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Development News

Retired U.S. Army Colonel, MBA grad establishes scholarship for transfer and readmitted students 

On his last day as an Army Senior Executive, Rickey Smith and his wife Margaret participated in a Wreath Laying Ceremony at the tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.Retired U.S. Army Colonel Rickey Smith dedicated his career to serving his country. Now, he wants to give back and has established a scholarship to help students who have a gap in enrollment finish their degree.

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Brooks family establishes music education residency scholarship to ease financial burden for seniors

the Brooks family wearing Tennessee Tech shirtsInspired by their daughter’s experience at Tennessee Tech, Barbara and Jessie Brooks, along with daughter Shelby, have established the Brooks Family Music Education Residency Scholarship to ease the financial burden for music education students beginning their residency requirement. 

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Tennessee Tech College of Education alum establishes technology fund to prepare future teachers 

Robert and Mary Anne PyleMary Anne Pyle says the education she received from Tennessee Tech – specifically, technology in teaching – gave her a competitive edge in her career. Now, she and her husband Robert want to provide the same opportunity for future educators through the Pyle Technology in Education Fund, which will support technology efforts in Tech’s College of Education.

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Couple’s estate gift for Tennessee Tech highlights plans for astronomy program and observatory 

Amber Green, Gene Palmer, Jo Palmer, Tiff Rector, and Kevin BraswellAn interest in astronomy inspired Tennessee Tech alumni Gene and Jo Palmer to give back to a university that gave so much to them. Their recent planned gift will help Tech expand the astronomy program and build an observatory they believe will have long-lasting impact on the Upper Cumberland.

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Mildred Lynch Ellison and Dixie Sharp Pugh Memorial Scholarship honors love for grandmothers 

Greta Day and Robert PughWhen alumni Greta Day and Robert Pugh decided to establish a scholarship at Tennessee Tech, they knew just who they wanted to name it in memory of - their grandmothers. The Mildred Lynch Ellison and Dixie Sharp Pugh Memorial Scholarship is awarded to incoming freshmen in any major who have financial need.

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James J. Cowan Scholarship provides opportunities for nontraditional veteran students at Tennessee Tech

James J. CowanJames "Jimmy " Cowan took a nontraditional path to earning his college degree after serving in the Navy.  It took him 30 years to complete his college education, but one of his proudest moments was graduating Cum Laude from Tennessee Tech with a B.S. in interdisciplinary studies. When Jimmy Cowan passed away in 2020, his wife, Dylcia, and son, Hayden, decided to carry on his legacy and establish the James J. Cowan Scholarship for Nontraditional Veteran Students so that others who have followed a similar path to Jimmy's have the financial support they need to complete their college education.

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100-year-old Tennessee Tech alumna gives Steinway piano to School of Music 

Ms. Spicer sits at her Steinway piano to play one last time before donating it to Tennessee TechBeginning piano lessons at the age of 4 and celebrating her 100th birthday on July 20 - Billye Spicer has been playing the piano longer than most people have been alive. 

Spicer read an article about Tennessee Tech's strides towards obtaining an All-Steinway School designation and was inspired to give her beloved Steinway piano to her alma mater, Tennessee Tech.

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Woodsmoor Student Exhibition Awards recognize excellence in craft at Tennessee Tech

Steve Westfield and Mark Magnuson stand with award recipient Grant Stewart

Steve Westfield and Mark Magnuson established the Woodsmoor Annual Student Exhibition Awards Endowment to recognize and reward student artists at Tennessee Tech. 

Westfield and Magnuson have watched the development of the Appalachian Center for Craft. Their dedication to the arts, in particular fine craft, inspired them to support Tech’s annual student awards program. By establishing an endowment to fund awards, they hope to help the Appalachian Center for Craft remain a major learning center and home for craft in Tennessee.

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Tracy M. Luna Memorial Scholarship honors band director’s love for Tennessee Tech

Tracy Luna standing in front of a marching band.

It took only one semester at Tennessee Tech to change Tracy M. Luna’s life. When Tracy passed away in December 2021, after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, his wife Laura wanted to honor his life with a memorial scholarship. And she knew she wanted the scholarship to be for Tennessee Tech students.

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Tennessee Tech College of Business alumnus establishes scholarship for finance majors 

Sam Allen

Samuel E. Allen says there was never any doubt where he would attend college. “Tennessee Tech was in my DNA from the very beginning,” he said. Thanks to a rewarding career in the financial industry, Allen wanted to give back to the university that gave him the building blocks for success. He has established the Samuel E. Allen Finance Scholarship to provide meaningful financial assistance to future students. “I want to give someone an opportunity for a rewarding career like I’ve experienced,” he said. “Your career path is a lifetime of learning."

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Tennessee Tech accounting alumnus establishes award for accounting faculty

A portrait of David MorganDavid K. Morgan credits his Tennessee Tech education for a successful career as a certified public accountant. As a thank you to the department that prepared him to be a CPA and to the faculty who teach future accountants, Morgan established the David K. Morgan Endowed Accounting Faculty Award.


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Harriet D. Westmoreland Nursing Scholarship honors woman who devoted career to healthcare 

Jim and Harriet WestmorelandHarriet Westmoreland dedicated her career to the nursing profession, served as a member of the Whitson-Hester School of Nursing Development Council for almost 30 years and received WHSON's Florence Nightingale Award and Distinguished Service Award. To honor her service and care for others, her husband Jim established a scholarship in her name. The Harriet D. Westmoreland Nursing Scholarship will be awarded to students majoring in nursing at Tennessee Tech.

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Tennessee Tech announces Harper Scholars Program for female engineering students

An engineering student observes a graduated cylinder full of liquid

A new scholarship will allow Tennessee Tech to recruit the best and brightest female engineering students.  

Recipients of the the Trudy A. Harper Engineering Scholarship will be known as “Harper Scholars” and will have the opportunity each semester to meet with the Tech alumna who established the scholarship.

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Geoprofessional community establishes scholarship in memory of Tennessee Tech alumnus Ed Wilson 

A photo of Ed Wilson at a podium at a conferenceFor more than 40 years, Ed Wilson, P.E. was a colleague, mentor, leader and friend to many within the geoprofessional community. As a thank you to Wilson and to encourage the next generation of young earth sciences and civil engineering geoprofessionals, the Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA), with support from Wilson’s family, friends and colleagues, established the L. Edward Wilson Endowed Scholarship at Tennessee Tech. 

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Larry and Emma Ferguson Scholarship encourages students to pay it forward    

Larry and Emma Ferguson smile at the camera.Larry and Emma Thaxton Ferguson’s love story began at Tennessee Tech, and for the next 60 years, the two remained grateful to the university that played a significant role in their lives. The Larry and Emma Ferguson Scholarship is a testament to a love story that began at Tech, an appreciation for the education Tech provided and a desire to pay it forward so that others might have similar opportunities.

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Advisory Council for Engineering names student space in Ashraf Islam Engineering Building 

An architectural rendering of the Ashraf Islam Engineering Building with insets of Barry Beck and Bob Alvey.When Tennessee Tech’s Advisory Council for Engineering (ACE) had the idea to name a room in the new Ashraf Islam Engineering Building, council members jumped at an opportunity to help future engineering students.

Barry Beck (left inset), chair of ACE, said the idea to name a space came about when he and ACE co-chair Bob Alvey (right inset) reviewed the named spaces that will be inside the Ashraf Islam Engineering Building and had an idea for ACE to name a space as a group.

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First Horizon Foundation supports Tennessee Tech College of Business’s Financial Literacy Program 

A group of Tech staff accept a check from Rick Ward.The First Horizon Foundation recently presented Tennessee Tech with a $6,000 gift to support the College of Business’s financial literacy program.

First Horizon’s support will allow Tech to deliver a one-credit-hour course in spring 2022 titled Financial Literacy for Entrepreneurs. The course will emphasize practical financial skills for entrepreneurs, offering a high-level examination of financial statements, ratio analysis, time value of money and the essentials of starting a business in Tennessee. It will conclude with a panel discussion, consisting of entrepreneurs and individuals involved in debt and equity financing, which will be open to local community members. The class will also provide faculty and graduate assistants with the opportunity to engage in research to improve student outcomes related to financial literacy concepts.

Tech is grateful for the First Horizon Foundation’s investment in the financial literacy of its students, faculty and local community.

Pictured from left:  Chery Montgomery, director of program development and engagement; Bobby Taylor, director of development; Thomas Payne, dean of the College of Business; Rick Ward, senior vice president and market leader at First Horizon Bank; Alma Hales, associate professor of economics, finance and marketing; and Ann Davis, associate professor of accounting

Reece family’s ties to Upper Cumberland, belief in farming inspire gift of home to Tennessee Tech 

A man sits in a red and black side-by-side work vehicle. When Joyce Glasscock Reece and her son, Edward, decided to sell their Cookeville home and use the proceeds to help others, Tennessee Tech was the first place that came to mind. Because of their family’s background and strong belief in farming, they chose to designate their gift to Tech’s College of Agriculture and Human Ecology.

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Terracon Foundation awards grant to Tennessee Tech for STEAM scholarships for diverse student populations

A group of students listen to a colleague discuss a lab apparatus.The Terracon Foundation recently announced a $5,000 grant for Tennessee Tech to support students pursuing a degree in one of the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) fields. This grant will be used to establish the Terracon Foundation Annual STEAM Scholarship for Diversity and Inclusion and will be awarded to students representing diverse student populations.

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SAIC supports Tennessee Tech’s Computer Science Red Shirt program and senior capstone design sequence

A group of students sit around a table on the plaza with laptops.Thanks to a generous gift from Science Applications International Corporation to establish the SAIC Annual Scholarship for the Red Shirt Program, Tennessee Tech’s Department of Computer Science will have funds to provide enhanced tutoring and other curricular support, peer and faculty mentoring and resources to build communities.

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Golden Eagle father thanks Coach Polk Brown with gift to Tennessee Tech golf program

Darren Bassel on a golf course with son, AlexanderThanks to the university’s reputation and Head Golf Coach Polk Brown, Darren Bassel recently made a generous gift to support Tech’s golf program. 

“When you’re a dad and your son is going to play college golf, you want to make sure the coach is a mentor, not only with athletics but also with academics,” said Bassel.  “Coach Brown is that mentor. And Tennessee Tech is a great academic school.”  

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Buzz Heidtke’s strong belief in education paves the way for future business students 

A photo of Buzz Heidtke in front of the monitors in the Heidtke Trading Room

The name “Heidtke” is well-known in Tennessee Tech’s College of Business and in Johnson Hall.

L.O. "Buzz" Heidtke has supported Tech for nearly 20 years and created the Heidtke Fund, a student-managed investment fund, and established the Heidtke Trading Room, one of the most unique facilities on campus - a learning lab that simulates the activities of a real investment firm.

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Tech graduate’s love for libraries and theatre leads to estate gift for Volpe Library and Backdoor Playhouse

A collage of the facade of Volpe Library and the Backdoor PlayhouseScott Muir always knew he wanted to be a librarian and fell in love with libraries long before he enrolled at Tennessee Tech.  

Muir said he was inspired by Henry “Hank” Rowan, an American engineer and philanthropist who, in the early 90s, made a $100 million gift to Glassboro State University, a tiny, almost bankrupt school in South Jersey. Rowan’s act of extraordinary generosity launched one of the greatest explosions in educational philanthropy.

“Henry Rowan said, ‘I want to give to a place that makes a difference,’” said Muir. “I asked myself, ‘Where can I have an impact?’ And I thought of Tech. Tech is not a wealthy school. It’s a state school. But it’s a good choice for a lot of people. I knew I could give money to Tech and it would make a real difference to the students there.”

Muir chose to divide his planned gift evenly between the Volpe Library and Theatre Program.

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Tech celebrates grand openings of largest buildings on campus

A view of a crowd and tent in the law of the Lab Science Commons

It was a big day for Tennessee Tech as students, faculty, staff, alumni and special dignitaries helped dedicate and celebrate the grand openings of the two biggest buildings on campus — the Laboratory Science Commons and the Marc L. Burnett Student Recreation and Fitness Center.

“The buildings we celebrate today are functional, beautiful and inspirational,” said Tennessee Tech president Phil Oldham. “These buildings enhance our campus and enhance the college experience for our students.”

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New residence hall to be named in honor of J.J. Oakley

An architectural rendering of the proposed building.When it comes to Tennessee Tech, the name “Oakley” is synonymous for giving. Millard Oakley and his wife, Joyce Annette, affectionately known as “J.J.,” have contributed millions of dollars to the university over the years. As a way of giving back to the Oakleys, a new residence hall will be named the J.J. Oakley Innovation Center and Resident Hall. This residence hall will combine an innovation space along with more than 300 residential spaces. 

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Couple’s love for Baxter leads to estate gift for Upperman High students

A group of students posing in the library. The students are wearing face masks.Cleo and B.J. Dennis - who loved the Baxter area and Tennessee Tech - chose to include the university in their estate plans. Their scholarship will help generations of Upperman High School students pursue a college education.

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Estate gift to College of Education honors wife’s love for education

A group of students sit at a table smiling at each other

When Patricia A. Malone passed away in 2016, her husband Hugh L. “Pat” Malone chose to make an estate gift in her memory to Tennessee Tech’s College of Education. Click below to learn more about the impact this gift has had in the lives of Tech students.


Tech's new lab science commons building now open

The facade of the lab science commons buildingTech's new lab science commons building is officially open! The 160,000-square-foot facility is the largest academic building at Tech and its first LEED certified building. It houses the chemistry department, a portion of the biology department and has lab space for earth sciences, physics and environmental sciences. Design features focus on collaborative space, active learning and "Science on Display." 

visit the building's website to learn more

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