Tennessee Tech University
In 1909, Tennessee approved the charter of a church-supported school named the University of Dixie. Popularly known as Dixie College, the school opened its doors to students in 1912. Enrollment, however, was low and funding insufficient; the college struggled to keep its doors open. In a strategic move to salvage higher education in the Upper Cumberland, the school’s founders deeded the campus to the governments of Cookeville and Putnam County in 1915. The act creating Tennessee Polytechnic Institute in Cookeville was signed into law by Gov. Thomas Rye on March 27, 1915. By 1929, the State Board of Education had authorized a complete college program and the first class of four-year graduates received bachelor’s degrees that June. In 1938, the instructional program was divided into two main divisions, “Arts and Sciences” and “Professional and Technical Subjects.” In 1949, in the population and enrollment boom of the post-World War II era, the programs were expanded into five schools: Agriculture and Home Economics, Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education and Engineering – an instructional mix very close to that of Tennessee Tech today. These five schools were reorganized into colleges in 1965, when Tennessee Polytechnic Institute gained university status, becoming Tennessee Technological University.
Since Tennessee Tech was established, the university has blossomed from three buildings located on the fringes of a daisy field to an 87-building complex situated on 235 acres. The faculty has grown from the 13 men and women whose responsibilities included greeting students at the Tennessee Central depot to about 370 today. Curricula have changed to undergraduate and graduate programs, including the M.B.A., the Ed.S., and the Ph.D. in education, engineering and environmental sciences. From the first class of 19 students, Tennessee Tech’s enrollment has grown to 10,321. Among the 60,000-plus men and women who have received degrees from Tennessee Tech are the former president of Boeing Corp., a two-time space shuttle astronaut, an NFL pro-bowl player, a New York Times assistant managing editor, and a four-star general. Take a look at TTU's profile or TTU's website.