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March 2024

Tennessee Tech to celebrate 93rd Homecoming Nov. 2

The football team running towards the viewer with the President's Box visible behind them.

Save the date! Tennessee Tech will celebrate its 93rd Homecoming on Nov. 2.

There will be numerous events and activities throughout Homecoming weekend, and we'll share more information as details are finalized. Please make plans to return to campus to celebrate with us!

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Sixth annual I Heart Tech Students initiative concludes March 27

Students walk towards the viewer with Awesome Eagle. Henderson Hall is in the background.

Tomorrow is the last day to make a gift to Tennessee Tech's 6th annual I Heart Tech Students fundraising initiative!

For the last six weeks, the Golden Eagle community has come together to raise funds for programs that put students first. It all wraps up tomorrow, March 27 -- Tech's Charter Day.

Click the link below to view the causes featured this year, and choose the one that has your heart.

Alumni Association attends Memphis Grizzlies game

A photo collage of alumni at the game

Thank you to everyone who came out to the Tennessee Tech Alumni Association event at the Memphis Grizzlies game this month! We had a fantastic time and enjoyed meeting all of you.

We hope you'll attend an event in your area or come back to Cookeville to attend something on campus. (Check out Wings Up Weekend in the next story!)

And if you have an idea for an event in your area (a unique restaurant, venue, activity, sporting event, etc.), email

We hope to make it to as many areas around the country as possible!

Click the link below to view the full list of upcoming events.

alumni events

Alumni invited back to campus for Wings Up Weekend April 12-14

Wings Up Weekend

Join us for Wings Up Weekend April 12-14!

This year's Wings Up Weekend will include the spring football scrimmage game, Window on the World, Oracle 100th anniversary celebration and more! Click the link below to view a full list of Wings Up Weekend events. We hope to see you there!

Tennessee Tech to celebrate 100 years of The Oracle April 13

Oracle 100th Anniversary Celebration

oin 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 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.

Alumni Association announces 2024 alumni award recipients

Bronze eagle head awards

The Tennessee Tech Alumni Association recently announced the winners of the 2024 Alumni Awards:

Outstanding Young Alumna: Brittney Herman ('17 English)
Outstanding Service: Randy Wilmore ('82 business management)
Outstanding Philanthropy: Mary Anne Koltowich ('77 civil engineering)
Distinguished Alumnus: Ashraf Islam ('68 civil engineering)

These individuals will be honored at the annual Evening of Excellence banquet on Homecoming, Nov. 2.

Application now open for Tennessee Tech Alumni Association Board of Directors

Alumni Association Seal

The Tennessee Tech Alumni Association Board of Directors is in search of new members!

Members of the Board of Directors 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. This is a great way to meet new people, plan and attend fun events around the country and learn more about your alma mater.

Applications must be submitted by April 30 to be considered. Click the link below to apply.

Tennessee Tech celebrates Women's History Month

Michele Niec

The month of March is Women's History Month, and Tennessee Tech has celebrated by hosting several events and releasing a series of articles about exceptional women leaders in the Tech community -- both alumni and current students. Be sure to check out Tech's Newsroom website for these inspiring stories!

Tech's Newsroom Website

Tech to host 2024 Celebration of Craft April 6 at Smithville ACC

Celebration of Craft

The Tennessee Tech Appalachian Center for Craft's 26th Annual Celebration of Craft will be Saturday, April 6, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Bring your friends and family for a day of fun, craft, music, food and more! Enjoy the open studio access and see live demonstrations in glass, wood, blacksmithing, clay, fibers and screen printing. There will be hands-on activities for kids as well. This event is free and open to the public.

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Check out Tennessee Tech's podcast College Town Talk

College Town Talk

Have you checked out Tennessee Tech's podcast called College Town Talk?

Each week, hosts Jonathan Frank and Shan Stout introduce listeners to Tech faculty, staff and students -- as well as successful Tech alumni, local business owners and civic leaders -- who are making a difference and living Wings Up in their community.

February podcast guests included Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, Luke Eldridge, Cheryl Montgomery, Penny Judd, Morris Irby, and Lori Jackson Strode.

So far this month, the podcast has featured Jay Albrecht, owner of the popular local restaurant Seven Senses; Dr. Rosa Vasquez Espinoza, an award-winning chemical biologist, National Geographic explorer and founder of Amazon Research Internacional; Chelsea Dartez, the founder and publisher of Cookeville's Lifestyle magazine; and Dr. Helen Hunt, associate professor of English and director of the Women's Center at Tennessee Tech.

listen to college town talk

Alumni invited to follow Tennessee Tech Alumni Association LinkedIn Page

Alumni Association

The Tennessee Tech Alumni Association now has an official LinkedIn Page!

We use this platform to share alumni news, announce upcoming events, provide networking opportunities and show the amazing things alumni are doing in their careers and communities.

While the Alumni Association has had a LinkedIn Group for years, we are transitioning to an official LinkedIn Page for a better user experience.

If you've started a new job, received an award, been named to a board or council, written a book or achieved something noteworthy, we hope you'll share it on LinkedIn and tag the Alumni Association page. We'll also share your accomplishments right here -- in the Class Notes section of The Alumnus e-newsletter.

We hope you'll follow us on LinkedIn via the link below!

follow tennessee tech alumni association on linkedin

Tennessee Tech alumni explore Grand Canyon

Tech Alumni at the Grand Canyon

Several Tennessee Tech alumni just returned from a trip to the Grand Canyon through our Golden Eagle Travel program! The travelers spent five nights in Sedona, Arizona, and visited Chapel of the Holy Cross, the Spanish-Mexican Village of Tlaquepaque, Uptown Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon, Montezuma Castle National Monument, the old mining town of Jerome and Old Town Scottsdale. The highlight of the trip was a train journey to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park!

And alumni will be traveling again this October to the Albuquerque Balloon Festival! Click the link below to learn more.

Golden Eagle Travel

Donor Spotlight

Ford Lincoln of Cookeville commits $50,000 to new Tennessee Tech football stadium

Employees of Ford Lincoln holding a plaque

A local car dealer recently committed $50,000 towards the construction of Tennessee Tech's rebuilt football stadium.

Geoff Root, general manager and managing partner at Ford Lincoln of Cookeville, says the company strongly believes in investing in the community's growth and development.

"Supporting the construction of the stadium and Tech's football program aligns with our commitment to create a sense of community and family, enhance the quality of life for Cookeville residents and foster a vibrant local economy," Root said. "Tech and its football program are crucial for the Upper Cumberland, because they serve as pillars of education, community engagement and regional identity. They attract students, faculty and visitors to the area, stimulating economic activity and promoting cultural exchange."

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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

Awesome with his birthday cake and cupcakes

Last month we asked the following trivia question:  

What is Awesome Eagle's birthday?

The answer was February 14! Congratulations to Michelle Whiteaker ('95 marketing) who guessed correctly and won some Tech SWAG. 

And now for this month's question:

Who was the first person to receive a college degree from Tech? (Hint: Since it's Women's History Month, it might be a female! The student received a two-year degree in English in 1918.)

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

Friends Remembered

Larry S. Click

Larry Click

Larry Click passed away on March 4.

In 1971, he joined the Tennessee Tech faculty as an associate professor of agricultural engineering where he served in varying capacities including serving as the department chair from 1976 until the fall of 1980 when he stepped down to focus on what he enjoyed most: advising and teaching students. He continued teaching full time until 2004 when he retired. Later in his career he also served as an adjunct faculty member in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.

He was honored with numerous teaching awards at the department, university and regional/national levels. In 1986, he received the Delta Tau Alpha National Outstanding Teacher/Advisor Award. In 1981, he was given the NACTA Teacher Fellow and Regional Outstanding Teacher Award. And in 2002, he was honored with the NACTA John Deere Award for the Southern Region. He also received numerous awards from students including the 1983 School of Agriculture Students' Choice Award and the 1987-88, 1989-90, 1993-94 and 1997-98 School of Agriculture Student-Selected Outstanding Faculty Award.

Memorial donations may be made to the Larry S. Click Endowed Agriculture Scholarship by giving online at or by mailing 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.

Dr. Thomas Furtsch

Tom Furtsch

Professor Emeritus Dr. Thomas Furtsch passed away on March 8.

A native of Virginia, Dr. Furtsch came to Cookeville in 1971 after studying chemistry at the University of Michigan and the University of Texas at Austin.

For 40 years, he was a larger-than-life figure in Tech's chemistry department, mentoring and investing in students until his retirement in 2011.

During his years at Tech, Dr. Furtsch received many accolades, including the 1977-78 Outstanding Faculty Award for teaching, and the 1991-92 Outstanding Faculty Award for professional service.

Even after his retirement, Dr. Furtsch stayed connected with the university in many ways, including his generous donation that allowed University Archives to purchase a new slide scanner to digitize their collection.

Never one to slow down, Dr. Furtsch embarked on a new adventure after stepping down from the classroom as the owner of Father Tom's Pub, a local favorite dining spot.


Billy Gene Gaw

Billy Gene Gaw

Billy Gene Gaw passed away at the age of 90.

He graduated from Tennessee Tech in 1956 with a bachelor's degree in education and married his high school sweetheart, Letha Jane Sells, the same day. They were married 68 years.

Mr. Gaw began his teaching career at Hilham Elementary in 1956 at 21 years old. At that time, he was the youngest to serve as principal right out of college. He also served as basketball coach.

In 1960, he left Hilham Elementary and was placed at Livingston Academy, where he served as a teacher and a counselor.

In 1967, he took a job at Tennessee Tech in Admissions and Records as an admissions counselor. Later, he became assistant director of Admissions and Records. While working at Tech, Mr. Gaw received his master's in education, guidance and counseling. After 37 years of service to Tech, Mr. Gaw retired.

He also served as SFG 1 in the Cookeville National Guard, retiring after 33 years of service.


Dr. Bettye Kash

Bettye KashDr. Bettye Kash passed away on March 17.

Dr. Kash was an adjunct professor of speech and theatre and a distinguished former full-time faculty member of the university.

Dr. Kash's impact on Tech's campus spans more than half a century. She first came to Tech on a graduate assistantship, teaching speech and English while she worked on her master's degree, which she completed in 1973.

In 1981, Dr. Kash received a full-time faculty appointment. In addition to her duties in the classroom, she directed and produced performances of the Tech Players and served students on the university's speech and debate team.

Beyond her service to Tech, Dr. Kash was a music educator at several local K-12 schools. She was passionate about bringing the arts to area schools and nurturing a love of music among the children of the Upper Cumberland.

A gifted singer, Dr. Kash could often be heard performing folk music with her husband, Dr. Graham Kash. The two met through a meeting of the Tennessee Folklore Society at Tech.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to the future Kash Speech and Theatre Endowment at Tech by giving online at or by mailing a check made payable to the TTU Foundation to TTU, Campus Box 1915, Cookeville, TN 38505. Indicate the endowment in the field provided online or in the check's memo line.


Dr. Ray Kozub

Ray KozubTennessee Tech Professor of Physics Ray Kozub passed away on Feb. 23.

He was in his 47th year of teaching at Tennessee Tech, having joined the faculty in 1977.

A first-generation college student, Dr. Kozub had a deep appreciation for the value of education that colored his many years of teaching and research. His research at Tech was funded continuously by the U.S. Department of Energy for more than 40 years and he published an estimated 160 journal articles on nuclear physics during that time.

Dr. Kozub won the 1993 Caplenor Faculty Research Award, Tech's highest faculty honor, and went on to earn the Research and Creative Activity Award in 2012. For his leadership and expertise, he was named a past chair of the Physics Department at Tech -- a role he proudly held for a decade.

Dr. Kozub generously established a scholarship in his wife Sandra's memory, which the Physics Department has awarded annually. Please consider a gift to the Sandra K. Kozub Memorial Scholarship by giving online at or by mailing 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

Rosa Vasquez Espinoza

Jay Albrecht ('93 marketing and '95 MBA) was named 2024 Board Chair of the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce and was appointed to the Putnam County 911 Board. He also recently helped start a new organization serving local businesses called the Cookeville Downtown Development Group, of which he is chair for 2024. Jay is the owner of Seven Senses Food and Cheer in Cookeville.

Shelby Brooks ('20 music) was named Teacher of the Year for grades 5-8 at Woodland Park Elementary School in Sparta, Tenn.

Ashley Bruce ('13 multidisciplinary studies) was named Teacher of the Week by Eagle Tire Pros. She teaches third grade at Jacksboro Elementary School in Jacksboro, Tenn., and has been an educator for 11 years.

Jennifer Duggin ('22 interdisciplinary studies and '23 M.P.S.) was featured in the "There's Good News Tonight" segment of NBC Nightly News on March 23. Her son, Sgt. Will Bailey, surprised her with a video that played during Jennifer's Tech graduation ceremony last year. Watch the clip on Tech's YouTube channel. 

Dr. Rosa Vasquez Espinoza ('15 chemistry) was featured in a Tennessee Tech article titled "'There is hope.' Tech Honors alumna, National Geographic explorer discusses mission to preserve the Amazon jungle.

Rob Frazier (`23 professional studies) was named Director of Development for This is Living Ministries, Inc., a faith-based TDOC-approved re-entry program in Cookeville serving justice-involved adult females from prison systems. Frazier is scheduled to receive a master's degree in professional studies from Tech this year.

Tim Fritch (`04 electrical engineering) was named Tennessee Valley Authority's Engineer of the Year, TVA's highest engineering honor.

Kathleen Lordo ('00 geology) was featured in an Alumni Stories article about returning to Tech for a second master's degree. She is the annual giving coordinator for Tennessee Tech's Crawford Alumni Center and will receive a Master of Professional Studies in Media and Strategic Communication in May.

Matt McClanahan (`11 agriculture) was featured in a Tennessee Tech article titled "Tech alumnus wins first place in nationwide speaking competition at American Farm Bureau's 105th convention.

Sarah Price ('16 multidisciplinary studies and '20 M.A.) was named Teacher of the Year for grades Pre-K-4 at Woodland Park Elementary School in Sparta, Tenn.

Lindsay Pride ('00 journalism) will be the featured speaker at the Tennessee Tech Women's Center's Women in Leadership luncheon on April 16 at noon in the Roaden University Center's Tech Pride Room. Lindsay is the editor for Cookeville's newspaper, the Herald-Citizen. The luncheon is free to attend but registration is required.

Curt Russell ('02 finance and '03 MBA) was appointed Tidal Basin Group's new Chief Financial Officer. Tidal Basin in a management consulting and technology solutions firm.

Photo top left: Rosa Vasquez Espinoza

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