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March 2023  

I Heart Tech Students raises more than $110,051 for causes that put students first

I Heart Tech Students

The 5th annual I Heart Tech Students initiative raised $110,051, surpassing the $100,000 goal! Thank you to every member of the Golden Eagle community who made a gift.

This year's I Heart Tech Students fundraising initiative featured more than 25 different causes and focused on scholarships, resources and programs that put students first. The six-week fundraising period ended Monday (celebrating Tech's Charter Day!), and we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of Tech alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends.

While I Heart Tech Students has concluded, it's never too late to help a student in need. Visit to make a gift.

I Heart Tech Students Website

Alumni invited to help recruit the next class of Golden Eagles

An "It's Personal" notecard

At Tennessee Tech, it's personal.

High school students thinking about coming to Tech have so much to consider. The "It's Personal" campaign is your opportunity to show future Golden Eagles what it really means to be part of the Tennessee Tech campus community. Help us reach out to them with personal messages about why YOU think they should choose Tennessee Tech.

On Friday, April 21, we'll host a notecard writing party in the Varsity Building from 2-3:30 p.m. Stop by and meet fellow alumni, enjoy some snacks and write a few notecards to prospective students. We'll have a special gift for everyone who helps us with this initiative.

If you'd like to participate, please register online by Monday, April 10 via the link below.

register to participate

Wings Up Weekend features events for all ages

Wings Up Weekend Logo

Have you marked April 14-15 on your calendar for Wings Up Weekend this year? We have events for all ages!

Don't miss the purple and gold football game, Eagle Works competition and Window on the World on Saturday. And if you were a member of ASB or SGA during your time at Tech, we hope you'll register for our ASB/SGA reunion on Friday! Check out the story below for more details, and visit the Crawford Alumni Center events page to view all of the upcoming events. We hope to see you on campus next month!

Wings Up Weekend Events

Crawford Alumni Center to host SGA and ASB reunion April 14

SGA Graphic with dates of event

Were you a member of the Student Government Association or Associated Student Body during your time at Tech? If so, join us for an SGA/ASB Reunion on Friday, April 14! The event will be held at noon in the Roaden University Center Multipurpose Room. Lunch will be provided, and there is no cost to attend. Click the link below to register.

The SGA/ASB Reunion will be part of Wings Up Weekend, a celebration of all things purple and gold and three days full of events for all ages.

Alumni Association to host Broadway musical event in Chattanooga May 25

Dear Evan Hansen poster

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

purchase tickets

Alumni Association to host Atlanta Braves event May 26


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. EST with a pre-game event beginning at 5:30 p.m. EST. 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.

purchase tickets

Alumni Association Board of Directors seeks new members

Alumni Association Logo

Do you love Tennessee Tech? Do you enjoy staying connected with the university and with your fellow alumni? Do you recognize the value in sharing the story of Tech with others?

If so, you might be the perfect candidate for the Alumni Association Board of Directors! The Association is in search of a few energetic new members who can act as a liaison between alumni and the university, plan and host events for alumni across the country and on campus, help alumni connect with classmates and assist alumni who have questions about Tech.

The Board meets four times each year and assists the Crawford Alumni Center in keeping alumni engaged with Tech. It's a great way to meet new people, plan and attend fun events around the country and learn more about your alma mater!

If you applied in 2022, your application will be re-reviewed for 2023.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please submit the application linked below by April 30.

apply now

Tech women optimistic for future after OVC Championship win

A women's basketball game

As the buzzer sounded at Assembly Hall signaling the end of the contest, there were tears.

Of course there would be -- the tremendous journey the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team went on was an arduous one with a lot to celebrate. The Golden Eagles accomplished a lot -- the program's 10th Ohio Valley Conference tournament championship, its 11th NCAA tournament appearance, its fourth NCAA tournament victory.

read full story

Tech preparing Nuclear Engineering degree

A group of students at a lecturn

In order to address the demand for nuclear engineers across the country, Tennessee Tech University is preparing a new Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering degree.

At its March meeting, the Board of Trustees learned that Tech has notified the Tennessee Higher Education Commission of their plans for a new nuclear engineering program.

read full story

Tennessee Tech celebrates Women's History MonthA group of women during the suffrage movement.

In 1987, March was designated as Women's History Month by the United States Congress. It is a means of appreciating, recognizing and highlighting women's contributions within the world, where it was once neglected.

Tennessee Tech celebrated by hosting several events on campus and by releasing a series of articles about exceptional women leaders in the Tech community.

Click the link below to view the full schedule of events and to learn more about Tech's Women's Center.

women's center website

Tech alumna will lead Ford's Blue Oval City battery plant

Tracy Church

The opportunity to be part of a life changing event for the residents of a small West Tennessee town was one that an alumna of Tennessee Tech University could not pass up. She will be leading operations at the battery plant division in Ford Motor Company's Blue Oval City currently being built and slated to open in 2025.

Tracy Church, a December 1994 graduate of Tech with what was then an industrial engineering degree, is no stranger to automotive manufacturing, as she spent over 27 years at Nissan Motor Corporation. She began as an industrial engineer in 1995, worked her way up the ranks with Nissan, and had reached the position of vice president for powertrain operations when she made the move to Ford last summer.

read full story

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

Students in the Black Cultural Center

Last month we asked the following trivia question:  

What do the letters RACE stand for in Tech's RACE Program? 

Tech's RACE Program (Reaching Achievement and Committed to Excellence) is the Office of Intercultural Affairs' peer mentoring program.

Congratulations to Malcolm P. Quillen, Jr., `63 marketing, who guessed correctly and won some Tech SWAG.

And now for this month's question: 

Our beloved mascot was named Awesome Eagle in 1985. What were the two names he was known by before he became Awesome? Bonus question (for a second entry into the drawing for Tech SWAG): How many times has Awesome Eagle won the UCA Open Mascot National Championship? (Hint: A not-so-little bird Tweeted the answer...)

Photo top left: Wattenbarger Auditorium in Tennessee Tech's Bryan Fine Arts Building, named for James Wattenbarger

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

Friends Remembered

a butterfly

Sherrel Bandaria passed away on Feb. 22, 2023, in Homer Glen, Illinois.

She graduated from Tennessee Tech in 1960 with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education.

She is survived by her husband John Bandaria, her daughters Mina and Alison, her sons-in-law John and Jay, her grandchildren Katy, Meghan and Adrian, and her sister, Doris Howell.

Visitation was held on Friday, March 10, 2023.


Col Buck

Col (Ret.) Robert Harold Buck, 93, of Cookeville died on Feb. 22, 2023.

Col. Buck received his B.S. degree in agriculture from Tennessee Tech in 1950. His esteemed military career spanned 37 years. Col. Buck enlisted in the Tennessee Army National Guard in 1950. He served in several staff positions early in his career and later served as Squadron Commander, 3D Squadron and 278th Armored Calvary Squadron in Cookeville for several years. Prior to his retirement in 1988, he served as Commandant for Tennessee Military Academy in Smyrna, Tennessee.

He was a lifetime member of the First United Methodist Church and a member of the Backsliders Sunday School Class for many years. He was a member of the Al Menah Shriners, Cookeville Masonic Bodies and the Lions Club.

Memorial donations may be made to the Robert and Jewell Buck Scholarship Endowment at Tennessee Tech. You can give online (select "other" and type in the name of the scholarship) or by mailing a check to TTU, Box 1915, Cookeville, TN 38505. Make the check payable to the TTU Foundation and include the name of the scholarship.


Dr. Burnham

Dr. John Burnham, a professor emeritus who served Tennessee Tech's College of Business for nearly 25 years, passed away on March 13, 2023, at the age of 91.

Born in Kentucky, Dr. Burnham moved to Manhattan at a young age and went on to attend the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He saw the world as a cadet and as Second Mate on Texaco oil tankers before working at the U.S. Maritime Commission and even serving as part of the early Apollo program at Cape Kennedy.

A lifelong learner, Dr. Burnham earned his M.S. in mechanical engineering from George Washington University, an MBA from Florida State University and a Ph.D. in business from the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Burnham's work as an educator took him as far away as Venezuela before he made his home in Tennessee and became a fixture on Tech's campus for more than two decades, teaching in the College of Business's Department of Decision Sciences and Management.


Dr. Floyd

Dr. Joe M. Floyd, a professor emeritus who led and mentored Tech students for more than a generation in the College of Engineering, passed away on March 12, 2023, at the age of 90.

Dr. Floyd first came to Tech as an assistant professor of industrial technology (now known as manufacturing and engineering technology) in 1966 and remained at Tech until his retirement in 1995 -- developing new courses and techniques, setting high expectations for his students and himself and constantly working to improve the program.

A native of Oklahoma, Dr. Floyd received a B.S. in industrial arts education from East Central State College and went on to earn a master's degree from Oklahoma State University. He also held a doctorate in industrial technology from Texas A&M University.

Before serving Tech students in the classroom, Dr. Floyd notably served his country in battle, earning a purple heart for wounds sustained in the Korean War. He also taught in the public school system in his hometown of Ada, Oklahoma, and in Bryan, Texas.

Once at Tech, Dr. Floyd earned prestige as a leader in his field. He was a charter member of the National Association of Industrial Technology, Epsilon Pi Tau (EPT) and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Dr. Floyd was also active in the local chapter of EPT.

For nearly 30 years, Tech has awarded the Joe M. Floyd Scholarship in Dr. Floyd's honor.


Dr. Shankaranarayana

Dinesh Shankaranarayana, age 61, passed away on Feb. 16, 2023.

Dinesh was born in India and immigrated to the United States in the 1980s. He had a successful career as an engineer in the field of industrial engineering, working for multinational corporations in Bay Area, California, and Austin, Texas, for many years. In recent years, he and his wife decided to settle in Memphis, where they first met while in college.

Dinesh had a great passion for photography, especially taking portraits. He loved different genres of music and had a great collection. He was a great foodie and relished healthy vegetarian diets. Dinesh also had an adventurous streak in him and loved riding his motor bike and running marathons.

Dinesh and his wife, Bhavna Vyas, are members of the Tennessee Tech President's Club and the donors of the Late Dayalal Lalji Vyas and Saraswati Dayalal Vyas Scholarship at Tech, which they established in memory and honor of Bhavna's parents.


Mrs. Thomas

Carolyn Worthy Thomas of Arvada, Colorado, passed away on Feb. 14, 2023, at the age of 89.

Carolyn was born in Cairo, Georgia. She was a 1972 Tennessee Tech Master of Arts graduate in education guidance and counseling. She had a long career as a librarian and School District Supervisor with the Putnam County School System. She was also an adjunct instructor at Tech, teaching both guidance and counseling and library science.

The Thomas family has close ties with Cookeville. Carolyn's husband, Dr. John D. Thomas, began teaching guidance and counseling at Tech until 1968 and continued until his retirement, at which time then-President Dr. Angelo Volpe conferred upon him the title of Professor Emeritus. John and Carolyn's three sons -- John D. Thomas, Jr., Curtis Thomas and Leonard Thomas, are Tennessee Tech graduates as well.



Archives with Atkinson Graphic

Renovating and Reinventing Research in the Archives' Facility

The Archives

The last time Tech Archives discussed a construction project, we were seeking funding for a storage facility. Though not very glamorous, it was essential in terms of preservation, growing and protecting our collection and future collections. The Archives has expanded significantly since 2020, including a new digitization studio for scanning and digitization equipment; large format paper cutters to make preservation boxes more cost efficient; cold storage for materials that are better preserved in freezing temperatures; and additional Archives personnel to continue service to patrons and make our materials more accessible online. The Archives now hosts a course in the History Department, HIS 3420 Archives Management and Research, which teaches how to find, use and preserve historical materials. These vast changes have created some growing pains in our space, which was built and designed for two people in 1985.

Photo top left: The reading room with a research area and four workstations

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. 

read archives' blog

view university archives' digital collections

learn more about archives and special collections

Follow Tech Archives on Facebook

Class Notes

Julie Baker

Dr. Julie C. Baker, `97 secondary education, `00 M.A. and `10 Ph.D., received the OVC Outstanding Faculty Commitment to Student Success Award for Tennessee Tech.

Bert Browne, `93 health and physical education, is the new head football coach at Albertville High School.

Joe Deering, `00 civil engineering, was promoted to assistant chief engineer of program delivery at the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Dr. Aileen J. Litwin, `10 biology and chemistry, joined Hitchcock Family Medicine in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Tim McDermott, `98 accounting and `02 MBA, has been named chief information officer at Cookeville Regional Medical Center.

Joseph Summers, `11 agriculture, joined Kemin Food Technologies - North America as the technical sales manager.

Photo top left: Dr. Julie C. Baker is among the recipients of the Ohio Valley Conference's inaugural Outstanding Faculty Commitment to Success Awards.

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