History of Tennessee Tech

Tennessee Tech has a long and awesome history. Check out some of the highlights below! 

Bartoo Hall

Named after Dorr R. Bartoo, Tech’s first Ph.D. student. Dr. Bartoo joined faculty of the biology department in 1929. He served until 1943.

Bryan Fine Arts Building

The home of the music and art departments was built in 1981. It was named in memory of Charles Faulkner Bryan, who was given a Guggenheim Fellowship and composed “Ballad of a Harp Weaver.”

Centennial Plaza

Also known as “The Plaza” is an open area between the Roaden University Center and Derryberry Hall. The plaza was built in mid-1980 and was called South Patio before being renovated in 2015 for Tech's centennial celebration. This location provides students a place to relax and socialize between classes. It also hosts many events such as Week of Welcome.

Clock Tower

Tower atop Derryberry Hall, featuring a clock on each of its four sides, a carillon system, and the Golden Eagle. Designed to be aesthetically pleasing, but also functional, the towers primary purpose was to house the clock and carillon sound system, keeping time for campus and students. During a renovation of Derryberry Hall in the 1960s that made it much of what we see today, the iconic Eagle was moved from the tower on Jere Whitson to Derryberry Hall.

East and West Halls

Now known as Kittrell and Bartoo Halls. These were original dorms – the women in the East and the men in the West. That’s the closest men and women lived to each other until 1996 when the first coed residence hall was built.


The official Tennessee Tech University flag, designed by first lady Gloria Bell in 2003. The three main divisions of the flag represent the historic and idyllic characteristics of the university as well as its earned reputation for quality.

  • The golden eagle – This magnificent bird, with wings outstretched, depicts the pride, honor, strength and spirit of our students, faculty and staff.
  • The bold pillar – This column of gold represents the pillar of knowledge, intellect and experience – all qualities of our prestigious academic reputation.
  • The purple base – This field of majestic purple represents the strong foundation of character, commitment and endurance indicative of our university’s culture.

May this flag forever wave, and may the history and future of Tennessee Tech University prosper in its shadow.

Foster Hall

The chemistry building, named after Dr. Ferris U. Foster, chairman of the department. It was built in 1964.

Golden Eagles

Name of the athletic teams. Chosen by students in 1925, the name is believed to have been inspired by the four golden eagles who were often seen flying over the campus during the university's early days.

The Grill

The place to grab fast food and hang out. Located on the first floor of the RUC. In 2019 the expansion of the RUC provided additional lounge area for students.

The Hoop

The Hooper Eblen Center houses the office of the intercollegiate athletics program at Tech. The Hoop has a seating capacity of 9,282. The building was constructed in 1977 and is named after Hooper Eblen, former coach and Health and Physical Education professor. The Hoop is home for Tech men and women basketball games, Tech women’s volleyball, commencement ceremonies, concerts and other special events. Vice President of Student Affairs, Marc Burnett, was the first Golden Eagle to score a basket in the Hoop.


Words and music by Joan Derryberry

The quiet hills stand steadfast ‘round walls of russet brown. On halls serene and campus green the smoky hills look down; And steadfast may I cherish what thou hast giv’n to me. Oh Alma Mater Tennessee Tech, God prosper thee. 

Deep purple stand the mountains and golden sets the sun. We proudly wear these colors fair until our goal is won; We pledge thee faithful service, our love and loyalty. Oh Alma Mater Tennessee Tech, God prosper thee.

Jere Whitson Building

Building located on the Quad that houses several administrative offices such as Office of Admissions, New Student and Family Programs, Financial Aid and Scholarships, and Military and Veteran Affairs. Named after Jere Whitson, former chairman of the board for Dixie College. He also was the leader of the move to establish a college in Cookeville during the early 1900s.

Main Quad

Original campus location of Dixie College. The land was deeded to the state upon establishment of Tennessee Polytechnic Institute in 1915. Many campus buildings were arranged into quads. This includes Derryberry, Kittrell, Jere Whitson, Oakley, Crawford, Matthews-Daniel, Bartoo Hall and Memorial Gym.

Memorial Gym

Named to honor the students and alumni who died in World War II.

The Nest

The student section located inside Hooper Eblen Center. It is designated in section L for Tech students to get involved and support the basketball and volleyball teams. The Nest is also a student-run campus radio (88.5 WTTU) that has broadcasted campus news and weather since 1969.

The Oracle

This is a student newspaper that began its publication in 1924 and was then known as the Tech Dynamo. It is published weekly during the semester and a new edition comes out every Tuesday. The paper contains news articles pertaining to the university, campus activities and sports. The Oracle is available online at

Overall Field

The field inside Tucker Stadium. Named after P. V. “Putty” Overall, former agriculture professor and football, basketball and baseball coach who worked for Tech 24 years.

Purple and Gold

School colors, selected before 1925. Chosen because of two wildflowers, ironweed and goldenrod, which grew in abundance on campus in the early years.

Roaden University Center

Also known as the RUC is the student center and houses several administrative offices such as Student Affairs, Center for Career Development, Counseling Center and Women’s’ Center. Built in 1971 and expanded in 2019, it is named after former Tech President Arliss Roaden.

Rock Lodge

The nickname for Kittrell Hall. Formerly East Hall, it has been the women's residence hall and served as the College of Business building. It is now home to the Department of Earth Sciences and houses the Tennessee Tech Weather Station. The folktale about the rocks outside the building is that a group of graduating seniors played a prank and took some rocks from the geology lab and placed them on the front steps of the building. The professors, not appreciating the stunt, told them they had to identify all the rocks or they would not graduate. Fortunately, they did so and were able to receive their degrees.

Roll of Honor

Displays all the names of Tennessee Tech students, alumni, faculty and staff who served in World War II. Located in Jere Whitson Memorial Building.

Sherlock Park

Named after Bethel "Sherlock" Carrington, who was a night watchman for the university from 1933-1967. The park is used by students for football, ultimate frisbee, recruitment events, cookouts and relaxation. The Tech marching band also uses the open area for practice. 

Tennessee Polytechnic Institute (TPI)

The official name from 1915 until 1965. The TPI seal is displayed on the Derryberry clock tower.

Tennessee Technological University

In 1965, the university’s name changed to Tennessee Technological University. Supporters call the university “Tech” for short.

Tucker Stadium

Tucker Stadium is the home of the Tech Golden Eagle football team. It was built in 1966 and seats 16,500 spectators. The stadium is named after Wilburn Tucker, former head football coach and staff member for 21 years. It has artificial turf and a six-lane track around the field. Tucker Stadium is where the freshmen class photo is taken and current home of the BlueCross Bowl, the state high school football championship.

University of Dixie

The school was incorporated in 1909 with the State of Tennessee by leaders of the Church of Christ in Cookeville, Tennessee. The school was popularly called “Dixie College.” The road Dixie Avenue takes its name from the school as it was the road “you took from town out to Dixie College.”

Walton House

President's home, originally built in 1964. Name comes from the Old Walton Road, the main Nashville-to-Washington, D.C. route that U.S. President Andrew Jackson would take home.


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