in 1969. He returned to Tech to finish his degree in business administration where he met his wife of 49 years, Dianne Taylor.

Jack was a true entrepreneur, having studied engineering and business while working in insurance, surveying and real estate. It was not long before he felt the call to ministry. He attended New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary where he received his Master of Divinity. After seminary, Bro. Jack was called to pastor his first church, Sloam Baptist Church in Meadville, MS. He served there for 10 years.

In 1991, the Evans family was called to serve at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Greenbrier where Bro. Jack served as pastor. In 2000, Bro. Jack was asked to serve as the chaplain for the Greenbrier Fire Department to assist families in need on emergency calls and provide support to members of the department. It was not long before he saw how great the need was for volunteers, and he served as a volunteer firefighter. He completed his firefighter I and emergency medical responder certifications to be a first responder. He was promoted to captain and continued in the chaplain role for 20 years.

Harriet Sue Hall

Harriet Sue HallHarriet Sue (Hooper) Hall passed away Oct. 24, 2022, at Cookeville Regional Medical Center. She was 79. She was born Oct. 29, 1942, in Cookeville to the late Edward "Ed" H. and Frances Jacobs Hooper.

She attended Cookeville Central High and earned a bachelor's degree from Tennessee Tech University. She was married Aug. 22, 1964, to Phil Hall. Harriet Sue began her 30-year career as a teacher at the former Dry Valley School, moving to Northeast Elementary at the opening of the school where she taught kindergarten for many years until her retirement.

Harriet Sue lived a very active and social life, involving herself in many organizations. She was an Alpha Delta Pi sorority alum and a member of the Tech Women's Club for many years. She was also a member of the Eagle Society in Tennessee Tech's President's Club.

While teaching and in retirement, she was active in both the Putnam County, Tennessee Education Associations and ADK, an International Honorary Organization for Women Educators. In addition, she remained connected to her former colleagues as a member of the Northeast retired teachers group. Also, she was a founding member of the Junior Women's Club and a member of Town & Gown. Harriet Sue loved the community and cherished the many deep relationships and friendships formed from her involvement. She was a member of Jefferson Ave Church of Christ.

She bravely faced health issues in her retirement years, surviving cancer on two occasions and enduring a Parkinson's disease diagnosis. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a sister, Helen Ann Hooper Ward and brother-in-law, Harry H. Ward. She is survived by her husband of 58 years, Phil Hall; sons Philip (LeeAnn) Hall and Rex Hall; grandson Ryan Hall; and by nephews Harry H. (Samantha) Ward, Jr. and Andrew (Beth) Hooper Ward of Nashville.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Edward H. Hooper Business Scholarship Fund at Tennessee Tech online or by mailing a check to TTU, Box 1915, Cookeville, TN 38505. Indicate the name of the scholarship in the online form or on the check. Make checks payable to the TTU Foundation.

Sammy Carlton Pyle

Sammy Carlton PyleSammy Carlton Pyle passed away on Jan. 12, 2023, at the age of 70.

He was born on Aug. 21, 1952, in Madison, TN. Very early in his school years, he knew he wanted to be a geologist.

His studies took him to Tennessee Tech, and he turned that into a 50-year career in the oil and gas industry. That career path took him to New Orleans, LA, and eventually to Lafayette, LA, for 45 years. He met his wife, Lorene, at Tech, and they were married for 49 years.

Sammy served 30 years in student ministry at various churches in Lafayette, LA. He taught Sunday school all of those years, including 8th grade boys, junior and senior high school coed classes and finally college student ministry.

He and Lorene loved working together on food drives, mission trips, prison ministries and a long-running high school prayer breakfast every Friday morning.

Dr. Edmond Pierce Ryan

Dr. Edmond RyanDr. Edmond Pierce Ryan passed away on April 11, 2023 after an extended illness.

Dr. Ryan was a graduate of the University of Florida, the University of Tennessee and the University of New Mexico Albuquerque where he received his doctorate. Dr. Ryan was a Vietnam War veteran, where he served as a Captain. He returned to teach at The Citadel Military College in South Carolina and later relocated to Tennessee Tech where he taught engineering for 38 years.

Dr. Ryan loved teaching and was always available to his students. He relayed his Vietnam War experience to his classes, as this was where he received the practical experiences of building bridges and roads and blowing them up to test the designs. Always modest, he gave the credit of his success to his men.



Class Notes

Rachel Patterson

Dr. Amanda Carroll, `12 Ph.D. environmental sciences, was recently appointed as an associate member of the American Chemical Society Committee on Education (SOCED) as well as chair of the SOCED Undergraduate Student Advisory Board (USAB). Dr. Carroll is a senior lecturer in Tennessee Tech's Chemistry Department.

Dr. Chester Goad, `98 secondary education and `02 M.A., has been named president-elect for the National Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD). Dr. Goad is director of the Accessible Education Center at Tennessee Tech.

Angela McCuiston, `03 music, was featured in a Tennessee Tech alumni stories article about her career path after graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree in Flute Performance. Angela has many titles: musician, musician fitness specialist, corrective exercise specialist, senior fitness specialist, cancer exercise specialist, author and current member of the 313th Army Band in Huntsville, AL.

Dr. Justin McCulley, `06 Ed.S. instructional leadership, has been named principal at East Hamilton Middle School.

Dana McWilliams, `94 health and physical education and `08 M.A., was inducted into the Basketball Coaches Association of Tennessee Hall of Fame last month. Coach McWilliams is the head women's basketball coach at Upperman High School.

Rachel Patterson, `22 professional studies, was featured in a Tennessee Tech career stories article this month. Rachel is currently pursuing a Master's in Professional Studies with a concentration in healthcare administration and is a graduate assistant in University Advancement.

John Searby, `02 M.A. English, is the new executive director for the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden.

Rachel Smalling, `14 music, was featured in a Tennessee Tech article titled "Tech alumna comes full circle with role at Summer Music Institute."

Steven Wildsmith, `93 journalism, was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame.

Adam Zwicker, `06 history, is now a partner at the law firm Gallagher Sharp LLP. Adam received his law degree from Wayne State University Law School, is a member of the Transportation Lawyers Association (TLA), the State Bar of Michigan and the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel.

Photo top left: Rachel Patterson, `22 professional studies

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


Giving to Tennessee Tech