This time of year universities report a lot of numbers related to our successes. For instance, the official enrollment at Tennessee Tech this fall is slightly less than 11,500. This is a strong indication of the value placed in this great university and its potential impact on the lives of so many talented students, their families and their communities. I also am proud that the affordability and quality of our academic programs have put Tennessee Tech University at the top of national rankings once again.

In our case, the numbers we report are important because they represent individual lives. Tennessee Tech is making a difference, one student at a time.

We won’t stop counting. Students, families, employers and policy makers expect more from us than ever, and rightly so. To that end, we measure performance in many ways. Enrollment certainly matters, but so does student retention, progression to degree, graduation rates, job placement, career mobility, research activity, patent disclosures, development of new technologies, etc. The list goes on and on. These are all important and we will continue to measure our impact in all these areas.

However, I am always reminded of the words of Albert Einstein who said, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”

Take just a moment to watch and listen to six students, each with different backgrounds, situations, and career ambitions, tell you how TTU counts in their lives. Though different, they share one important thing in common – they all came to Tennessee Tech to expand their opportunities for a better life.

Sarah Goodin is a first-generation senior nursing student from Oneida, Tenn. Sarah Arnold is a sophomore secondary education-math major from Hendersonville, Tenn. Jacob LeQuire is a junior nutrition and dietetics major from Hixson, Tenn. Taylor Bellessa is a senior housing and design major from Elizabethton, Tenn. International student Thiago Rezende is a sophomore marketing major from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and Rose Davis is a 2+2 program senior elementary education major from Crossville, Tenn. Their stories exemplify what happens every day on this campus and all of its satellite locations multiplied by about 2,000.

Ultimately, I am most proud that Tennessee Tech continues to make a positive difference in the lives of students of all ages, backgrounds and career ambitions, with direct impact on families and communities throughout the Upper Cumberland and across the entire state of Tennessee.

GO EAGLES!