Tennessee Tech celebrated the renaming of South Hall to Oakley Hall Friday and Saturday with several events.
The weekend of Sept. 25 and Sept. 26 was dedicated to honoring Millard V. Oakley and wife J.J. Oakley, as they renamed Oakley Hall after the two donors. While the two are both big supporters of education, Millard Oakley is also a part of the Tennessee Tech foundation board, according to Kristin Wells, director of university development.
“Mr. Oakley's leadership on our foundation board, as well as with our College of Agriculture and in other areas around campus, has been immeasurable,” Wells said.
The weekend’s events included the naming ceremony and grand reopening, building tours and displays, a picnic and a historic costume fashion show, the Brenda Waters Memorial Pavilion Dedication and a fall festival.
“No one has done more to advance Tech than J.J. and Millard Oakley,” said Kevin Braswell, vice president of university advancement, “and we are very pleased to name the former South Hall in their honor.”
The couple are huge supporters of education in this region and have made several generous donations to Tennessee Tech in the past. The university’s appreciation to the Oakley family is also shown through the Millard Oakley STEM Center and the J.J. Oakley Health Services Center.
“We’re glad to be here today,” Millard Oakley said at the ceremony, “and it’s quite an honor to get your name down where President Bell and Everett Derryberry can see those names.”
Renovations to the over 80-year-old building has cost $4.6 million, President Oldham mentioned during his speech. The building was built in 1931, and has since been restored in 1954 to double the size of the building. Oakley Hall had been under the current renovations for almost a year and a half until it was recently completed.
“It’s a rare occasion when university campuses have donors that support the University in a manner that dictates the naming of a building,” said Wells. “That sort of dedication requires a commitment that goes well above and beyond most support seen on campus.”
At the end of the ceremony, Oakley Hall was opened for a reception and tours of the newly renovated building. Featured inside were displays detailing both the history of the university and the College of Agriculture and Human Ecology, which are based in Oakley Hall.
Wells said, “The gifts that the Oakley family has given to this university can change the direction of some of our programs for future students to come.”