Turning 100 years old is a big deal! We officially started celebrating Tennessee Tech’s centennial last March and still have a few months to enjoy with the dedication of Centennial Plaza, a formal gala, and spring commencement. One hundred years of Tennessee Tech history and tradition gives us much to celebrate proudly.
However as we begin to wind down our celebration, it begs the question, what will the next 100 years of Tennessee Tech look like? When our successors start celebrating the bicentennial in 2115, what will they see in retrospect that was truly significant in the life of this great university? I am reminded, as I was told, of a recent interview with Shimon Peres, the 92-year-old former president and two time prime minister of Israel. When asked to name his greatest achievement he simply responded, “I don’t know. I haven’t done it yet.” He went on to opine that “old age is when your achievements outnumber your dreams.”
Wow, what an inspirational attitude of optimism and confidence! I feel that exact same way about Tennessee Tech. Despite some tremendous accomplishments over the past 100 years, our greatest achievements are yet to be realized. I feel it as I experience the creativity, passion and enthusiasm of our students every day. I see it in the genius and diligence of our faculty like Ambareen Siraj, associate professor in computer science, who was just awarded a $3.95 million cybersecurity grant from the National Science Foundation. I also see it demonstrated in the recent recognition of Tennessee Tech University as a Doctoral Research University by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education. At every turn, we continue to be tangibly reminded that Tennessee Tech faculty and students are prepared to soar. We successfully compete with the best because we confidently aspire to be the best.
Yes, we have much to celebrate, but even more to look forward to. You will hear much more soon regarding Governor Haslam’s FOCUS Act and its creation of an independent board of trustees for Tennessee Tech. Also, please mark January 26 on your calendars for the unveiling of TechWall in the Roaden University Center. We also will begin sharing key messages in the university’s new brand story, complete with a new university academic logo. Here’s to the second century of Tennessee Tech achievements!