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August 2023

Theme set for Tennessee Tech's 92nd Homecoming on Nov. 4

Once Upon A Homecoming

Get ready to tell the story of Tennessee Tech Homecoming on Nov. 4!

The day will kick off with the Homecoming Parade at 10:30 a.m. along Dixie Avenue, followed by the Homecoming Football Game at 1:30 p.m. in Tucker Stadium against UT Martin. Alumni and friends are invited to enjoy free breakfast and watch the parade at the Varsity Building Saturday morning. On Saturday evening, the Crawford Alumni Center and Alumni Association will host the annual Evening of Excellence which includes the Class of 1973 Golden Grad Reunion and Alumni Awards. Many colleges and departments will be hosting tailgate lunches and other events throughout the day as well.

More information will be shared on the Crawford Alumni Center website in the coming weeks as details are finalized.

crawford alumni center events

Tennessee Tech welcomes new freshman class

aerial photo of students forming the word TECH on Overall Field

On Aug. 17, Tennessee Tech kicked off the Fall 2023 semester and welcomed a new freshman class to campus. This freshman class includes students from 85 of the 95 Tennessee counties, 28 other states and 21 other countries, and ages ranging from 16 to 50.

We are glad to have students back on campus, and we give a special welcome to the Class of 2027!

Cookeville mayor, Tech's Chief Diversity Officer headline premiere episode of new podcast, "College Town Talk"

Cookeville Mayor Laurin Wheaton and Chief Diversity Officer Rob Owens

Tennessee Tech announced the launch of a new podcast titled "College Town Talk." The weekly program features in-depth conversations with Tech faculty, staff, students and alumni, as well as local business owners and civic leaders.

The premiere episode is available now and features interviews with Cookeville Mayor Laurin Wheaton and Tech Chief Diversity Officer Robert Owens.

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Human Ecology alumna shows Tech Pride at ETEC's Nuclear Opportunities Workshop

Shannon Potter in front of a UCOR sign

Shannon Potter, `02 human ecology, attended the East Tennessee Economic Council (ETEC's) Nuclear Opportunities Workshop in Knoxville earlier this month. And she brought Awesome Eagle with her!

Potter is the Community Outreach and Workforce Development Coordinator for United Cleanup of Oak Ridge (UCOR) LLC. UCOR is the lead cleanup contractor for the Department of Energy Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management, dedicated to cleaning up contaminated, unused facilities on the Oak Ridge Reservation.

Biology alumnus supports Oak Ridge National Lab and Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment with Awesome Eagle in tow

A little stuffed Tech eagle in front of a whale bone arch

Michael Jones, `08 biology, recently visited Barrow, Alaska, to support the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment. And Awesome Eagle joined him! Awesome is pictured in front of Whale Bone Arch.

Thank you, Michael, for the important work you're doing for ORNL and for sharing this photo with us!

Awesome Eagle navigates Danube River on Viking River Cruise

A little stuffed Tech eagle at St. Stephen's Cathedral and on a river ship.Awesome Eagle recently had the opportunity to experience a Viking River Cruise, traveling from Amsterdam to Budapest! Alumnus Richard Wheeler, `73 industrial engineering, and his wife Lee accompanied Awesome on the journey.

Awesome attended a concert at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Passau, Germany, which has the largest pipe organ in Europe. Later, he was discovered in the wheelhouse of the river ship, helping the captain navigate the Danube on the way to Budapest.

Thanks, Richard, for sharing these photos with us and for showing your Tech Pride internationally!

Great Trains & Grand Canyons virtual travel talk to be held Sept. 7

The Grand CanyonAre you interested in the March 3-8, 2024 Great Trains & Grand Canyons alumni trip?

If so, you'll want to join us for a virtual travel talk on Sept. 7 at 5 p.m., hosted by Jennifer Powers from Premier World Discovery. Whether you've already signed up, plan to do so, or just want more information, this is a great opportunity to learn more and ask questions.

Please register via the link below if you wish to attend. The travel talk will be held virtually via Microsoft Teams, and you'll receive the Teams meeting link after you register. It's free to participate in the virtual travel talk, and there's no obligation to sign up for the trip.

You can view the full Great Trains & Grand Canyons itinerary via the link below. Wings Up Across America!

Great Trains & Grand Canyons Itinerary

Tech memorializes distinguished alumnus, community leader with naming of Noble Cody Circle

The Cody family with the Oldhams.

Tennessee Tech posthumously honored a distinguished alumnus, community leader and Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame inductee with the naming of a street on Tech's campus in his memory.

The semi-circle off McGee Boulevard outside Tech's Hooper Eblen Center will now be known as Noble Cody Circle in memory of Noble Cody, who passed away in 2016. Members of the Cody family, friends and admirers attended a naming ceremony and reception memorializing Cody's legacy.

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Tennessee Tech offers new online Ph.D. in higher education

Students using virtual reality headsetsThe College of Education is introducing a new doctoral program to its selection of post-graduate degrees. Starting this fall, the online Ph.D. in higher education, with a focus on data science and designed for professionals in the field interested in applying in-depth knowledge and technological resources, will be available.

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New Tennessee Tech yard signs are here

A Tennessee Tech yard sign

New Tennessee Tech yard signs are here!

Tech yard signs are free and available to pick up on campus at the Crawford Alumni Center inside the Varsity Building (705 N Dixie Ave) and at the University Bookstore inside the Roaden University Center. Signs are also available for pick up at the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce in the Leslie Town Centre.

Thank you for showing your Tech Pride!

Alumni invited to share favorite memories of Tucker Stadium

Tucker Stadium

The Fall 2023 football season will be the last season in the existing Tucker Stadium, so we invite Tech alumni to share their favorite memories of Tucker Stadium via the link below. This might be your favorite moment as a football player, cheerleader or band member. Maybe you were on the Homecoming court, or maybe you just enjoyed attending games with your sorority sisters, fraternity brothers or best friends. Whatever the memory, we hope you'll share it with us and join us this season as we say a fond farewell and prepare for an exciting new stadium experience.

share tucker stadium memories

read more about tucker stadium project

Donor Spotlight

Adedeji and Isiwatu Badiru International Student Scholarship recognizes Tennessee Tech as caring and supportive campus community for international students

Iswat and Deji Badiru

Dr. Adedeji "Deji" Badiru, `79 industrial engineering, `81 M.S. and `82 M.S., and Isiwatu "Iswat" Badiru, `83 human ecology, say they are forever grateful for the opportunity to study as international students at Tennessee Tech. Now, they hope to provide opportunities for future international students through the Adedeji and Isiwatu Badiru International Student Scholarship Endowment.

"The depth and breadth of education that we received at Tech could not have happened anywhere else," they said. "Tech paved the way for our personal growth, career advancement and professional accomplishments. The Tech faculty who figuratively adopted us during our studies have continued to be our close friends and supporters."

The Badirus came to Tech from Nigeria in 1976. Deji wanted to study engineering and chose Tech because it matched his desire to attend a technological university.

The Badirus say some of their fondest memories are the professors who became like family members.

"Dr. Carroll Viera (then Dr. Carroll Miller) and Dr. Sid Gilbreath, both now retired, were the two Tennessee Tech professors who took us in as mentees," Deji said. "They are still engaged in supporting us today."

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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 question

Leonard Crawford, Maurice Haste, John Oldham, Preston Overall and Malcolm Quillen, 1967

Last month we asked the following trivia question:  

What beloved coach of not just one but THREE sports (football, baseball and basketball) began his coaching career at Tennessee Tech 100 years ago, in 1923?

The answer was Coach Preston Vaughn (P.V.) "Putty" Overall (1897-1974). Read more about Coach Overall in a University Archives blog post about the Coach P.V. Overall Collection and Scrapbook. 

Congratulations to our winner, Fred Thomas, `75 health education and `76 M.A. And thank you to all of the alumni who participated this month and shared fond memories of Coach Overall. 

And now for this month's question: 

Each fall, Tennessee Tech hosts a formal ceremony of the freshman class where new students are inducted into the academic community of the university. What is this ceremony called?

Photo top left: Leonard Crawford, Maurice Haste, John Oldham, Preston Overall and Malcolm Quillen, 1967. (Source: Tennessee Tech 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! 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 

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Archives with Atkinson Graphic

Meet the new Archives Assistant!

Tammy George

The Archives is expanding, and with it comes a new Archives Assistant to help us increase our digital resources and online accessibility! Welcome the new Archives Assistant, Tammy George!

Tammy began her new role as an Archives Assistant in July 2023, but she is no stranger to the university or the campus library. Tammy has worked for Tennessee Tech for the past six years, and her previous role was in the Volpe Library's administration office. It was here that she had her first opportunity to work on a project for the Archives, during the summer of 2022.

According to Tammy, her project with the Archives quickly became one of the most interesting jobs she has participated in during the course of her employment with Tech. She reviewed the newly-digitized Eagle yearbooks and created metadata for the online digital content management system. This project was unique and she found herself learning facts and history about Tech that she had not known before, which revealed information about the campus, its buildings and notable places in Cookeville. History and social studies were always her favorite subjects in school, and she feels very fortunate to have joined the Archives team to further explore her interests.

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.

archives' blog

Friends Remembered

Judy Cantrell

Judy Cantrell

Judy Dianne Cantrell of Cookeville, Tenn., passed away on July 20, 2023.

She was born on August 3, 1945 in Sparta, Tenn.

As a mother, sister, aunt and friend, she exhibited strength, wisdom, patience and grace. In her community, Judy showed intelligence, drive and insight. As a woman well ahead of her time, she helped establish Cantrell Financial Services.

Her most precious and cherished role was that of "Grammie" to her two grandchildren with whom she shared her heart.

A celebration of life was held on August 3, 2023 -- Judy's birthday.

Our thoughts are with Judy's husband of 55 years, Jerry Cantrell, and the entire Cantrell family. Jerry and Judy are longtime members of the Tennessee Tech President's Club, Tech's prestigious giving society.


Class Notes

Shayan Khan

Gail Vaughn Ashworth, `77 music education and `79 M.A., was named one of the "Best of the Bar" by the Nashville Business Journal. Ashworth is a founding member of Wiseman Ashworth Trauger.

Tara Cowan, `14 political science, was featured in a Tennessee Tech article titled "Tech alumna finds success as fiction writer." 

Hunter Daniels, `16 wildlife and fisheries science, was named Mississippi Flyway Waterfowl Enforcement Officer of the Year. Daniels is a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency wildlife officer in Wilson County, Tenn.

Dr. Krista Davis, `19 M.A. curriculum and instruction and `20 Ph.D., is the new director of Research Assessment & Evaluation for Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Dr. Necole Huey Elizer, `12 multidisciplinary studies, `18 M.A. and `21 Ph.D., is the new coordinator of Evaluation & Research Liaison for Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Kyle Graves, `16 music, is the new band director for Franklin-Simpson High School in Kentucky.

Matthew Hamby, `15 civil engineering, has been appointed the Nashville branch manager for Bowman Consulting Group.

Dr. Ryan Hunley, `12 biology, joined State of Franklin Healthcare Associates at Mountain Region Family Medicine in Kingsport, Tenn.

Shayan Khan, `18 electrical engineering, was featured in a Tennessee Tech article titled "Tech alum's higher education reform solutions gain an audience at G7 summit."

Dr. Aileen Litwin, `10 chemistry and biology, opened Happy Healthy Pediatrics.

Brooke Mayo, `11 exercise science, physical education and wellness, was selected to officiate the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup Final. She is a former Tech soccer player.

Ray McCay, `79 computer science, has been named chief revenue officer for Cyemptive Technologies, a cybersecurity company that provides information technology infrastructure solutions.

Sarah McDonnell, `18 music, was featured in an article in The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet titled "Mt. Juliet Mover: Sarah McDonnell, co-owner of McDonnell and Vaughan Music Studios."

Eduardo Menta Rodado, `18 exercise science, physical education and wellness and `20 M.A., is the new men's assistant tennis coach at the University of Memphis. He is a former member of Tech's tennis team.

Hailey Sullivan, `14 family and consumer science and `23 M.S., was featured in a Tennessee Tech Alumni Stories article about her career in community health and nutrition. Sullivan is the nutrition director for the Jackson County School System in Tennessee.

Shelia Swift, `92 nursing, has been named executive associate dean of Academic Affairs for the University of Tennessee-Knoxville College of Nursing.

Jeff Wilson, `96 wildlife and fisheries science, was promoted to captain with the Johnson City Police Department.

Photo: Shayan Khan, `18 electrical engineering, is chairman and co-founder of the U7+ Student & Alumni Network.

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