Friday, March 27, 2015 will be the centennial anniversary of Tennessee Tech’s Charter Day. Various preparations have been made leading up to the first event to start the yearlong Centennial celebration.
The first event is the Charter Day ceremony in Derryberry Auditorium. The ceremony will be attended by Governor Bill Haslam, members of the Tennessee Board of Regents and other state legislators. A skit reenacting some of the moments that led to the signing of the original 1915 University charter will be performed by local actors. Events being reenacted will include excerpts from important documents and profiles of notable alumni from Tech’s first 100 years.
In conjunction with Tech’s Centennial, the Centennial Traditions Committee was created.
“The committee was formed to identify past traditions that are in need of revival and to assist students in that process,” said Committee Chairman Roy West.
West also said the committee will try to find traditions that students are interested in and to use the centennial year to begin the new events but could not disclose what they would be.
The committee is expected to help the campus connect with past and current students by making new traditions but also bringing back older ones.
“One of our greatest traditions, the Shinny-Ninny, is locked up at Middle Tennessee State University, and most of our students are unaware,” West said. “By promoting this and other traditions we hope to encourage student involvement.”
New banners displaying the Tech Centennial logo have been hung on the streetlamps lining Dixie Avenue.
Tech alumnus and Admissions transfer counselor, Jake Gipson, posted a picture of the banners on his Twitter page. Gipson said that he is excited about the changes happening on campus and that, even though it’s easy to question the changes happening, he believes it will all be worth it.
“It is definitely an exciting time with it being our centennial year, and I can say that we are definitely moving in the right direction,” said Gipson. “It may not seem like too much when you think about it, but Tennessee Tech has been here for 100 years. We must be doing something right.”
Members of the administration have prepared for the upcoming events of the Centennial celebration by looking at both the University’s past and future.
“What will our academic descendants say about us 100 years from now during the Bicentennial celebration? How will we keep higher education affordable and encourage more students to continue their educations? How will we continue to increase the value of a Tennessee Tech education for every student, while state funding continues to decline? Education has never been as critical to our nation’s future economic and national security as it is today. The challenges are many, but just like our TPI founding fathers; failure is not an option. I take great confidence in their successful efforts that got us to this Centennial and know that Tennessee Tech will continue to survive and thrive for many generations to come,” Oldham wrote in his latest presidential blog post.
Much like current Tech President Philip Oldham wrote a blog post to Tech students, faculty, staff and alumni discussing the landmark point in University history, former Tech President Everett Derryberry wrote an open letter to the campus community during the University’s 50-year anniversary in 1966.
“What will the next fifty years bring to your University’s growth and development? Many of us will not be here to see the answer to that question, and the red wood tree will still only be a baby. But, we know that the answer for this University lies in the work of a dedicated faculty, the loyalty of devoted alumni, and above all, in the quality of this product, the graduates who go out from its halls and quadrangles,” Derryberry wrote.
Events commemorating the University’s Centennial will conclude with the commencement ceremony in May 2016.