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February 2024

Sixth annual I Heart Tech Students runs through March 27

I Heart Tech Students

Tennessee Tech's 6th annual I Heart Tech Students fundraising initiative kicked off on Feb. 14 and will run through Mar. 27. For six weeks, the Golden Eagle community will come together to raise money for areas that put students first. Whether you decide to support the Eagle Assistance Grant, Food Pantry, Women's Center, Tech Athletics or the department of your major, your gift has a direct and immediate impact on students.

Click the link below to learn more!

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Tennessee Tech alumni and students help shape groundbreaking local tribute to Black history

Performers at the spoken word event

When the curtain rose on Feb. 9 for the opening night of "I Am My Ancestors' Wildest Dream," the Cookeville Theatre Company's original production celebrating the struggles and triumphs of Black history, audiences saw dazzling performances of spoken word, song, dancing and art. What they may not have immediately recognized, however, is the hand of Tennessee Tech students, alumni and staff in bringing the groundbreaking production to life.

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Tennessee Tech alumni, trustees Fred Lowery and Tom Jones pledge $1 million to university athletics

Tom Jones and Fred Lowery

A pair of Tennessee Tech alumni, Board of Trustees members and philanthropists pledged a combined $1 million to support the university's athletic programs.

Fred Lowery, a Knoxville native and 1994 Tech football alumnus with a degree in mechanical engineering, pledged $500,000 toward the campaign to rebuild the west side of Tech's football stadium and construct a dedicated football operations center.

Lowery now serves as senior vice president and president of customer channels for Thermo Fisher Scientific. A university trustee since 2019, Lowery is also the founder of the Lowery Family Fund, which supports education, leadership development, social justice, health equity and the arts.

Tom Jones, a Cookeville native and 1986 Tech graduate with a degree in electrical engineering, pledged $500,000 toward the establishment of a new running track. The existing track spanning the perimeter of the university's football field will be removed as part of the stadium renovation plan, which calls for bringing spectator seating closer to the field.

Jones, who ran track for Cookeville High School using the Tech track, is now the president of Research Electronics International (REI). He has served on the university's Board of Trustees since 2017 and was the board's first chairman from 2017 to 2019.

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100-year-old Tennessee Tech alumnus, 1949 electrical engineering graduate reflects on education that led to successful career

Mr. Boehms

James "Jim" Herschel Boehms turned 100 years young on Feb. 15, 2024.

Jim's nephew Bill Norton says the secret to turning 100 is that his uncle has done a lot of things right in his life: a Tennessee Tech electrical engineering degree which led to a successful career as an engineer with Tennessee Valley Authority, a loving family and a fulfilling retirement. Jim says many of his life's successes might not have happened if it weren't for Tech.

"Tech gave me the background, education and confidence to step into a new place and a new job," Jim said. "I couldn't have done anything, really, without my degree from Tech. Tech has always opened doors for me."

Jim enrolled at Tech (then known as Tennessee Polytechnic Institute) in 1941 through the National Youth Administration (NYA) program, which paid for his tuition.

"I chose Tennessee Tech because it had "tech" in its name," Jim said. "I liked that Tech had a technical focus. The rest is history."

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Tennessee Tech to celebrate 100 years of The Oracle April 13

Oracle 100th Anniversary Celebration

Join us for The Oracle's 100th anniversary! All Tennessee Tech alumni who worked on The Oracle are invited to a celebration on Saturday, April 13, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Roaden University Center's Tech Pride Room. Share your favorite memories from your time on The Oracle staff and meet the current staff members. We'll offer tours of The Oracle suite, and a light lunch will be provided. This event is sponsored by the Tennessee Tech Alumni Association and is free to attend. Please register via the link below.

register now

Join fellow alumni for axe throwing in Kingsport, Tenn. March 22

King's Sport Axe House

Join Tennessee Tech alumni and friends on Friday, March 22 at King's Sport Axe House (located inside High Voltage event center) in Kingsport, Tenn., for some axe throwing!

The cost is $30 per person and includes admission to the event space and axe throwing. Food will be available for purchase from the Fuse Box, located inside High Voltage, and the Brunch Box 432 food truck is scheduled to be on site as well.

Learn more about the venue on the King's Sport Axe House FAQ page. All participants will be required to sign a waiver.

Registration closes March 10 or when the event sells out. Contact or 931-372-6150 if you have any questions. Space is limited, so please register as soon as possible if you are interested!


Join fellow alumni for an Atlanta Braves game June 15

Guests at the Hang Aaron Terrace

Join alumni and friends June 15 for an Atlanta Braves game (vs. the Tampa Bay Rays) and pre-game alumni event at Truist Park in Atlanta. Game time is 4:10 p.m. and gates open two hours prior. The pre-game gathering will be held in the Hank Aaron Terrace at Truist Park, a climate-controlled space with views of the field. We have access to the first three rows immediately outside of the enclosed areas (as depicted in the photo), and guests may move freely between indoors and outdoors.

The cost is $110 and includes the pre-game event, buffet-style meal and game ticket. The menu includes burgers (including veggie burgers), hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken tenders, nacho bar, cole slaw, french fries, onion rings, soft pretzels, cracker jacks, popcorn, cookies and fountain drinks.

Contact or 931-372-6150 with questions. Registration closes March 10 or when the event sells out. Tickets are limited!


Join the Tennessee Tech Alumni Association LinkedIn group

Alumni Association Seal

Did you know the Tennessee Tech Alumni Association has a LinkedIn group? It's a great place to meet fellow alumni, network, share achievements and stay up to date on Tennessee Tech news!

Have you recently been promoted? Won an award? Been selected to serve on a board? Written a book? We want to know about it, and so do your fellow alumni! We hope you'll join the group and share your accomplishments. You can post them within the group yourself, or send them to and we'll share them for you.

We'll also share your good news in the Class Notes section of The Alumnus e-newsletter.

Click the link below to join the group. Hope to see you on LinkedIn!

join the alumni association linkedin group

Alumni explore Africa with Tech alumna-owned safari company

Alumni stand with the safari jeep

Several Tennessee Tech alumni just returned from an African Safari in Tanzania led by a Tech alumna-owned travel company!

Melisa Cansado (`05 world cultures and business and `08 MBA) co-owns Trailblazer Safaris and partnered with Tech's Crawford Alumni Center to offer small-group travel experiences for alumni and friends. The travelers visited Serengeti National Park, Tarangire National Park, Olduvai Gorge and Ngorongoro Crater; experienced a hot air balloon ride; and saw amazing wildlife and scenery. Thanks to John Burch (`88 mechanical engineering) for sharing his photos with us.

To find out how you can join the next African Safari, email alumni@tntech.

Register now for Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Festival Oct. 9-14

Hot air balloons in a clear blue sky

Tennessee Tech alumni and friends are invited to join the Crawford Alumni Center for a trip to New Mexico! From Oct. 9-14, 2024, we'll enjoy New Mexico's beautiful landscapes, history and architecture. We'll spend three nights in Santa Fe and two nights in Albuquerque. The highlight of this tour is the Albuquerque Balloon Festival -- the world's largest hot-air balloon event.

Click the link below to view the full itinerary or to sign up using web code 167745.

golden eagle travel

Donor Spotlight

Tai Payne Hintz Annual Nursing Scholarship honors nursing grad

Douglas and Felecia Payne with Tai Payne Hintz.

Douglas and Felecia Payne established the Tai Payne Hintz Annual Nursing Scholarship in honor of their daughter, Tai, a two-time Tennessee Tech alumna.

Tai received her bachelor's degree in nursing in 2017 and her master's degree in nursing in 2023. The Paynes say the support Tai received from Tech's Whitson-Hester School of Nursing led to a nursing position in Nashville and the successful completion of Family Nurse Practitioner training.

As a thank you to Tech and the WHSON for all they did for their daughter, the Paynes established the scholarship to help the next generation of nursing students.

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

Leona Lusk-Officer

Last month we asked the following trivia question:  

The Leona Lusk Officer Black Cultural Center at Tennessee Tech is named after the university's first black graduate. What year did Leona Lusk Officer graduate? Bonus question: What was her major?

The answers are 1965 and elementary education. Congratulations to Bethany Jones (`22 interdisciplinary studies) who guessed correctly and won some Tech SWAG.

The Black Cultural Center was established in 1989 and opened its doors officially in August of 1990. In the spring of 1996, black students and staff voted to rename the Cultural Center after Leona Lusk Officer, the first black graduate of Tennessee Tech.

And now for this month's question:

What is Awesome Eagle's birthday? (Hint: This is the day Tech celebrates as his birthday/"hatch day," not necessarily the day the mascot was established.)

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. 

follow the Crawford alumni center on facebook

Archives with Atkinson Graphic

Sally Crain-Jager: A Legacy of Art, Education and Community Engagement

Sally Crain-JagerThis month's Archives with Atkinson highlights the work of Lucinda Morabito, a student in the HIS 3420 class and coordinator in the College of Graduate Studies. In spring 2023, Morabito researched Sally Crain-Jager, an influential art educator and art advocate in the Upper Cumberland. Archives would like to thank Morabito for her excellent work and dedication to research. Click the link below to learn more about Crain-Jager and her influence on the art world and the Upper Cumberland.

Photo top left: Promotional photograph of Sally Crain-Jager with students in an art class. (Photo: University Archives, Oct. 12, 1977.)

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

Barbara Baier

Barbara Baier

Barbara Baier passed away on Jan. 26, 2024.

Barbara dedicated many years of service as an administrative assistant, where her love for students and commitment to their care shone brightly. She worked with great pride at the University of Kentucky and Auburn University before her tenure at Tennessee Tech University's alumni office. Her passion for nurturing young minds was evident in every interaction, creating a legacy of warmth and guidance that many will remember.

Barbara is survived by her husband of 26 years, Dr. James Baier, assistant professor of agriculture at Tennessee Tech.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Agricultural Engineering Technology Innovation Center at Tennessee Tech. Mail checks, made payable to the TTU Foundation, to TTU, Box 1915, Cookeville, TN 38505 or online at Indicate the area you wish to support in the check's memo line or in the field provided online.

Thomas Squires

Thomas Squires

Tennessee Tech Football Hall of Famer Thomas Squires passed away on Jan. 26.

A 2020 inductee into the Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame, Squires was a leader, friend and tremendous player for the Golden Eagles. He leaves a tremendous legacy, serving as an inspiration for Golden Eagle football players to follow as to how to succeed on the field and become leaders in life. Squires was 59.

He only saw action for two seasons in the Tech purple and gold, but there's no question the Merritt, N.C., native made an impact. Before the books were closed on the 1987 campaign, Squires collected two All-America nods -- one from The Football News and another from "Leonard's Super Squad," from radio personality Leonard Postosties. At the end of his Tech career, his 248 career tackles ranked eight, but the mark has since been surpassed.

Following the 1988 NFL Draft, Squires signed on as an undrafted free agent with the New Orleans Saints.

After his effort to play professionally, Squires returned to campus and earned his bachelor's degree in health and physical education in 1990.

Read more in a TTU Sports article titled "Hall of Famer Tom Squires passes away."

Carolyn V. Whitaker

Carolyn WhitakerAssociate Professor Emerita Carolyn Whitaker, a charter member of Tech's School of Nursing faculty, passed away on Feb. 9.

Ms. Whitaker spent her early years studying at Tennessee Tech -- then Tennessee Polytechnic Institute -- before going on to study at St. Thomas School of Nursing and ultimately earning her B.S.N. and M.S.N. from Vanderbilt University.

In 1980, when Tech's School of Nursing was ready to open its doors, she was there -- one of just five members of the inaugural nursing school faculty who would lay the groundwork for the decades of impact, growth and success that the School of Nursing would soon see.

The Carolyn V. Whitaker Scholarship for Advanced Practice Nursing (graduate students) will be established at Tech to memorialize her enduring contributions to the university. To make a gift toward the scholarship endowment, visit or mail a check made payable to the TTU Foundation to TTU, Campus Box 1915, Cookeville, TN 38505. Indicate the name of the scholarship in the field provided online or in the check's memo line.


Class Notes

Sarah Rhoton

Miles Anderson (`19 Master of Accountancy) joined Alexander Thompson Arnold (ATA) advisory firm as a partner. 

Valerie Hale (`92 human ecology) was appointed Crossville, Tenn.'s first female City Manager.

Jason Henegar (`07 M.S. biology) was named Division Chief of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

Dr. Samantha Hutson (`07 human ecology, `17 M.A. and `17 Ph.D.) won the Outstanding Dietetic Educator Award and was featured in a Tennessee Tech article about the dietetics program she helped launch.

Dr. Marjorie Jenkins (`89 chemical engineering) was recognized by Greenville Business Magazine as one of the 50 Most Influential People. Dr. Jenkins serves as dean of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville and chief academic officer for Prisma Health-Upstate.

Michael Jones (`08 biology) received the 2023 Research Support Award from the Environmental Sciences Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The award is presented "for excellence in supporting field research operations across ESD with a constant focus on the safety and wellbeing of team members."

Penny Judd (`00 journalism) was featured in a Tennessee Tech article titled "Tennessee Tech alumna, staff member recall memories of service to U.S. Presidents." 

David W. Peters (`83 accounting) published a book titled Little Boy Lost: A Story of Hope and Redemption, Set Amidst the Backdrop of a Mother's Suicide. Peters' book is mentioned in several "best of" lists for books that deal with grief after the death of a loved one.

Austen Randolph (`19 civil engineering) joined Thomas & Hudson as a Designer IV for the Civil Department. She is also working towards her PE license. T&H is a privately-held professional services company providing consulting, planning and engineering design services related to land and infrastructure.  

Sarah Rhoton (`20 civil engineering and `22 M.S.) was named Employee of the Month by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District for her public outreach efforts to showcase ongoing geotechnical ground remediation at Mountain Home National Cemetery with students in the Department of Geoscience at East Tennessee State University.

Dr. E. Brian Welch (`10 MBA) was appointed vice president of Clinical Partnerships at InkSpace Imaging.

Photo top left: Sarah Rhoton named Employee of the Month by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Photo: USACE)

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 5 p.m.


The Crawford Alumni Center


Giving to Tennessee Tech