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Tech Connect Alumni e-Newsletter:   October 2015





DENSO awards Department of Mechanical Engineering grant


DENSO North America Foundation awarded Tennessee Tech University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering a $40,000 grant to build an automotive laboratory. This lab will complement a future vehicle-engineering program.

The lab will house machines that allow students to design and produce customized parts for engines like the one in the high-performance, student-designed SAE Formula car and the all-terrain Baja SAE car. The lab will be used in independent projects, such as those for senior capstone.

Read more.

TTU student creative writing anthology to be released


For the second time, students and alumni from Tennessee Tech University’s Living Writers Project classes and open mics will release a collection of their creative writing.

The book, “Something Delighted,” contains 75 poems by more than 45 TTU students and alumni.

Read more.

Painting exhibition comes to Derryberry Gallery


Painter William Ruller, of northern New York, draws inspiration from the abandoned mills and dilapidated areas of his youth to reinterpret abstract spaces.

A collection of Ruller’s work will be on display from Sept. 28 to Oct. 22 in Tennessee Tech University’s Joan Derryberry Art Gallery. He will be on campus for a reception and talk at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 22 in the gallery.

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Nursing, engineering students collaborate on health care problems


Engineers rarely put hospital gowns on patients and nurses rarely design prototypes. A course focused on innovation in health care at Tennessee Tech University is bucking both trends.

Chemical engineering and nursing students will work together to introduce each group to the basics of the other’s discipline. From there, they will together identify problems and design ways to solve them.

“The goal is through this shared immersion, the students in the course will say, ‘We could really change patient outcomes if we change this procedure or this device,’” said Melissa Geist, nursing professor and dean of the College of Interdisciplinary Studies. “Then they do it.”

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New York Times bestselling author to speak at TTU


New York Times bestselling author Ayelet Waldman will speak at Tennessee Tech University at 7 p.m. Oct. 7.

Waldman’s novel, “Love and Other Impossible Pursuits,” was adapted into the film “The Other Woman,” starring Natalie Portman. She is also the author of “Love and Treasure,” “Red Hook Road,” and “Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace.”

Waldman’s writings have been published in a variety of newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Vogue, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. Her opinions and thoughts have been aired on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and This American Life.

The event will be in TTU’s Derryberry Hall Auditorium, 1 Wm. L. Jones Drive in Cookeville.

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Historic TTU building renamed for Oakleys


Millard Oakley and his wife, JJ, have been active and enthusiastic supporters of education and other efforts to improve life in the Upper Cumberland for decades. As a testament to their generosity, more than one area building bears their name.

This fall, another Upper Cumberland building bears the Oakley name. Formerly known as South Hall on Tennessee Tech University’s campus, the building is home to the College of Agriculture and Human Ecology and the Department of Foreign Languages.

“Millard and JJ Oakley have made a significant impact on TTU and the rest of the Upper Cumberland for many years; without their generosity and commitment, we would be a very different community,” said TTU President Phil Oldham. “We are, and remain, very appreciative of their commitment to helping our students thrive.”

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U.S. News: TTU top regional public university in Tennessee


In U.S. News & World Report’s annual college rankings, Tennessee Tech University was recognized as Tennessee’s top public regional university. This is also the third time TTU has been recognized for its graduates’ low debt levels.

Approximately half of TTU’s graduates leave without debt and the average debt load, according to U.S. News & World Report, is less than $20,000. One year at TTU for an in-state student who lives on campus costs approximately $17,000.

“Once again, Tennessee Tech’s quality and affordability have placed us among the top of Southern universities,” said TTU President Phil Oldham. “We find ourselves in good company and are proud of the students, faculty and staff who help TTU consistently achieve such positive recognition.”

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‘Beans are beans, but why?’ project at TTU


Beans are a staple in diets around the globe, but still people aren’t exactly sure what makes a bean a bean at the genetic level.

A project starting at Tennessee Tech University’s Oakley farm is designed to figure out what parts of a bean’s genetics are responsible for the bean’s traits.

“People rely on beans in many parts of the world,” said TTU assistant agriculture professor Brian Leckie. “We’ll eventually be able to characterize each genetic line to understand what traits the beans have, then we can determine which differences in the genome are responsible for which traits.”

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International aid worker and author to speak at TTU


Author, midwife and nurse Linda Orsi-Robinson will talk about her experiences providing healthcare abroad Oct. 8 at Tennessee Tech University.

Her book, “Sunday Morning, Shamwana: A Midwife's Letters from the Field,” details the time she spent representing Doctors Without Borders in a remote Democratic Republic of Congo village. Through the collection of letters home, Robinson’s book describes the difficulties of operating with nominal resources in a war-torn country.

Robinson also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi, Africa, and started the first midwifery practice in American Samoa. She practices midwifery in Bar Harbor, Maine.

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Percussion ensemble to perform at TTU

An internationally known ensemble, Third Coast Percussion, will perform at Tennessee Tech University Oct. 22.

Four percussionists formed the group in 2005. They are the ensemble in residence at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and have performed and held residencies around the country.

Together, they have become known for being “hard-grooving” musicians who collaborate with a wide variety of other disciplines including engineers, architects and astronomers. They use free Apple apps in concert to allow audience members to create their own performances and to learn more about the music the ensemble performs.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in Wattenbarger Auditorium, in the Bryan Fine Arts Building, 1150 N. Dixie Ave. It is sponsored by the Center Stage series, which is made possible by the TTU general education fund. It is free and open to the public.

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Composer Danner to show ‘Tech in a new way’ Oct. 7


Two pieces of music play a prominent role in Tennessee Tech University’s history: Joan Derryberry’s “Tech Hymn” and the TTU fight song, played at most athletic events.

Wednesday, TTU music composition and horn professor Greg Danner will add a third. The premiere of “With Wings like Eagles,” is the next event celebrating the university’s Centennial.

“‘With wings like eagles’ is something I’ve heard Dr. Oldham and others say when referring to students at commencement,” said Danner. “The idea of having what we have at Tech and soaring with it and moving on in life, it’s a nice vision of our university emblem, the golden eagle, and for our students.”

The name of the piece is a reference to the Bible’s Isaiah 40.

The piece will premiere as part of a performance by TTU’s wind ensemble, directed by TTU director of bands Joseph Hermann, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, in Wattenbarger Auditorium. The concert, and a reception after, is free and open to the public.

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American poet to read at TTU


American poet Joseph Lease will read selections from his work at Tennessee Tech University Oct. 22.

Lease is a writing and literature professor at California College of the Arts and a member of the advisory board of the “Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics.” He has a master’s degree in literary arts from Brown University and a doctorate in English from Harvard University.

The event is a part of the TTU English department’s series, “Bird is the Word!” which brings writers and scholars from across the country to interact with students on campus.

With renovations underway at the Backdoor Playhouse in Jere Whitson Memorial Building, the reading is one of the first to take place in TTU’s Talon Theater. Located in Foundation Hall, 242 E. 10th Street, the theater will be a home for the English department’s cultural events in both creative writing and theater.

“The theater space has been reimagined in Foundation Hall, and I think people will be surprised at how cool and interesting it’s turned out,” said Pelton. “The space is done coffeehouse-style, with comfortable furniture and a great, artsy vibe. I'm hoping we can make it the new cool spot on campus for the arts.”

The reading is at 7 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

Read more.

Three Tennessee Tech students win best innovative design in international competition


An anthropomorphic robotic hand designed by a team of Tennessee Tech University students was named a finalist in the Innovative Additive Manufacturing 3D Challenge design competition sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

In the competition, teams of students from around the world presented inventions made from additive manufacturing, more commonly known as 3-D printing, to a panel of judges comprised of industry experts.

“Our design is what we call a compliant mechanism design, comprised entirely of flexible joints and members in a single, solid part,“ said mechanical engineering professor and team advisor Steven Canfield. “The dexterity of a human hand made the product stand out.”

Read more.


Save the date! TTU Minority Alumni Reception & Dinner

DATE & TIME: Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, at 6 p.m.


DETAILS: Meet and visit with TTU Vice President Marc Burnett and Assistant Vice President Robert Owens, along with other Tech faculty and staff, as they discuss some of the phenomenal things taking place at TTU and how you may be able to get involved.

On Saturday, Oct. 24, TTU alumni and their families are invited to a brunch and day of fun at Zoo Atlanta. Brunch begins at 9:30 a.m.

REGISTRATION: The cost for the reception and dinner is TBD. As soon as the details are finalized, we'll let you know. You'll be able to register online or by calling the TTU Alumni Relations Office.

Register for the Zoo Atlanta brunch and zoo ticket by Thursday, Oct. 22. The cost is $20 per person. Children ages 2 and under are free. Register online or by calling Alumni Relations at 1-800-889-8730 or 931-372-3205.

Come and join us for a weekend full of great Tennessee Tech activities!

Read more.

Alumni Brunch & Day at Zoo Atlanta

TTU alumni and their families are invited to join us for a day of fun at Zoo Atlanta. (View invitation)

With cooler temperatures in mind and the busy summer months behind us, we rescheduled this event originally set in June for the beautiful month of October.

Brunch begins at 9:30 a.m. Afterwards, spend the remainder of the day strolling through the zoo and enjoying all the wildlife and exhibits. Kids are sure to enjoy Zoo Atlanta’s October theme, “Boo at the Zoo.”

  • Get to know TTU alumni who live in the Atlanta area.
  • Enjoy a delicious buffet of hot breakfast foods.
  • Experience an exclusive VIP behind-the-scenes animal encounter at the brunch.
  • Meet and talk with new Tennessee Tech Vice President of University Advancement Kevin Braswell as well as alumni staff and other TTU administrators.
  • Hear an update about the many exciting things happening at Tech!

REGISTRATION:  The cost for the brunch and zoo ticket is $20 per person. Children ages 2 and under are free. Register online at www.ttualumni.org/reservations or by calling TTU Alumni Relations at 1-800-889-8730 or 931-372-3205. Please make your reservations by Thursday, Oct. 22.

DIRECTIONS: Zoo Atlanta is located at 800 Cherokee Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30315. Visit http://www.zooatlanta.org/1212/directions#2-Oe7X for driving and public transportation directions. Parking is free.


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Majorettes/Twirlers/Original Golden Girls Reunion

Former drum majorettes/twirlers/original Golden Girls are invited to come back for a reunion at Homecoming on November 14, 2015. 

A group of alumni from the 60s and 70s are forming a group to march in the Homecoming parade and also will perform at the tailgate prior to the game. 

For more information about the event, contact TTU Alumni Relations at 1-800-889-8730 or 931-372-3205 or email alumni@tntech.edu.

If you'd like to perform with the group at the tailgate, please contact us by October 21.

Read more.

Tennessee Tech Homecoming 2015 - Happy birthday, TTU!

Join us November 14, 2015, at Tennessee Tech's Homecoming for a celebration of Tech through the decades!

Homecoming events will include reunions and pep rallies, parade and centennial grand marshals, tailgate parties, pre-game show and football — plus free birthday cake!

Mark your calendars now and plan to join in the celebration!

Read more.


Dollywood presents TTU Alumni Days Oct 1-31

The TTU Alumni Association is happy to announce a new discount for its alumni.

Dollywood presents Tennessee Tech Alumni Days! From October 1-31, discounted tickets are available to TTU alumni. With savings of more than $20 off regular prices, adult tickets are $47.15 and children (ages 4-11), $38.15. Price is all inclusive and includes 12.25% sales tax.

  • Dates and hours vary. Check Dollywood.com for operating schedule.
  • Tickets are valid for one day admission.
  • Visit after 3 p.m. and return to the same park on the Next Operating Day FREE!

The offer is only available by calling the Groups Sales Department, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. at 1-888-428-6789 or 865-428-9633.

  • Reservations must be made at least 48 hours in advance.
  • Tickets will be dated and valid for one specific day. To better serve you, please determine your preferred date of visit before calling.
  • Tickets must be paid for at the time of reservation.
  • Tickets are NOT available for purchase at Dollywood or Dollywood’s Splash Country gates.
Read more.

Benefit Programs offered through your alumni association

With so much at stake in your personal and professional life, the benefit programs available to you include some of the most important decisions you will ever make. These decisions will help you protect your future, and the future of your family. Mercer Consumer, a service of Mercer Health & Benefits Administration LLC, in partnership with the TTU Alumni Association, will give you the information you need to make informed decisions about your benefits.

The benefit plans offered are:

  • Auto Insurance
  • Homeowners Insurance
  • Identitiy Theft Protection
  • Long-term Care Insurance
  • Pet Insurance
  • Short-term Medical Insurance
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Tennessee Tech centennial ring, pendant, lapel pin

In celebration of the university's centennial, we have designed a customized signet ring, pendant and lapel pin that feature Tennessee Tech's centennial mark.

The centennial ring, pendant and lapel pin are a limited edition and will only be sold in 2015 and 2016.

The ring is available in ladies' and men's sizes. All three items are available in your choice of 10-kt or 14-kt yellow or white gold or silver.

Read more.

Career Services for Tennessee Tech alumni

Are you looking for a job? We can help!
Are you an employer looking to hire a TTU alum? We can help you, too!

TTU Career Services can help you make and re-evaluate career decisions, set realistic goals and develop strategies to achieve career success through many technological resources and personalized services.

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Enjoy Tennessee Tech award-winning wines

If you enjoy wine, but haven't yet tried DeMonaco Winery's award-winning Tennessee Tech wines, now is a great time to try something new.

The popular red and white wines were crafted to appeal to a range of palates.

  • Espiritu de Oro (Golden Spirit) - This delicate dry white wine exhibits fresh citrus and tropical fruit aromas, carrying over to fruity green apple flavors on the palate, complemented by a refreshing acidity.
  • Dulce Nectar Morado (Sweet Purple Nectar) - This crimson red sweet wine opens with earthy berry notes on the nose, carrying over to strawberry and raspberry flavors on the palate and ends with a smooth, round, lingering finish.

Made in partnership with Tennessee Tech, part of the proceeds go to support the university.

To learn more about Tennessee Tech wines or to make a purchase, visit www.delmonacowinery.com.

» Find DelMonaco TTU Wines in a store near you or order online

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Tennessee Tech University Alumni Relations

Box 5157, Cookeville, TN 38505
Phone: 931-372-3205  ·  Toll free: 1-800-889-8730

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