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Tennessee Tech Celebrating 109th Charter Day

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Tennessee Tech Celebrating 109th Charter Day

March 27 marks Tennessee Tech Charter Day, a chance to remember the 109th anniversary of the school’s establishment and its struggle for state recognition.

University Archivist Megan Atkinson said the school began as Dixie University. She said as the University of Dixie struggled to get off the ground, the state stepped in and the school became the Tennessee Polytechnic Institute. Atkinson said other Tennessee schools were against the new school because it would take away from their state funding.

“It says we’re really strong,” Atkinson said. “I think that Charter Day is a story about beginnings and I think the most fascinating thing about the story of beginnings is that this is a place of beginnings. This is a place where so many lives are began, including the students and even the faculty that work here.”

Governor Thomas Rye signed the charter establishing Tennessee Polytechnic Institute March 27, 1915. She said the Institute continued to operate as a high school and finally graduated its first 19 students with college degrees in 1929.

“With everything that we do, there are so many tech graduates in Cookeville,” Atkinson said. “So I think this is an important place for its alumni.”

Atkinson said when people see all that the school offers now, it is important to look back and appreciate the things that got us here. She said the spirit of Tennessee Tech battled through stiff resistance to become a staple of the Upper Cumberland.

“This year we even celebrated just the long duration that the Oracle Student Newspaper has been around,” Atkinson said. “And we talk about the football stadium. All of these items and all these buildings and places and ideas at Tech’s campus, I know that not only does the university but the alumni and the students that go here like to know and understand those past things.”


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