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January 2024

Tennessee Tech to celebrate Black History Month

Silent March in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Each February, Tennessee Tech celebrates Black History Month with events to facilitate constructive conversations about the importance of diversity and to celebrate the contributions of African Americans to our university and society.

Visit the Intercultural Affairs website via the link below to learn more.

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Sixth annual I Heart Tech Students initiative begins Feb. 14

I Heart Tech Students

Tennessee Tech's 6th annual I Heart Tech Students initiative is approaching!

For six weeks, the Golden Eagle community will come together to raise funds for programs that put students first. I Heart Tech Students begins on Feb. 14. What better day than Valentine's Day to show your heart for Tech students? It wraps up on March 27 as we celebrate Tech's Charter Day.

Watch your inbox and social media for more information about how to be a part of this year's I Heart Tech Students effort. Let's make this year the biggest one yet!

Wings Up Weekend scheduled for April 12-14, 2024

Wings Up Weekend

Save the date! Wings Up Weekend will be held April 12-14.

Wings Up Weekend is a celebration of all things purple and gold -- a weekend full of events with something for everyone. Watch your inbox and social media for more information as event details are finalized. We hope to see you there!

Alumni who worked on The Oracle invited to share their stories

A photo of Betty Harward, managing editor of The Oracle in 1959

The Oracle student newspaper turns 100 this year! As we prepare to celebrate, we want to collect stories from alumni who worked on The Oracle. Tell us what you enjoyed most about working for The Oracle. Is there an article you were particularly proud of? Did you have the opportunity to share breaking campus or world news? Click the link below to share your stories. Some responses may be compiled for use in The Alumnus and on social media.

And save the date! On Saturday, April 13, the Crawford Alumni Center will host a 100th anniversary event for alumni who were members of The Oracle staff. Watch your inbox and social media for more information.

submit your memories of the oracle

Calling all artistic Tennessee Tech alumni!

a drawing of a christmas ornament

Do you like to draw, paint or design? We are looking for images to use in emails and social media, and we hope you'll share your talent.

Create a graphic that depicts a holiday. This could be purple and gold fireworks for the 4th of July, Derryberry Hall in the snow or the Historic Main Quad in fall colors. You can also design something for unique holidays such as Dog Day, Donut Day or Best Friends Day.

Design it on the computer or draw it freehand -- anything goes! (Graphics kept within a 16:9 ratio work best.) The only rule is it must represent Tech in some way by incorporating Awesome Eagle, Derryberry Hall, purple and gold or other campus themes.

We'll select a few submissions to share in future emails and social media posts. While there's no payment for submitting your design, we'll give you credit when sharing, of course!

Email your artwork or any questions you have to  The image above, left is a painting Erin Knight (`21 fine arts) created for our 2022 holiday card. But we hope you'll be creative and come up with your own unique designs!

Join alumni and friends for a Memphis Grizzlies game March 2

The Grizzlies Logo - a blue bear head

On Saturday, March 2, the Tennessee Tech Alumni Association will host an alumni event at an NBA game at FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tenn., when the Memphis Grizzlies take on the Portland Trail Blazers.

Registration is $55 per person and includes a ticket in Section 214, admission to a halftime reception with hot dogs, popcorn, chips and soda, and access to register for exclusive pre-game experiences at either the Fan Tunnel or Shoot Around, as long as space remains. Tickets must be purchased no later than midnight on Sunday, Feb. 4 and are nonrefundable.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with additional details about registering for exclusive pre-game experiences. Register for these as soon as possible since space is limited. There is no additional charge. Tickets for this event will be transferred electronically the week of Feb. 19. You may purchase up to 10 tickets for friends and family.

Contact Brooke Fleenor, Crawford Alumni Center events coordinator, at or 931-372-6150 with questions.

Registration is Closed

Exciting slate ahead for Wilder's Golden Eagles in 2024

Tech football players on the field

It will be an exciting slate for the Tennessee Tech football team in its first season under new head coach Bobby Wilder as the Golden Eagles will face two Football Bowl Subdivision opponents -- including perennial powerhouse Georgia -- as well as four out of the five games in Tucker Stadium against Big South-Ohio Valley Conference Football Association competition.

The combined conferences announced the slate on Jan. 9. Game times and special events will be announced at a later time. 

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Donor Spotlight

Painting by late Tennessee Tech faculty member finds new home at Appalachian Center for Craft

Bob Jager in front of Reminiscences

Tennessee Tech University's Appalachian Center for Craft has new artwork to greet visitors when they enter the lobby: a painting titled Reminiscences by the late Sally Crain-Jager.

Sally was a member of Tech's fine arts faculty from 1967 to 2001. During her tenure, she was instrumental in developing Tech's first Bachelor of Art Education degree and Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting degree. She also managed the Joan Derryberry Art Gallery and served as interim director of the Craft Center.

Kim Winkle, director of the School of Art, Craft and Design and Appalachian Center for Craft, says when Sally's husband Bob Jager mentioned donating Reminiscences to the university, she knew the perfect place to display it: a large, prominent wall in the Craft Center's lobby.

"Sally had a warm and inviting personality," Winkle said. "I think her painting in the lobby is another way of greeting people into the Craft Center. We're so honored to be able to feature it and have a piece of Sally with us each day."

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Rollins Transfer Scholarship encourages community college graduates to continue education at Tennessee Tech

John and Linda Rollins

Linda Rollins (`63 secondary education) enjoyed a successful career in teaching and advising at Tennessee Tech University and Motlow State Community College and credits her Tech education for making it possible. She is now focused on giving back and has established a scholarship for students who wish to transfer from Motlow State to Tennessee Tech.

"Tech gave me -- a first-generation college student -- a real chance," Linda said. "My mother and father had always told me, from the time I was very small, that I would go to college. My father was a railway switchman, and my mother was a waitress. You don't make big salaries doing those jobs, and they wanted better for me."

Linda says that during her time at Motlow, she realized that there aren't many scholarships for transfer students. This is why she decided to endow a scholarship at Tech -- to leave a legacy, give back to the two institutions to which she devoted her career and help students in need. The John Wiley Rollins and Linda Coppinger Rollins Motlow Transfer Scholarship will be awarded to students who earned an associate's degree or have equivalent transfer hours or junior standing from Motlow and plan to continue their college education at Tech.

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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

Five doors with letters above them

Last month we asked the following trivia question:  

Can you identify the five campus buildings in the photo above, just by seeing a picture of their front door? 

The answers, from left to right, are Clement Hall, Kittrell Hall, Derryberry Hall, Henderson Hall and Oakley Hall. (Fun fact: Kittrell and Bartoo have the same doors, even down to the railings. The brick pattern is identical. The only way to tell the difference is that the frieze is taller on Bartoo than it is on Kittrell.) Congratulations to Brandy Cope (`98 business management and `11 MBA) for guessing the most doors correctly. 

And now for this month's 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? If you know the answers to both questions, we'll enter your name twice this month!

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

Archives with Atkinson Graphic

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

Lem McSpadden

Lem McSpadden

Lem L. McSpadden, Jr. passed away on Jan. 2.

A graduate of McMinn County High School, Lem's thirst for knowledge and commitment to education led him to Tennessee Tech University where he graduated in the class of 1971. It was at Tech that Lem met the love of his life, Donna. Lem remained a proud and active alumnus, contributing as a longtime donor to the university that held a special place in his heart.

Lem's professional life was marked by a successful 30-year career as an engineer with Fleetguard/Cummins Filtration, where he excelled in various roles until his retirement in 2001. His dedication to his work did not end there; Lem became the post-retirement owner of Integrity Inspection and EnviroTenn where he continued to garner generous professional recognitions.

Memorial contributions can be made to the McSpadden-McNew Manufacturing and Industrial Technology Scholarship Endowment. Make checks payable to the TTU Foundation and mail to TTU, Box 1915, Cookeville, TN 38505. Or give online at Indicate the name of the scholarship on the check or in the field provided online.

Dr. Sam Winfree

Sam Winfree

Dr. Sammy "Sam" Kenneth Winfree passed away on Dec. 22.

Professor Emeritus Winfree, or "Doc" as he was affectionately known to his students, was a beloved professor of animal science in Tennessee Tech's School of Agriculture for nearly 30 years. He joined the Tech campus in 1980 and continued to teach and inspire Golden Eagles for more than a generation until his retirement in 2008.

A lifetime learner, Professor Emeritus Winfree held two Ph.Ds -- one in food science and another in animal science. He bravely served his country in the U.S. Army, earning both a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He also served for eight years on the Putnam County School Board.

Professor Emeritus Winfree's expertise and leadership in animal science came naturally. He was a farmer who loved tending to his cattle and sheep and, prior to his service at Tech, led the Tennessee 4-H meat science project in the late 1970s.

Beyond the classroom, he was an avid motorcyclist, traveling the open roads with the same vigor as he approached all aspects of life. Music was a refuge and joy for him, playing as a talented musician whenever the opportunity arose. Sam's love for the land manifested in his work as a farmer, where he found solace and purpose tending to his beef cattle and sheep. His faith played a central role in his life, and he was a faithful member of the Church of Christ.


Class Notes

Antoni Sinkfield

Tera Brooks (`94 multidisciplinary studies and `96 M.A.) was named Putnam County's 2024-2025 Principal of the Year. She currently serves as principal at Prescott South Middle School in Cookeville.  

Amelia Greer (`23 communication) was featured in a Tennessee Tech article titled "Golden Eagle journalism alumna spreads her wings as Chattanooga news anchor." 

Jim Greeson (`68 health and physical education, `71 M.A. and `76 Ed.S.) recently published his latest book titled "School: Memories and Reflections."

Dr. Nancy Hamilton (`93 early childhood education and `15 Ed.S.) was appointed in January 2024 by the Roane County Commission to fulfill the term of District 6 Commissioner left vacant by a former commissioner. She was finishing her first term of serving on the Roane County School Board representing Districts 5 & 6 in Kingston, Tenn. Dr. Hamilton also serves on the Tennessee Tech Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Taylor Hennigan (`13 exercise science, physical education and wellness) was named the Region 4-6A Coach of the Year. He is the head football coach at Cookeville High School and a former member of the Golden Eagle Football team.

Tre Lamb (`12 interdisciplinary studies) is the new head football coach at East Tennessee State University.

Anthony Morse (`16 interdisciplinary studies) joined Turkey's Esenler Erokspor professional basketball team. Morse was a member of the Golden Eagle basketball team during his time at Tech.

Rev. W. Antoni Sinkfield, Ph.D. (`88 marketing) was featured in a Tennessee Tech article titled "'Tennessee Tech gave me a chance.' Nashville native community, faith leader reflects on college years." He was also a guest on Tech's podcast "College Town Talk." Rev. Sinkfield is the 2023 recipient of Tech's Distinguished Alumnus Award, the university's highest alumni honor.

Laura Travis (`95 nursing and `09 M.S.) was named President of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Dickson.

Richelle Wardell (`05 political science) will join the Akron, Ohio, Mayor-Elect administration as the Education and Health Strategist.

Photo top left: Rev. W. Antoni Sinkfield, Ph.D., accepts the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Tennessee Tech on Nov. 4, 2023.

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