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May 2023

Tennessee Tech celebrates more than 1,400 graduates at spring commencement 

Graduates in the College of Fine Arts

More than 1,400 graduates representing 82 counties throughout Tennessee, 19 states and 18 other countries received degrees at Tennessee Tech's spring commencement ceremonies on May 5.

"In just a few minutes, you will have a degree from the number one public university in the state and one of the top-ranked universities in the nation," said Tech President Phil Oldham in his remarks to graduates. "You are set to get a great return on investment because you have what the world wants and desperately needs: talent and tenacity."

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State budget boosts Tech's Rural Reimagined initiative, supports Crossville wind tunnel

Derryberry Hall on the Quad

The Tennessee state budget for the 2024 fiscal year, which passed overwhelmingly last week, secured critical funding for Tennessee Tech University, including $80.5 million in routine state appropriations for the university. Additional budget amendments included $2 million for the university's wind tunnel and supercomputer research facility in Crossville, $1 million for the university's Rural Reimagined initiative and $150,000 to support ongoing research at Tech's water center.

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Gratitude magazine shares stories of donor support

Gratitude 2023

Tennessee Tech's Crawford Alumni Center is excited to share the 2023 edition of Gratitude, a publication dedicated to sharing the stories of generous university donors.

In this edition of Gratitude, you'll learn about Jessica A. Kelley, `18 psychology, and Melissa Burniston Bratton, `06 agriculture, -- alumni whose lives ended too soon but whose memories live on through memorial scholarships. You will read about Jessie, Barbara and Shelby Brooks who decided as a family to establish a scholarship at Tech, and all three members -- father, mother and daughter -- are contributing. You'll meet Hugh Denny, Jake and Amy New, Tommy Stone and Dr. Phyllis Miller -- individuals who credit Tech for successful careers and want to give back. And you will be inspired by the story of Megan Swafford and the scholarship established in her honor.

read gratitude online

Alumni invited to complete survey about Tennessee Tech podcast

A graphic of a mic - Tennessee Tech Podcast

Tennessee Tech is planning to relaunch its podcast within the next few months, and we want your feedback!

Please take a few moments to complete the survey below and let us know what you think about a podcast name, length, format, focus and more.

If there are Tech alumni, faculty, staff, students, local business owners or community leaders you'd like to hear from, we hope you'll let us know this as well. The survey should take less than five minutes to complete.

If you are interested, please complete the survey by June 15. More information about how to listen to Tech's podcast will be shared in the coming months.

Thank you for being a part of shaping this new format for communicating the story of Tennessee Tech!

complete the survey

Make a gift, get an Awesome Eagle

A plush eagle superimposed over a photo of a waterfall in Iceland

What makes an amazing travel photo even better? Tech Pride! And a great cause!

Make a gift of $35 or more to the University Memorial Scholarship by July 15, and receive your very own 6" Awesome Eagle.

Then, show us all of Awesome's adventures this summer. Snap a travel photo of your eagle and share it with us via email ( or by tagging us on Facebook (/tntechalumni) or Instagram (@tntechalumni).

Click the link below to learn more.

And if Awesome's travel adventures have you interested in booking your next vacation, be sure to check out our Golden Eagle Travel program below.

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Golden Eagle Travel program allows alumni to see the world with fellow Tennessee Tech grads

a suitcase with tech stickers

As you make your summer vacation plans, don't forget about Tennessee Tech's Golden Eagle Travel program for alumni and friends! Check out the trips we have planned so far for 2023 and 2024, and we'll unveil some additional plans for 2024 very soon!

golden eagle travel

Explore Canadian Christmas Markets with Tennessee Tech alumni and friends this December

Fairmont Chateau Frontenac Hotel

From Dec. 7-11, 2023, Tennessee Tech alumni will spend four nights in Quebec City and Montreal, Canada, to experience the outdoor Canadian Christmas Markets! Shop for handmade wooden toys, ornaments and local crafts. Enjoy the sound of carolers, music and horse-drawn wagons on cobblestones. Explore the delightfully-decorated town squares with magical streets and the scents of gingerbread. We'll spend two nights at the historic Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal and two nights in one of the most photographed hotels in the world -- the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac Hotel in Quebec City.

Click the link below to view the full itinerary or to sign up using web code 158203. If you'd like a printed brochure mailed to you, email

canadian christmas markets

Alumna-owned travel company offers small group safari tours for alumni and friends

Landscape view of volcano and resort

The Tennessee Tech Crawford Alumni Center is excited to partner with Tech alumna-owned Trailblazer Safaris to offer African safari adventures for alumni and friends. If an African safari has been on your bucket list, we hope you'll consider traveling with us!

We are offering a week-long safari on two dates: Sept. 10-16, 2023 or Feb. 4-10, 2024. The cost per person is $5,500 which does not include international airfare. For more information, visit or contact Melisa Cansado, `05 world cultures and business, at or 573-258-0807. Visit the link below to learn more. 

golden eagle travel

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

Two eagle mascots on Overall Field

Last month we asked the following trivia question:  

The Crawford Alumni Center recently 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?

Prior to being officially known as the Student Government Association, this organization was known as the Associated Student Body, or ASB. But evidence of organized student government can be found in Tech archives as early as 1925, when it was known as United College Classes. 

Congratulations to last month's trivia winner, Geneva Phillips, `10 child and family studies and `13 M.A.!

And now for this month's question: 

What is the name of Awesome Eagle's counterpart mascot pictured above? (In the photo, Awesome Eagle stands next to another eagle mascot who is wearing a suit, holding a cane and sporting a mustache.)

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

Using Voyant to assist in creating subject headings for metadata use in Archives

A word cloud

In the spring of 2023, Archives hosted the class HIST3420 Archives Research and Management. Students learned about archives and worked on projects including preservation, digitization and research. Numerous outcomes from this hardworking class will be shared in upcoming editions of Archives with Atkinson.

In this edition, University Archivist Megan Atkinson shares the work of Olivia Howell, a history major with a minor in digital humanities. Olivia worked with The Oracle newspapers and tested a web-based text analysis tool to determine whether it would assist in archival work. Her results are in this month's blog linked below.

Image description: The Cirrus tool in Voyant creates a word cloud based on the most frequently occurring words in the corpus.

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

Monika Bowman

Monika Bowman

Monika Bowman passed away on Sunday, May 14, 2023, at Cookeville Regional Medical Center.

Monika graduated from Young High School in Knoxville before earning a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Tennessee. She later completed her education with a Master of Science degree in guidance and counseling from Tennessee Tech.

Monika dedicated 36 years of her life to helping others through her work at Cookeville Regional Medical Center, where she served as the social services coordinator. Throughout her career, she served several committees and teams which further enhanced the medical center's service. Monika served on the Ethics Committee, which focused on ensuring that the highest standards of ethical conduct were upheld. Her passion for helping others extended beyond her professional life, as she also served on various community organizations including most recently serving on the board of the Upper Cumberland Broadcast Council.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Monika and Henry Bowman Tennessee Tech Women's Basketball Scholarship Endowment online or by mailing a check to TTU, Box 1915, Cookeville, TN 38505. Be sure to indicate it's for the Monika and Henry Bowman WBB Scholarship Endowment.



Class Notes

Jonathan Frank

Jonathan Frank, `12 political science, has been named Tennessee Tech's news and public relations director. Read more.

Brigadier General Amy Holbeck, `97 biology, will assume the role of chief of staff for the Georgia Air National Guard and is the first female general officer in the history of the Georgia ANG.

Dr. Scott Holcombe, `01 foreign language and electrical engineering, has been named vice president of engineering for Lightbridge Corporation. Lightbridge is an advanced nuclear fuel technology company.

Dr. Don R. Krupp, `88 electrical engineering, was featured in a Redstone Rocket article about his position as associate program manager for NASA's Human Landing System.

Joel Miller, `09 marketing, accepted a position as program analyst with the United States Department of Defense.

Dr. Melody (Mel) Presley, `03 fine arts and `12 Ed.S., has been named the new principal at Park View Elementary School in Cookeville.

Mike Purcell, `81 mechanical engineering, received the RE/MAX 100% Club Award which recognizes high-achieving real estate professionals for their service to buyers and/or sellers.

Eric Ray, `00 business management, has been named vice president for human resources at Colorado State University.

Dr. Amanda Roberts, `01 agriculture, `17 M.A. and `18 Ph.D., is the author of LITE: The High Treason Incident, which was recently named a 2022 Forward INDIES Finalist.

Capt. James D. Stallings, `54 agricultural science, was added to the National Security Agency's Cryptologic Wall this month. Capt. Stallings was an electronic warfare cryptologic officer. On Sept. 25, 1966, Capt. Stallings was killed when his vehicle hit an anti-tank mine and came under enemy fire in Vietnam. The NSA's National Cryptologic Memorial honors those who served in silence.

Bobby Winningham, `77 physical education, `86 M.A. and `88 Ed.S., retired from Parkview Elementary School in Cookeville after 45 years as a teacher, coach, principal and mentor.

Photo top left: Jonathan Frank, `12 political science, returns to Tennessee Tech as News and Public Relations Director

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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